How to Remove a Security Screen Door


Removing a security screen door requires removing the one-way screws that secure it to the wood door frame. These screws are made of hardened steel that cannot be sawed, drilled or gripped with any kind of wrench or pliers once the door is installed. Despite the indestructible nature of one-way screws, they can be removed with commonly used tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill
  • Mounted grinding wheel
  • Hammer
  • 1/4 to 3/8 inch flat blade screwdriver
  • Goggles or safety glasses for eye protection
  • Vice-grip pliers
  • Step ladder
  • Purchase a mounted grinding wheel that can be used with an electric drill. The wheel should be between 1 and 2 1/2 inches in diameter and no more than 3/8 inches thick. These are inexpensive and may be found in many hardware stores.

  • Mount the grinding wheel in the chuck of an electric drill.

  • Look at the head of a security screw and you will see that the slot consists of two vertical edges that a screwdriver can grip when turning clockwise. Beginning at the base of each vertical edge is a sloping edge that will prevent the screwdriver from turning the screw counterclockwise

  • Place the grinding wheel across the head of the screw with the sides of the wheel resting against the vertical edges. The wheel will cut into the sloped edges. Some material will also be cut from the vertical edges. The important thing is to cut a notch into the sloped edges

  • Run the grinding wheel back and forth across the screw head, grinding the notch close to the outside edges of the screw. The notch does not have to be very deep; we are not trying to grind off the head of the screw.

  • Place a flat blade screwdriver against the notch, holding it at approximately a 45-degree angle to the head. Strike the screwdriver sharply with a hammer. The screw should move counterclockwise just enough to break free and start the turn.

  • Hitting the screwdriver may cause the screwdriver blade to pop up, rather than turning the screw. If this happens, try holding the screwdriver at a steeper angle and directing the force of the blow toward the outer edge of the screw. Keep hitting the screwdriver sharply until the screw starts to turn.

  • Hold the screwdriver against the notch while striking the screwdriver and follow the screw around as it turns counterclockwise,. Alternating between the two notches will sometimes speed up the unscrewing of the security screw.

  • Unscrew the security screw 1/2 to 3/4 turn with the hammer and screwdriver. This should lift the edge of the screw head off the metal door frame enough to grip it with vice-grip pliers.

  • Press the jaws of the vice-grip pliers firmly against the metal door frame and lock the jaws securely against the security screw head. With the pliers handle protruding from the door, grasp the vice-grip jaws and rotate counterclockwise to unscrew the security screw.

  • Repeat for all the security screws holding the door. Lift the security door with metal frame away from the wood door frame.

Tips & Warnings

  • The sloped shoulder security screws described above are the type commonly used on security screen doors.
  • Use a good quality screwdriver with sharp square edges. An old worn screwdriver will probably slip off the notch.
  • Watch the screwdriver handle when you hit it with the hammer. Hitting your hand will hurt.
  • Wear eye protection when grinding the screw heads or hitting the screwdriver with a hammer.

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  • Photo Credit tool image by Marek Kosmal from
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