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Screw Won’t Go Into Stud – Why It Happens And How To Fix It

Getting a screw into a stud may seem like an easy task, but sometimes it just won’t work for you. If your screw won’t go into a stud let’s take a look at what the problem may be.

Screw Won’t Go Into Stud

There are a few reasons why your screw won’t go into a stud. You may have hit a knot in the timber or the wood may be particularly dense. Other causes may be a stripped screw head, poor drill bit or a mechanical issue with your drill driver or impact drill.

Problems With Screw

If you are struggling to get a screw into a stud, and it just refuses to budge it could be a problem with either the screw or the screwdriver. 

Stripped Screw Head

One of the most common, and frustrating, issues with screws is ending up with a stripped screw. This basically means that the slots in the screw head have worn away. Now there is nothing for the screwdriver to grip and that screw is going nowhere. 

There are a few reasons why you end up with a stripped screw head. You may be using the wrong screwdriver or drill bit. Other times you may be too impatient and working too fast or fixing the screw at an awkward angle.

Whatever the cause, a stripped head screw is a pain to remove, so it’s doubly annoying if it hasn’t gone all the way into the stud. 

Wrong Screwdriver Size

Using the wrong size screwdriver or impact driver bit will mean you’ll struggle to get the screw into the stud. You’ll also end up with the same issue as above, where you end up stripping the screw. 

Make sure you’re using the right size screwdriver or drill bit. 

Poor Quality Drill Bit

Not all drill bits are created equal, so it’s possible that you’ve got a poor quality drill bit, and it’s just not up to the task. Old screwdrivers and bits will wear down over time and won’t have the same grip they once had, so check if you need to stock up on some new ones. 

Mechanical Issues

Sometimes it’s not a fundamental problem with the screws or screwdriver but rather a mechanical issue. This can happen with a drill driver, impact driver or powered screwdriver. 

Screwdriver Not Powerful Enough

When the screwdriver that you’re using is not powerful enough you’ll have no luck getting a screw into a wooden stud. Some small, cheap powered screwdrivers such as for fitting flat pack furniture are not suitable for any kind of real DIY work. 

Use the right tool for the job, and you’ll make life a lot easier for yourself. An impact driver is a good investment and is one of the best tools for screwing into wood. 

Low Battery

Even with a good impact drill or drill driver you can come up against mechanical issues such as a low battery. If the battery needs charging it’s not going to have the power to get that screw into the stud. 

Your only choice is to charge the battery or better still, have a second battery which can be charged while you’re using the first one. Then simply swap them around. 

Too Low Clutch Setting

Screw Won’t Go Into Stud (1)

The settings on a drill control how much force is applied to the screw. If too much force is applied it can cause the screw head to be stripped which is something that you don’t want to happen. 

When the clutch setting is too low there may not be enough power to push the screw into the stud. If this is happening, set the clutch higher on the drill. This is located on the front of the drill with numbers corresponding to the different clutch settings. 

Dense Wood

If you have no mechanical issues with your drill driver or impact driver and are confident that you are using the correct screws it may be the wood that is the problem.

Drilling Pilot Holes

For dense wood, drilling pilot holes is the best option and will make the job much easier. To drill the right size pilot hole for a screw use a drill bit that is the same diameter as the screw but without the threads.

This allows enough room for the screw with just the right amount of grip in the wood. If you still have problems with the screw not going all the way into the stud then use a slightly bigger drill bit, but just the next size up. Any bigger and it will be too big. 

It’s possible that the part of the stud you are trying to screw into is home to a large knot which is preventing the screw from penetrating the wood. 

Screw Head Style

A common issue when trying to screw into a stud is having the right drill bit for the screw you are using. There are several different screw head styles that you should be aware of such as Phillips, Phillips square head, Pozidriv and star head or ‘torx’.  

While some of these will work fairly well with a Phillips drill bit they won’t work as well as with the bit they’re designed for. This can cause you to struggle to get the screw all the way into the stud. 

Screw Quality

Some screws may be made of very poor metal or not of sufficient quality to penetrate deep in the timber of the stud. Others may be more prone to stripping when attempting to fix them into wood particularly if they are not high quality metal. 

Self drive screws are a good option if you are still having problems. They contain a small notch at the point and do not require a pilot hole to be drilled. Most can also be used with a screwdriver and don’t require a drill. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that we’ve covered every possibility of why a screw won’t go into a stud and that you’ve found the answer you were looking for.

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