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tool needed

Jerry Lozier

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Deck repair. 2x6 decking and framing was put in with 3.5" deck screws. Client would really like to save decking (freestanding deck needs to be lowered 7 1/2" for headroom to awning)

Sq drive / phillips combo heads are stripped bad and most are countersunk. Even drilling off heads leaves some of threads in decking so can't pry up boards

Need someway if possible to back them out far enough to get vise grips? on them or core around them with small hole saw to do the same.

Thought about sawzall cutting screws between joists and decking.

Anything creative besides chainsaw, fire combo... Although

Sounds like $400 labor to save $200 in wood?


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I believe I've seen a self-tapping device that can be used in the same way you'd use a phillips head screwdriver. It's quite sharp and made specifically for your application - designed to dig into the screw head until it reaches enough resistance to back out the screw.

Check with someone at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

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One never knows without seeing everything up close and personal, but......

I've never found salvaging deck flooring to have any financial benefit. It takes more time dinking around with the stuff than you save in material cost. Also, the salvaged stuff always looks a little torn up, because it is.

If you gotta be "green" and salvage, that's cool, but if it's a business decision, tear it out, and replace it.

(My experience with those screw extractors is the same as Ben's; it's an iffy situation.)

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I had to get some old OSB off the roof of my shed. Nailed on with coated ring nails. You can't pry that stuff, it just crumbles into tiny chunks. [:-yuck]

I used my angle grinder with a thin cutting wheel, zipped all the heads off the nails.

You'd have to bore in to the joist a bit to hit the screw, but the high speed wheel on an angle grinder makes a quick cut.

Maybe try to lower the deck in one piece or in sections like Marc suggested.

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I've pulled apart entire decks like that & salvaged the wood (mostly) by simply using a 6' prybar. The deck screw heads just pull right though when you lever up the boards with enough force. The whole deck was dismantled in a couple of hours & most of the boards were still re-useable. The only blemishes visible from the top side were the holes where the screw heads had been. Of course, this was Western Red Cedar, which is pretty soft.

Those screw extractor thingys work pretty well with soft metal screws. Not so much with hardened deck screws. Likewise, I don't think you'd get too far with a sawzall going through those things.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I've done treated pine deck boards the same way; they come up reasonably easy like cedar. A 3' crowbar wil pull out the screws in most cases.

I just work in a town where stuff like extra holes in the decking makes the customer go nuts; it's easier to just buy new and avoid the customer carping.

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Just remove any diagonal bracing and start racking the thing. A few times back and forth and half the screws will be loose enough to pry out, the other half will be broken.[:-dev3]

There is a wrecking bar designed just for that kind if project. It is about 5' or 6' long with a fork that straddles the joist and provides good leverage for prying at just the right spot. One of the big boxes should have it.

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