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Old 09-18-2016, 12:49 PM   #1
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Trouble drilling out broken screws


I'm trying to remove the screws from my deck. Most of the ones that don't immediately strip out just break off as soon as they start to turn. They don't appear to be deck screws, so they're all rusted below the surface. I had no luck with those easy-out screw removers, so I'm trying to dill out the heads (I would just leave them and put in good screws next to them, but almost none of them are flush with the surface).

The problem I'm having is that the drill chews through the head pretty quickly, but then seems to just stop moving and polish the hole (pic below). Is there some trick to it that I'm not getting? I'm using a cobalt drill bit that's made for drilling hard metal. It's 5/32", which is just bigger than the screw shaft. Do I need a harder bit? Do I need to use oil? Do I just have to keep pressing down and wait for it to make it through? There are over 1000 screws in this deck, so I'm really hoping that's not the solution.
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Old 09-18-2016, 04:00 PM   #2
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


Forget the drilling. Drive a small chisel between the board and the joist to create a small gap. Slip your sawsall blade in that gap and cut the screw. After you have a board up you can drive the screw out with a punch from the cut side. You may have to get up under the deck to get started. You could also use a small pry bar to create the gap.
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Old 09-18-2016, 04:07 PM   #3
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


Are you trying to save the boards?
If not a bar like this will pull the boards right up, screws and all.
http://www.gutstertools.com/
I use two of them and two people, it goes really fast.
Amazon has them, I bought mine from Northern Tool.
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Old 09-18-2016, 04:12 PM   #4
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


Forcing screws in takes seconds with drill drivers and hammer drill type equipment. Removing them often takes a bucket of patients and sometimes hours with specialized tools.
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Old 09-18-2016, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


just put a plug in after you get the screw out.


http://www.rockler.com/screw-extractor
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Old 09-18-2016, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


It didn't occur to me to just pull the board up and push the screw out. I don't think any special tools will be necessary, since the screws pretty much just snap off. I'll try that when I have a chance.

But if anybody knows the answer to my original question (why I can't drill the heads off), I'd still like to hear it. I've watched videos of people doing it, and they don't seem to be having as much trouble as me.
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:41 PM   #7
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


5/32" is a pretty small drill bit and I suspect it gets dull very quickly. A 1/4" would take the heat better and take the head right off. Never cared for that brand, too much marketing and not enough quality. Test one of those bits on plain steel. Then remember, those screws are far harder than plain steel. After one stops cutting, test it again with the plain steel and you will probably find it has lost its edge.

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Old 09-18-2016, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: Trouble drilling out broken screws


If we knew the heat treating process of the screws we may be able to give you an answer to your original question.

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