Some of the screws holding down our decking refuse to come
out. Either the heads are buried into the wood and the bit slides
out of the slots or the heads are stripped. I tried drilling a head
off but it was taking forever even with a tungsten coated bit.
How do you remove these screws? They are deck screws with
Out of curiosity, why are you taking off the decking?
If you're trying to salvage the material, if can get there, a Sawzall
between the joist and the bottom of the decking board may be
If salvage isn't important, bigger catspaw to get to them and
If neither of the above apply, it's a bear... :(
Encountered the same situation when I had to remove several deck boards to
gain access to a broken irrigation line. Final solution was to drill the
center of each screw, then drive an "easy-out" into the screw and back them
out till you can get a vice grip on the head. Pain inna butt, however it
worked for me.
There are special drill bits available to do the job. A few electronics
shops sell them. I have one called something like "crosshead out" or
something close to that, I bought it a couple of years ago. It has a ball
shaped cutter which drills into the head of the screw and either the screw
comes out or the head snaps off. A good cordless drill with a slow speed is
required. You can help things a bit by letting a very light oil penetrate
around the screw - sewing machine oil. BUT if the decking is going to be
re-used it may stain the wood.
I just did this... Not fun. Don't expect to save every board intact,
it's just not worth the grand effort.
The ones that come out with the Phillips bit are the easiest, and you can
improve your success sometimes by putting your weight on the screw
driver. Use good bits, and don't be afraid to replace a chewed one.
Now, for the harder ones:
If you can pop the head off, do it. It's easier to pry a board up with a
crow bar if the screws have no heads.
If you can get a sawzall in under the board and support, this is the best
way to remove it. Just cut the screw in half, and watch for anything
Another technique I used was the splitting method. The board is cut
close to the support (across the grain) and then a wedge is driven into
the board until the board splits. The board can be removed and the screw
cut off. For wedges, use cheap chisels like the ones Menards has at 4
for $6 or $7. They'll eventually weaken and break, but they work for
Oh, and when buying relacement decking at a borg be sure to ask about
their 10% off with new credit card. My sawzall was essentially free
because of the credit card offer.
If you're quiet, your teeth never touch your ankles.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
A quick search on Google would have gotten you several correct methods
(screw extractor, for instance).
Not to be critical but so far your questions are for home improvement and
ship models and one woodworking question about inlay techniques. A lot of
questions can be wood related but there are forums specifically designated
for groups like those. This group - even though there is no charter - has
historically been primarily about furniture / cabinet making, mill work
(moldings, etc.) and associated subjects (hand-tools, powered tools,
methods of work) used in the process.
Also, after people take the time to do the research for you or provide you
with a step-by-step explanation of how to do something, an acknowledgement
of their effort is usually a nice gesture.
Yeah, but there is about nothing said in this or any group that you
can't get info by doing a Google, or Clusty search.
I would think removing wood screws from wood is pretty much on topic.
On that note, to the guy with the question. First, for the screws that
aren't stripped, put a drop of oil or wd40 around it, then put a
screwdriver in and smack it a few times with a hammer. This will
usually loosen the screw enough for removal. A nice tool for this is an
impact driver. This is a hand tool that you put in the screw and smack
with a hammer and it twists slightly on impact. I found one on line you
can see here: http://www.dratv.com/impactdriver.html . Should be able to
get one at an auto parts store or perhaps even sears.
If you stripped the head or broke it off, then your into all the other
stuff people suggested, none very pleasant from my experience. I
usually just chisel around it enough to get vice grips around it and
twist it out.
Make a hole saw from tubing and a file big enough to pass over the
head of the screw. It's a big plus if it is also the same size as
dowell stock you can use to plug the holes. Core all the way through
the deck board and then lift the board off and snap the screw in the
joist with a hammer.
I had some wood outdoor decking to remove and reuse last year and
started out by stripping the first couple screw heads. I then
switched to a Milwaukee cordless hammer/drill set to the hammer
setting and reverse and tried backing out the stripping out screw
heads - it worked great. I think the combination of the hammering on
the heads and a low speed did the trick. It took out the rest of the
"good" screws with no more problems.
To provide closure: As suggested I used a spare bit and a hammer
to give each stuck screw a good whack or two. I also switched to
my cordless driver/drill. The screws came out easily.
I bought a set of screw extractors at the local lumber yard but didn't
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