I was trying to install a toilet roll holder in this wall, but managed to snap the head of the screw off.

Screw stuck in the wall

I think the wall is plasterboard with a couple of layers of plaster on top, and it sounds like I should have drilled a hole out and used a wall plug to hold the screw, but too late now!

Does anyone have any bright ideas about how I should remove the screw and do the least damage to the already bulging wall?

My last resort will be to grind it flat with a dremel or angle grinder then pull/twist it out, but I'm sure this will trash the wall. If this is my only option then what would I patch the wall with?

Thanks so much for your help, folks!

  • Do you have an idea how the bulge came into existence? If it was caused by pulling the screw you can sand and paint it, but if there is a different cause (for example moist coming from a punctured pipe) you may want to investigate first.
    – MiG
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 7:50
  • And if there's no obstacles behind that hole you may still be able to apply a drywall plug, these need bigger holes. It does depend on how much damage there is in the bulge area (superficial vs deeper fractures).
    – MiG
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 7:51
  • 1
    The bulge was very quick to appear after I tried to twist the screw out with pliers. Too quick, I'd imagine, to be moisture, so I think I've just damaged the drywall internally. I will tackle it after work today and update the thread. Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 8:23
  • 1
    They stick steel plates inside walls to protect electrical wires, you could have hit one of them, or a nail, or a knot. Use a strong magnet to check for steel before retrying at this location.
    – Jasen
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 10:59
  • 1
    Turns out I was trying to drill into a metal plate that was protecting a plastic water pipe behind it. Glad the plate was there! Cut out the damaged plasterboard and filled, sanded, and painted it. My landlord will never know ;) Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


It looks like it is sticking out. Can use a pair of locking pliers and unscrew it.

If the bulge was cause by the screw, there is something hard behind there, maybe a knothole in a stud, maybe something else.

You really have to work very hard to snap a screw head in just drywall.

The bulge might need to be removed, and filled in with drywall mud, maybe not.

Would try to find out what you hit, before trying again. Pipes are not good to screw into, but I think a knothole is a better guess.

  • 1
    If the toilet roll holder will cover the spot, you may be able to gouge out the drywall around the screw to get a better grip. Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 4:43

It looks like there is enough screw hanging out that you might be able to tighten a drill chuck on the protruding part and back the screw out. Get the chuck as tight as you can, then back out slowly. If the screw slips out, you might try again, but it may only handle a couple of slips before the chuck won't grab anymore.

If you can get the screw to come out partway then the chuck comes off, move the chuck onto the screw more and try again.

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