Screw Is Stuck in the Plastic Wall Anchor

Written by james t wood Google
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Screw Is Stuck in the Plastic Wall Anchor
Drywall anchors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. (screw anchors image by aberenyi from

As you slowly increase the forced feeling, your muscles grow tenser, and, just as you start to feel some movement, the head of the screwdriver slips. . .again. Each time you try and fail to loosen the screw, the head gets more damaged, and getting the screw unstuck from the plastic drywall anchor in the wall becomes less likely to occur.


Drywall anchors are designed to spread the load out over a greater area and to absorb shock more than metal nails or screws might. Since the majority of the area on a wall is drywall with nothing behind it, drywall anchors were developed to allow things to be mounted to the wall without your always having to find a stud for an anchor point. Anchors usually involve a plastic sheath and a metal screw. The sheath is inserted into the wall and the screw into the sheath, which then expands inside the wall and grips tightly inside the hold, providing much more support than a screw or nail could on its own.


Probably the most common reason for a screw to get stuck is the stripping out of the screw head, which happens when the screwdriver isn't exactly matched to the screw head; so when force is applied, the driver slips, which damages the head of the screw. The more often this happens, the more metal is taken out of the screw head and the more difficult it will be to remove the stuck screw in the future. If you encounter a stuck screw, stop as soon as possible to avoid damaging the screw head too much.


Start by finding the right size screwdriver for the screw. Even the difference between metric and imperial sets can provide enough wiggle room to damage a screw head. If the correct driver doesn't provide enough grip to get the screw loose, tap the handle of the screwdriver with a hammer as you try to unscrew the anchor screw. If you have access to one, you can use a special impact driver that rotates the screw bit when you strike it with a hammer. If hitting it doesn't work, you can purchase stripped screw removal bits at your local hardware store. These bits will fit into a bit driver or power drill and cut into the head of the screw with hardened steel. The screw will be irreparably damaged but should come out.


If the screw doesn't come out with any of the removal steps, you must get destructive. A metal drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw shaft can be used to drill out the interior of the screw, which should relieve the pressure on the plastic anchor so you can remove it with some pliers. If you have a rotary tool, you can attach a cut-off disk and carefully slice the head of the screw and the anchor off at the wall; then push the rest of the anchor and screw into the wall cavity.

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