I've been recycling lumber for all of my life, which is may years. Nails
always come out, excepting some of those ring nails (also known as pole
barn spikes). But in recent years I'm finding more of the framing lumber
put together with drywall screws or deck screws.
You cant yank apart boards with those screws with a pry bar, at least
not easily. More often that not, the boards will break before the screw
You'd think they would remove easier than nails. Just unscrew them, but
it dont always work that way. I just got done fighting with four 8ft.
2x6s that someone sandwiched together to form a post, and held together
with 3 inch black drywall screws with phillips heads.
I got out my cordless drill with a phillips bit, only to find the heads
were buried deep in the wood, and the wood had swelled around the heads.
A few of them came out, but most didn't. Part of getting the head to
grasp in the philllips bit is to determine the angle they were put in.
Very difficult when the wood is swelled around the head. (The wood was
swelled more than usual, because this was sitting outdoors for several
months and the rain made it swell worse).
I spent nearly an hour and a lot of sweat getting the first of these
four 2x6's apart, and almost every screw the head pulled thru the board,
meaning I had to remove the whole screw from the next board with my
screw gun, or a vice grips.
By this time I'm thinking that for the cost of an 8ft. 2x6, this is not
worth the hassle. Fortunately the screws in the next layer were more
visible, since the weather had not swelled the wood as badly around the
heads. I was able to unscrew about 4 out of every 5. That's when I got a
steel wedge (log splitting wedge) and drove it in right where the
remaining screws were. Thus breaking the screws.
This worked much better and quicker. Although this is not something I'd
want to do on boards that will be exposed, since the wedge left an
indent in the board. But for framing lumber it's fine.
One of the biggest problems is the fact the screws were phillips. If
they were the torx (star) head like they are using more now, they would
come out much easier. I've always hated phillips for this type of screw.
A bit rarely lasts more than 50 screws, and less for removing them. Yet,
I've used the same torx bit for 2 years of hard use, and it still works.
The problem I describe above is even worse on decks. Due to constant
weather, the screw heads often can not even be located, and if they are,
the screws have rusted and the boards swelled, and even a plug in drill
can not often remove the screws, or the bit will break.
I posted this to see if anyone has any other (maybe better) methods for
removing these screws. Mostlty related to removing them from boards that
were screwed together. Not the little ones actually used for drywall.
Those little ones can generally be pulled out with a claw hammer, or
just broken off.