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Old 06-24-2011, 10:05 PM   #1
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


I was working on a deck dranage issue and had to remove some boards. I ran into a number of screws, with square heads that were stripped out. I ended up accomplishing what I needed to do, but I am wondering how you get screws out like that? Home Depot sold me an expensive screw extractor, but it did not work. My neighbor, who is a contractor, came over to help and he could not get the extractor to work.

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Old 06-24-2011, 10:20 PM   #2
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


Quote:
Home Depot sold me an expensive screw extractor, but it did not work.
They forced you to buy it? Take it back and tell them it didn't work if it didn't work.

There are screw extractors that have sort of a slightly twisted-square business-end on them. Find one of those type in the proper size. Then lightly tap it into what's left of the driving hole. Once you have a hook to work with chuck-it-up in a variable speed reversable drill and back the screw out slowly and carefully.

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Old 06-25-2011, 04:23 AM   #3
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


There are a variety of screw extraction tools out there but deck screws are particularly tricky. Things got mangled when the deck was assembled. Sometimes, I find it fastest to just get my multi-tool or reciprocating saw out, cut things off, and angle grind left overs flush and out of the way once the decking is free and clear.

The problem with a lot of box store extractor things is that the alloy they are made of is too soft and not a good match for the deck screws. See what a real fastener or tool supply store might have for your situation. Craftsman used to make a decent screw extractor system but it was not intended for multiple screws gone bad in a deck.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:48 AM   #4
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


Recently had a similar issue w/ stainless deck screws. They were a crappy alloy that stripped out easily, even allowing for differences between SS and hardened steel screws. I used a Dremel to cut slots in the heads, backed them out with a screwdriver enough to grab 'em w/ ViceGrips and backed them the rest of the way out. Sent a snarky email to the mfr and got the standard "Apparently YOU did something wrong" response, but they were just crap.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:55 AM   #5
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


Slot 'em and flathead 'em, yup. That's what I end up doing.

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Old 06-25-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


Thanks for all of the replies. I was finally able to accomplish my task without taking off any more boars, But I like the idea of using the dremel to cut the slots. I will remember that for next time. I am taking the extractor back tomorrow.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:38 PM   #7
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


There is a learning curve with screw extractors. You need to drill the correct diameter hole for them to work.
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:59 AM   #8
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How to deal with stripped out deck screws


Screw extractors can be very handy lil items but they are finicky. You have to drill almost perfectly inline w/ the screw/bolt shaft so you are turning it, even slightly off-center or out of line and you tend to just rip the head right off. I've found they are the best thing for when a head is gone and you need to remove the remaining threaded shaft (easier to line up,etc.) but when there is still a head left on it, something lo-tech, mechanical bruteforce-ish usually works better.

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