If you are planning to renovate your bathroom or you just need to replace the shower faucet due to it being broken, then you will need to unscrew it. With that being said, if the screws are very old, and especially if they have already been used a couple of times, then chances are that they might be stripped, which means that using a regular screwdriver or drill to remove them is probably not an option.
What we are here to teach you today is how to remove a stripped screw from a shower faucet as well as from a shower handle.
How to Remove a Stripped Screw from a Shower Faucet
Let’s get right to it and provide you with a step-by-step instructional on exactly how to remove a stripped screw from a shower faucet. As long as you have the right tools for the job, it’s actually quite an easy task.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
The first thing that you will need here is a fairly good power drill along with a cobalt drill bit in order to work with that stripped screw (you will also need some of the other drill bits that came with your power drill).
Keep in mind that the cobalt drill bit you use should have a diameter that is just big enough to fit into the head slot on the stripped screw. The screws used for this purpose will usually be either a Phillips head or an Allen head screw. Moreover, although not 100% necessary, it will definitely help if you have some kind of screw extraction tool handy.
Step 2: Get Drilling
With the right size of cobalt drill bit inserted into your drill, you now have to drill out the center of the head of the strip screw. What you need to do here is to drill right through the center of the head of the screw, just enough so that your cobalt drill bit passes all the way down through the bottom of the head of the screw.
Just keep in mind that you want to use a bit of patience here. Go slowly and don’t apply a whole lot of torque, or else might actually make the situation worse. If the cobalt drill bit in question is not working, try using one with a slightly different shape.
Step 3: Swap Drill Bits and Get Back to it
What you need to do now is to swap out that cobalt drill bit and change it from one that is the same size as the diameter of the screw head. The closer you can match the size of the new drill bit to the diameter of the head of the screw, the better this will work.
Using that same patience and caution that you used in the previous step, start drilling out the head of the screw. What you want to do is to drill out the inside diameter of the head of the screw until you reach the shank of the screw (but don’t go too far or else you may cause the head of the screw to snap off of the shank).
Step 4: Remove the Screw and Faucet Handle
Now that the head of the stripped screw has been drilled out, what you need to do is to take your drill bit out of your drill and replace it with a screw extractor. Yes, we did say that it was not 100% necessary to have a screw extractor. If you don’t have one, you will need to use something like a pair of pliers to extract it, so you may as well just go for a professional screw extractor.
All you have to do is to insert your screw extractor of the appropriate size for the screw in question into the drill, put the drill in reverse, put the screw extractor in the drilled screw, and then slowly remove it. You should now also be able to pull the faucet handle out.
How to Remove Stuck Shower Handle Screw
OK, so technically speaking, removing a stuck shower handle screw is the same as removing the faucet screw. You can use the exact same process as we described above in order to accomplish this specific task. However, for whatever reason, this might not always work or be a viable option for you.
So what we want to do now is to provide you with a few other methods at your disposal for removing a stripped screw. These are techniques that you can use to remove a stripped screw from a shower faucet, a shower handle, or from any other type of material or fixture where you might have a screw that just doesn’t want to come out.
1. Using Good Old Pliers
If you don’t have a drill bit and or a screw extractor on hand, something that you can always try doing is getting a good old pair of needle nose pliers, getting a good grip on that screw, and using those big biceps of yours to quite literally twist it out.
If needle-nose pliers won’t allow for a secure enough grip on your screw, then try using vice grip pliers that you can tighten. However, do keep in mind that this method really only works if the head of the screw is showing a little bit because you do need somewhere for the pliers to grip onto. If this method does not work, try using the main method described above or any of the others listed below.
2. Try Using a Flathead Screwdriver
If the screw in question is a Phillips head screw, then you can try using a flat head screwdriver to extract it. That single straight slot on a flathead screwdriver might just be small enough to fit into the hole of the stripped Phillips head screw.
Insert the flat head screw into the screw, push down hard, and twist it in a counterclockwise direction. Remember that stripped screws can really be stuck in there, so you will need to apply a good deal of force, both in terms of pressure from the top down, as well as rotational force. Yes, you will need those biceps of yours for this one.
4. Use a Drill or Screwdriver and a Rubber Band
The other thing that you can try doing here is to place a wide rubber band onto the stripped screw head, then use the corresponding drill bit for the screw to remove the stripped screw. Having the rubber band in between the drill bit and the stripped screw is often enough to produce enough traction and hold to remove fairly severely stripped screws.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Finally, to make the process easier, here are a few more tips:
- Never just keep trying to unscrew a stripped screw, especially if it is not 100% stripped. If you do this, you will remove any threading that is still left, thus reducing the chances of being able to remove it with any of the above methods.
- Never just try to pull the screw out. The threading underneath is still good, so ripping the screw out with brute force will damage the fixtures and the wall underneath.
- If all else fails, your only other option is to call a plumber or a handyman.
The bottom line here is that if you are dealing with stripped screws, whether in a bathroom fixture or anywhere else, it is important that you use one of the above methods to remove it, as you do not want to use brute force and end up causing damage to your bathroom and the fixtures.