How to Remove a Broken Screw Head

Updated February 21, 2017

Screws are a wonderful way to attach two materials together, whether they be wood, metal or some other building tool. Unfortunately, screws are not without problems of their own. The heads of screws can become broken and in some cases pop off, making a screw very difficult to remove. Luckily, there are several remedies you can use to remove the screw and separate the pieces

Drill a hole in the screw which is stuck. You will need to start with a bit which is 1/3 of the size of the screw. Drill into the screw about 1/8 inch. Remove the drill and replace the bit with the next size up. Continue drilling into the screw with increasingly larger bits until the pieces come apart. Use pliers to remove the screw from the material.

Attach a screw extractor to your drill. The right size extractor will depend on the size of the screw. You will need an extractor which is 3/4 the width of the screw. Place the extractor in the hole and drill into the screw. The extractor has grooves which turn in the opposite direction of normal screw grooves, allowing the extractor to pull the screw out.

Place a square head screwdriver into the hole where the screw is. Press the screwdriver into the screw and turn the screwdriver to your left. The square head might give you more leverage to get the screw out of the hole without using a power tool.


Wear goggles when doing this project to protect your eyes. Since the screw head is already loose, it may fly up at you.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill with a metal bit
  • Pliers
  • Screw extractor
  • Square bit screwdriver
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About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.