Stripped screws are screws with damaged heads, making them almost impossible to remove by using screwdrivers. You may accidentally strip the screws by using the wrong drill bits. When installing new composite decking boards or replacing old ones, you may have encountered some stripped screws. So, how do you remove deck boards with stripped screws? If you want to take out the screws, here are some ways you can do it.
Using Pliers and Vice Grips
One of the first things you’ll want to try when removing stripped screws is to remove them manually. To do this, you will need some locking pliers or vice grips. For this to work, the screw heads should also not be flushed deep into the wood. You will need to be able to grip the screw heads. If not, you may want to try other methods.
For this method, grab some pliers or vice grips, preferably locking ones. Then, grip the screw heads with pliers and gently back the screws by rotating the pliers counter-clockwise. You may need to put in a little effort when dealing with rusting screws. Alternatively, you can apply lubricants to the screw’s shaft to loosen it.
Using a Power Drill
As previously mentioned, the usual methods of backing the screws won’t work with stripped screws. However, there are still a few tricks and tips that you can use using a power drill. One trick you can use is by using rubber.
For this method, you’ll need a small rubber piece that can fully cover the screw heads. A rubber band can do the trick. You can start by placing the rubber band on top of the screw head. It shouldn’t be too thin to get damaged by the drill bit nor too thick that you can’t place the drill bit into the screw heads. Then, with the right drill bit, slowly drill the screw head with the rubber in reverse. Once loosened, you can continue to back the screws out using this method or using pliers.
Another trick is by using a lockable drill chuck. However, as with pliers and grips, it only works on exposed screw heads. You can put the drill chuck over the screw and tighten it until it grips the screw. Finally, set the drill in reverse to back it.
Using a Screw Extractor Set
Another quick and effortless method of removing stripped screws is by using screw extractor sets. There are several varieties of these kits on the market. And each one may work differently than others.
One of the most popular screw extractor sets you can buy are these special drill bits. The drill bits have two different ends. One end features a cutter side that drills a hole into the screw head. The other one is a reverse-threaded drill bit that bites on the drilled hole that the other end makes.
To use this type of screw extractor set, you will need to choose the right drill bit size first. Fortunately, they come in different sizes and as a complete set. Next, using the cutter side, drill a hole into the screw head. Then, with the threaded-size, drive the screw in reverse, backing it out in the process.
As mentioned, there are several varieties of screw extractor sets available. You only have to find the right one that suits you best. You can use forums, review sites, and customer feedback when buying a set of these kits.
Using A Pry Tool
If all the other methods fail, there are a few more things that you can try. However, they most likely will damage the decking boards. Because of this, only try these as a last resort. To pry the decking boards, you can use a hammer or other prying tool. Using the claw side, slowly lift the boards upward. A slow rocking motion can help minimize damage.
In some instances, prying the decking boards may leave the screws into the joists. If so, you can use pliers to unscrew them manually. If that doesn’t work, you can also cut the screws using a reciprocating saw.
Cutting the Decking Boards
To make prying easier, you can also opt to cut the decking boards into sections. Doing so reduces the boards’ resistance when prying them out. However, you will need to be careful not to cut through the deck frame. For this reason, you may need to familiarize yourself with your deck.
Another method is by using plug cutters. Plug cutters are special drill bits that cut holes into decking boards. For this method, you will need a plug cutter slightly larger than the screw heads. Using the plug cutter, make a hole around the screws. After doing so, you can lift the decking boards out effortlessly. As for the screws, you can use the previously mentioned methods to remove them.