How to Remove Stripped Screws

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Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shares some tricks of the trade for backing out stripped screws. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Shopping List for How to Remove Stripped Screws:
– Tapered wood plug [], to conceal screw hole

Tools List for How to Remove Stripped Screws:
– Screwdriver []
– Self-locking pliers []
– Cordless drill []
– Screw extractor []

Steps for How to Remove Stripped Screws:
1. Try removing the stripped screw with the proper size manual screwdriver.
2. If the screw head is protruding from the surface, grip it with self-locking pliers and twist out the screw.
3. Use a cordless drill, set in reverse, and left-handed bit to drill a small hole into the head of the stripped screw.
4. With the drill still set in reverse, use a screw extractor to back out the screw.
5. If the screw head has snapped off, use a hollow-boring screw extractor to drill out the entire screw. Fill the resulting hole with a tapered wood plug.

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