Today’s DIY Question

How to remove an EZ anchor with the screw head broken off

by | DIY Questions

Robyn asked

I am trying the hang a decorative shelf. I am using plastic, EZ self-drilling, threaded dry wall anchors. I would then screw the screw into the anchor and hang the shelf on the screw. However I screwed the screw into the anchor and the head of the screw sheared off. So I now can’t hang the shelf on it. I can’t pull the screw out because it has not head. I can’t screw the anchor out because the broken screw is blocking where the screw driver would go. I have tried to unscrew things with needle nose pliers but I can’t get a grip on anything. Do you know the best way to remedy the situation with the least damage to the wall. Thanks!!

DIY Answer Guy

Hi Robyn, That is a tough spot you’re in, but I think we can solve this one.

The screw in the anchor causes the anchor to expand which makes it more difficult to remove, so there may be patching involved.

Here’s how I would remove the wall anchor.

Use needle nose pliers to grab the sides of the anchor. You may have to push the pilers into the wall just a bit to get a grip.

Once you have a grip, slowly turn the anchor counterclockwise. It may be a bit difficult but patience and persistence will pay off.

Once the anchor is out of the wall you can replace it with a new one. You may have to use the next larger size anchor. Or, if you’ve already used the largest anchor of this type then it’s time to patch. Once patched you’ll have to reposition the new anchor.

Pick up a small tub of patching spackel. Use a putty knife to fill the hole.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect as you’ll have to come back to it once it dries, to sand a bit and refill. 

Once the hole is filled, lightly sand and paint.

Let me know how things turn out.

Nice shelf for your violets by the way.