This spring I'm going to replace the deck boards, railings, and
staircases on my back deck. The previous owner of the house didn't use
pressure treated lumber on these boards and they're weathered,
splitting, and a couple of them are starting to rot.
I've crawled under the porch and the framework looks brand new. The
undersides of the deck boards look brand new too.
What fresh hell am I subjecting myself to by trying to remove all the
You might twist the heads off a few should be about it. If so, use
vice grips to remove the subs or you can try bending them down flat
after you remove the boards. They may break off flush when you bend
them if you get lucky.
If you are not going to re-use the boards I would:
Run a circular saw across the boards close to each joist.
You can then pull up these short pieces of deck boards wtihout a
If you want to try and re-use the boards:
make sure if your screws are phillips you get an ACR bit. Those extra
little ribs on the bit make a world of difference.
That wasn't the job I bought my impact driver for, but it by-God paid
for itself when a deck de-construction came along. Some of those
screws were 10 years to the weather drywall screws and it backed them
out. When the battery died, I grabbed my screwgun and tried a
couple screws, breaking heads and stripping the Philips slot. I
don't think I ruined a single screw with the impact driver.
Those screws always come out harder than they go in......
People say that using screws makes disassembly of wooden things
I'd rather pull nails! (except pole barn spikes)
Tip: If you strip the head on a deck screw, drill the head off with a
1/4" drill bit. Then pry the board off the rest of the screw, and break
or grind off the remaining piece of screw. If you're gonna trash the
deck boards, you can also use an angle grinder and grind into the wood,
taking off the screw heads, but be prepared for lots of smoke, and have
a pail of water handy in case a piece of rotted wood ignites.
Avoid the drama, bypass the trauma. Use an impact driver. (Even old
Philips screws will back out neatly.)
Makita makes some of best ones...the somewhat pricier blue one comes
with a better larger capacity battery, well worth it.
Yep, but that plastic stuff is probably good for 100s of years.
I've had mine in place for over 10 and it sure looks to me like
another 90 is easily possible. Combine with stainless screws and
the deck can last a REALLY LONG time.
"hr(bob) firstname.lastname@example.org" writes:
Yep. The stuff I have is a light grey.
I get primarily Tulip Poplar tree sap which wants to turn everything
The deck doesn't look bad with the black on it but I usually get
ambitious and power wash every year anyway.
I would personally just use a decent pry bar to
pull up the boards and deal with removing the
screws with a pair of pincers type pliers to
yank/twist/pull/cut any stubborn screws that
don't want to come out with the boards...
It will take a lot longer to try and back out each
screw one by one...
That is one tool I dont own. Do they make plug in types? I'm not fond
of cordless tools. (those damn batteries and the cost to replace them).
Just curious, how will an impact remove a screw better than a drill.
psrticularly a phillips which seem to strip out the head or the tip no
matter if I use a drill, or a hand screwdriver.
The "impact" helps to break the bond between the screw and wood. Think
about anything that's stuck to something else. Sometimes you can't
just pull them apart, but a slight rap on one or the other piece frees
them up easily.
The same principle applies to an impact driver.
Agree completely. Can't understand the logic of cordless for
homeowners. Google for "impact driver corded". Plenty of hits.
Go out and try a drill. If you encounter issues, get the impact driver.
A project that results in a new tool is my favorite kind of project.
OTOH- I'm a great lover of the cordless. Especially since the Li-on
batteries charge in 20 minutes, hold a charge for a long time, don't
mind living in the charger between uses, and seem to last a few years.
If you've ever had to use a 10 foot 'helper' on a pipe wrench and
managed to do naught but bend the pipe or bugger the pipe--- Then
the guy comes alone with a 3lb hammer and a 2' wrench. . . . tap,
tap, tap. . . and spins that bugger off, you'll understand the
+1 on the new tool thing. 'No honey-- if there are no new tools
involved, I'll find something else to do.'
Jim Elbrecht writes:
What bugs me the most about them is the batteries sit in the charger
doing nothing while drawing power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you've got a farm or do projects every week I can see their value.
For the average homeowner they don't make sense (to me).
On Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:45:46 -0500, Dan Espen
I *AM* a farmer. All my buildings have outlets. If I'm erecting a
building, I have extension cords. When I'm building or repairing
something, I want to *do* the job, not be delayed because of a dead
battery. I agree about the charger wasting electricity. What really
gets me, is that if I buy one of these cordless tools, and use it for
two hours about 3 times a year, after 3 or 4 years that battery is
trash, whether I use it or not. Then I go to buy a replacement and find
out the battery costs about the same price I paid for the initial tool,
or $50 and up..... Is it worth paying that money for a tool I used for
a total of maybe 20 hours in the last 3 or 4 years? For me, NO IT'S
For me, I can only think of three instances in the last 10 years where a
cordless tool would have been handy.
1. To do a mailbox repair and put in about 6 screws. (no problem, I
used a hand tool, for those couple screws).
2. To drill a couple 3/4" holes in an old cresote treated fence post
(actually a piece of a power pole), to hang a gate, way out in the
field. I already know that no cordless drill would have handled this
job, because my corded drill had a real struggle after I borrowed a
generator from a neighbor.
3. When I was given a reusable deck at a home demolition, where there
was no power. Hand tools would not remove the 4" deck screws. A friend
came to help and brought an expensive Makita cordless drill, that took
out 4 screws (on a fully charged battery), before it could not do the
job anymore, and those 4 screws ruined 2 new bits too.
We got a large trailer and moved the entire deck in one piece, after
using a tractor loader to lift it.
Otherwise, I always have an outlet handy.
So, while the cordless tool owners are tossing their cordless tools in
the trash, or spending the full price of the tool once again in 3 ot 4
years, to get a replacement battery, my corded tools are on the shelf in
my toolshop, wasting no electricity, requiring no battery maintenance,
and will be ready to use 20 years from now, for occasional use.
Cordless tools do have their place. For someone in business who use
them every day, and work construction where there is no power. In that
case their use speed up the job, thus saving money for the company, and
the cost of replacement batteries are added to the job materials. Then
they pay off. But for a homeowner, or even a farmer who only uses the
tool a few times a year, they are not worth the price. Those batteries
will only last 3 or 4 years whether they are used or not. If these
companies didn't rob people for replacement batteries, and a person
could afford to buy several spare batteries, then, and only then would
they be worth owning for occasional use.
Note: I feel the same way about ink jet printers. The ink costs as much
as the printer, and dries up and clogs if not used often, and all of
that. I have a laser printer. It's 12 or 13 years old, still using the
original toner cartridge...... Yea, it's only black and white. If I
absolutely need color, I'll pay the occasional bucks to take the job to
Kinkos or another printing company. (I did that once in the last 10
Saw your post and gave it a try. Life changing. We've got to the point of
cutting the boards/screws apart from the joists with the oscillating tool and
the saws-all. Now we only have 1/2 as many to cut. Thank you!