How To Remove A Stripped Hex Screw

Chloe Meltzer
by Chloe Meltzer
A stripped hex screw can prevent you from removing it and carrying on with your project, but it doesn’t need to. You can remove a stripped hex screw in several ways, and some of them are as simple as using a pair of pliers. Whether you use a screw extractor, a grinding disk, or pliers, let’s take a look at how you can remove a stripped hex screw in no time.

Screws are handy and quite necessary in many daily tasks; screws allow you to hang photos and even build homes. Unfortunately, sometimes a screw might fail you by stripping, and you may need to remove it. This can be a difficult task, especially if it’s a hex screw. So, how do you remove it?

Although there are many different types of screws available on the market, hex screws are extremely strong. These screws can be used for simple furniture building and even something as small as a mobile phone. Hex screws have an advantage to nails because of the ability to remove them when needed.

There is actually a variety of different ways to remove a hex screw, but the best way to try is to remove a hex screw is by using a pair of pliers. Simply attempt to force the hex screw out from its spot. If this method does not work, then you can use one of the ways below.

In this article, we will walk you through various ways to remove a stripped hex screw. That way, you can clear the area to install a new screw that’s not stripped. or so you can take apart whatever it is you’re trying to rebuild or replace.

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Removing A Stripped Hex Screw

While it can be frustrating to try to take something apart only to find out that you have a stripped hex screw, there are a few methods you can use to remove the screw. These methods include:

  • Using a screw extractor
  • Trying a grinding disk and screwdriver
  • Apply a Torx  and an extension 

Between these three methods, you should be able to remove the stripped screw easily. That way, you don’t have to battle with this problem later on or possibly spend money on purchasing a new part that you don’t need.

Use A Screw Extractor

You will need a screw extractor, a pair of pliers, a hammer, and a drill for this straightforward method.

Follow the following steps to use this method.

  • Take the screw extractor and punch a hole in the center of the screw head. You can use your hammer for this.
  • Take your drill and drill a hole into the head of the hex screw. This should be just large enough to insert the screw extractor in the hole.
  • Tap with your hammer.
  • Turn the screw extractor carefully; this should remove the screw from its position.
  • Pull out the screw with your pliers.

Be Mindful Of This Method

When using this method, a lot of care should be taken. Specifically, when you are turning the extractor, be aware that uneven pressure can break your extractor.

Use A Grinding Disk And Screwdriver

In this method, you can either use a grinding disk or a saw blade. This piece of machinery is used for cutting and has a sharp edge. Your screwdriver should be a flat head screwdriver. You will also need a hammer.

Follow the following steps to use this method:

  • Cut a slot large enough to accommodate the screwdriver tip in the stripped hex screw head using your grinding disk.
  • Put the screwdriver into the slot you have just created. Take your hammer and lightly tap it in a counter-clockwise direction. This should loosen the screw.
  • Use your screwdriver to unscrew the bolt.

A Possible Issue With This Method

The main problem with this method is that it can be challenging to remove the stripped hex screw without damaging it. You will also need to take extra care when applying the disk to avoid putting too much pressure on the screw.

If you are using a screw made from stainless or toughed steel, then you will have to use a reinforced cutting disk as they are extremely strong. Always be extremely careful when using this method.

Use A Torx And An Extension

In order to practice this method, you will need a few items, a Torx bit screw head, a socket, a screwdriver, and a hammer. Be aware that you may need to add an extension to the Torx bit, as they are often very short.

Follow the following steps to use this method:

  • Find a Torx bit that is slightly larger than the hole of your stripped hex screw head. It can be one size up, or you can gauge with your eyes. 
  • Using your hammer, tap and fix the Torx bit on the spot.
  • Connect the other end of the Torx bit or extension to a driver or socket. This should help you to remove the stripped hex screw easily.

General Tips For Removing A Stripped Hex Screw

Use Proper Grip Strength

If you are able to try the primary method of simply using a screwdriver, then you should do so and increase your grip. This will increase your chances of being able to remove the hex screw.

Use A Wrench

Grip the screwdriver with a wrench if possible. This will help to increase your leverage. However, this could hurt your fingers, so it’s a good idea to wear a glove while you’re doing this.

Use Penetrating Oil

If the screw is attached to a metal surface, then you can also use oil penetrating oil to make the process go more smoothly. Any penetrating oil such as WD-40 or another rust removal product will do the trick.

Add Material

If you find that your screwdriver is slipping out of the stripped hole, then you can add a piece of material to create more grip. This can be a large rubber band, steel wool, a scrubbing kitchen sponge, or even duct tape. This will help you to have more grip on the screw head and avoid slipping.

Heat It

Using a propane torch or heat gun on the screw or bolt can help to loosen it up. Be very careful when doing this and make sure that the other material around the screw is heat resistant. Also, be sure to move the heat around continuously. If you do not move it around often, then the screw is at risk of becoming overheated.

How To Prevent Stripping A Screw Head

The best way to avoid having to remove a stripped hex screw is to prevent it from stripping in the first place! Follow a few simple steps to ensure you can avoid having to remove a stripped hex screw as often as possible.

  • Never force a screw: If your fastener happens to be stuck, do not force it. Often screws can get stuck either by material, glue, or rust. If your screw does not turn, then try to find out why rather than forcing it. You may be able to understand the reason and avoiding stripping it.
  • Do not use too much power: Since drivers are often not correctly seated when attempting to screw when you combine this with too much power, the screw will almost always strip. Try to slow down your speed or slow down how hard you spin the actual driver.
  • Use the correct driver: There are many different types of drivers. Many of these look similar, but it is imperative not to use them. Even if a Torx looks like a Hex, do not use it. This will give you more of a chance to have a stripped screw head.
  • Always fully seat your driver before driving the screw: This is often the main reason why screws become stripped. Try not to hurry through your job when screwing. If the driver is not entirely in place, then you are at more of a risk to strip it.

Related Questions

Can I use a different shaped driver on my Hex screw?

Although this is tempting, do use a different shaped driver on a hex screw. This can cause a stripped screw, and it is best if you can avoid this as much as possible. This may be the issue in the beginning; if it wasn’t you who stripped the hex screw, then the person before you may have used a different shaped driver. It’s best to use a hex driver for your hex screw.

Can I remove a stripped screw without heavy machinery?

Although in some cases it is necessary to use more intense machinery, most of the time, you can use pliers to remove a stripped hex screw. Make sure you get the right leverage to be able to wiggle it out of its position.

What is the best way to avoid stripping Hex screws?

The best way to avoid stripping Hex screws in the first place is to slow down. Focus on your driver and make sure it is actually in place before screwing it in full force.

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Wrapping It Up

Stripped hex screws can be a pain, and it’s best if you can prevent this from happening in the first place. To avoid striping your hex screw, you should always use the correct driver to ensure that you can remove and replace the hex screw as needed. Using a different shaped driver will eventually strip or even break the head, making it hard to remove the screw from its place.

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Chloe Meltzer
Chloe Meltzer

Real estate agent and copywriter, originally from California. Chloe brings her real estate expertise into her writing to create effective and helpful home guides for you! When not writing or selling homes, she spends her time as a digital nomad traveling the world.

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