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Old 03-22-2009, 11:30 AM   #1
Art From De Leon
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Default Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

Each year I wind up having to replace a few deck boards that have become 'cupped' on the end, or is starting to split.
Because the screw head is sunken beneath the surface of the wood, and the crap that has filled up the hole, it is impossible to see the head of the screw, and most of them are not installed vertically, so using a Phillips head bit only works about 10 percent of the time.
I have used the "Grab-it" screw extractors, with SOME success, but I would really like to find a faster, less frustrating way of going about this job.
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

For starters, ditch the philips head screws. That is 90% of your problem. Most of them are partially stripped by the time they get sunk into the wood.

Use square-drive deck screws.

And prior to removing them, just hit the hole with compressed are and a blow gun. Be sure to use a NEW square drive bit when removing. Good to go.
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

IDASHO is correct. Square-hole (Robertson #2) screws are best. To keep from stripping them, you also HAVE to change bits every 10 or so screws - depending on how hard they are to get out. I found if I used the bit too long it wore and slipped, stripping more screws. Now I buy them in 10 packs.
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

yup
square drive stainless for decks

do not run them in so hard that they sink, the should be flush

use an air gun to blow the heads out before starting to remove

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Old 03-22-2009, 01:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

As everyone has said Robertson tips, also the small impacts like my Bosch is great for getting things out without stripping them.
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Old 03-22-2009, 05:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

I used a hammer drill to remove them.
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

+1 on using square drive screws. Do not sink them. I have used a sheet rock screw gun to install them since there is a clutch unit that disengages at a pre-set depth.

+1 on the impact or hammer drill to remove them.

Remember to use STAINLESS STEEL screws on the ACQ pressure treated lumber that is all there is commonly available nowadays. The ACQ stuff is crap but it is all we can obtain from most lumberyards. There is a product called TimberSil available in some areas that is far superior to ACQ treated lumber. There are coated deck screws that are supposed to work with ACQ treated lumber but I personally do not recommend them.
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

I offered some info and I gained some as well!! I "countersunk" all my deck screws and was unhappy with the results, as many of them splintered the wood. Also, I used coated screws, but already had to replace some. Thanks for the tips on SS screws and flush profile!
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

Also, crown the flat sides of the new boards with the grain "cupped" downward.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

If the head is stripped, get a drill bit the same size as the body of the screw, and drill the head off. That way the board should come up off of the shank of the screw. I'm assuming that the boards are trashed anyways as you are replacing them. And ditto on the square head screw. Just make sure you use the proper size bit as some are very close in size. A good fit will not let the screw fall off.
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

They make a screw extractor just for that purpose. Sears has them, check your locale store. Otherwise, take Kevin's suggestion.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

I remembered seeing this item in the Rockler catalog:http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?O...s&cookietest=1

It sounded good in theory, but clearly the reviews don't sound very encouraging.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

If the floor board is going to be trashed anyway, just bust it up and use a vise grips to remove the screw.
Then use the sqr drive/SS on the replacments.
Do check the grain on the end of the boards.
You want the arch to be up.
(High in the middle.)
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

Quote:
square drive stainless for decks
Quote:
Remember to use STAINLESS STEEL screws
Although this isn't bad advice, I personally wouldn't worry about using stainless steel on treated lumber. If you're using redwood or some other more exotic species, then I'd spend the extra money.

Last edited by Mr. Welsh; 03-25-2009 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:08 PM   #15
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

If you have a really nasty one that won't come up, drill holes around it with a 1/2 spade bit and just grab the SOB with vice grips and twist. I've had to do that before.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

D'you know, I just keep on learning on this site.
I'm an auto man, never done much woodworking, apart from walking sticks and crooks, so had never heard of square drive screws.
However, I have a bit of a job to do outside and square drive will be perfect.

Thanks guys, and to the OP for a subject line I looked at.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Welsh View Post
Although this isn't bad advice, I personally wouldn't worry about using stainless steel on treated lumber. If you're using redwood or some other more exotic species, then I'd spend the extra money.
A person does not NEED the SS screws on redwood or exotic species. A person NEEDS to use SS on the ACQ treated lumber because it will quickly corrode or rust a standard screw and many of the coated variety.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Elson View Post
so had never heard of square drive screws.
Isn't the technical term Robertson
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

Funny how we Canadians have been extolling the virtues of Robertson square drive screws for many decades to no avial. But no the all mighty Phillips must prevail. I have to say that for drywall screws Phillips is probably the right choice. Instead of using good old Robertsons some dipshit had to come up with torx. You can put a good Robertson on a quality bit and install it in the tightest of places. The shame of it all is that the Roberson spec's are not what they used to be and quality control for all of the offshore crap is not what it should be. I frequently find myself frustrated by poor quality Robertson screws and bits that plain just don't work they were designed. One neat thing is that I see alot of combo heads now that will work square, Phillips and even slot all in one screw.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: Easiest Way To REMOVE Deck Screws

I have no idea why Phillips was so popular and so piss-poor at the same time. I have drivers for clutch head screws, called a clutch head type A, that were on an old 57 Chevy I had that are much better than Phillips. There are also variations on the Phillips head that I occasionally run into. Look about half way down on the following link for many types:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screw
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