Trouble with Screws: Carpentry  -- Home Building Discussion Forum and Review Trouble with Screws: Carpentry -- Home Building Discussion Forum

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 12-31-2007, 15:34 Post: 149754
bobkro

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 Trouble with Screws

Gents--

I've got a problem with the skirting around the edges of my deck. Skirting is made of Ever Grain (a Trex-like project) that is fastened to the treated lumber used to support the deck. Skirting was not installed IAW manufacturer's specs, and has expanded in the summer heat, warped, and snapped most, but not all, of the screws used to fasten the skirting to the treated lumber. Screws are stainless steel with square drive head. Skirting is now bowed out on most of the ends of the skirting pieces, and is held fast to the deck by the screws in the middle of the skirting. To repair, I must remove the skirting from the deck, remove about 1/8 inch from the end of each piece of skirting (per manufacture's specs), and re-fasten with three screws every 8 inches. Most pieces of skirting are about 6 feet long by 12 inches high, and about 3/4 inch thick.

My problem is that I cannot get the screws out of the skirting. For those screw heads that have not been buggered (about 2/3 of the screws), and all the heads that have been buggered, the screws merely turn in place when I attempt to unscrew them. It's like the Ever Grain material is so soft (even in today's relatively cool 50 degree weather) that the screw threads just won't bite to permit unscrewing. It is difficult to get any kind of tool behind the screws (that is, between the treated lumber and the back side of the skirting) to help in the extraction because the board is still held in place by some screws (usually in the center).

Any ideas? I an considering just prying the boards off and ripping the screws that are still in place through the skirting, hoping that I do not bugger the boards too badly, but that is not my preferred course of action.

Other than that, I'm having a good time, and I hope the Holidays have been good to you.






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 12-31-2007, 16:20 Post: 149755
candoarms



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 Trouble with Screws

Bobkro,

Rather than trying to get a tool between the skirting and the deck boards -- try getting a tool under the head of the screw, instead.

In most cases, a side cutter works well for this job. It's made for cutting wire, but the sharp edges work well to apply a little up-pressure on a screw while trying to back it out.

Simply place the jaws of the side snips at the bottom of the screw's head, then attempt to back the screw out with your power driver. Squeeze the handles of the side cutter together as you begin turning the screw, and the screw will begin to back out.

Worst case scenario........you'll have to take a grinder to your cutters to sharpen the cutting edges enough to get under the screw heads. But, if you use a cheapy cutter, made in China, purchased from K-Mart, you won't be out much.

Joel






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 12-31-2007, 17:00 Post: 149756
auerbach



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 Trouble with Screws

Try a screw-grabber pair of pliers. I got mine from Lee Valley for under $20, but I'm sure there's lots of brands. The grabbing end has a recess that can hold a screw firmly, but you might have to remove some of the wood around the screw head to grab it.






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 12-31-2007, 20:52 Post: 149761
earthwrks

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 Trouble with Screws

Good description! But a picture is well worth a thousand... bad screws.

Seriously though, I've had similar issues with regular treated wood. All I did was drive the screw in more until I could pull the board off. Then, either unscrew the old screw or break it off. If you break it off just be sure to always put the new ones to either side of it.

Rather than using stainless to repalce hem have you considered the ceramic-coated ones that have a slight bugle head on them made specifically for composites?

And going back to the old skirting and moving the screws, and installing new, you might consider either flipping the boards end for end to get a new hole going, or even filling in the new holes with colorized caulk/sealant. I'd whack the old screw holes slightly and make a dimple with a small ball peen hammer.






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 01-01-2008, 08:19 Post: 149766
bobkro

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 Trouble with Screws

Gents--

Thanks for the suggestions. I should have explained that in most cases, the head of the screw is embedded in the skirting as much as 1/16 of an inch. This makes gripping the screw, or getting a pair of side cutters underneath the head, very difficult unless I dig out some of the material around the screw head--which I'm reluctant to do at this point. if I do that, it seems to me that the chances are good that I'll have a pretty ugly looking board when I get finished.

Sorry to make the problem more difficult, but . . .

b






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 01-01-2008, 09:54 Post: 149769
harvey



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 Trouble with Screws

Try left hand drill bits either turns the screw out or drills offthe head so you can pull the board off the screw. Grab whats left with vise grips.






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 01-01-2008, 23:09 Post: 149797
bobkro

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 Trouble with Screws

Harvey--

Do not recall having run accross left handed drill bits before, but maybe that's becasue I was not looking for them.

Is that a specialty item from a catalog or a standard hardware store item?

b






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 01-02-2008, 08:34 Post: 149808
kthompson



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 Trouble with Screws

You should be able to find enough left hand drill bits at the better hardware stores or automotive parts stores for your need. Might want to start with automotive stores as they are realative common to remove broken bolts. There are also tools with different head designs to engage those damage heads. Can you get a very thin pry bar with a "V" in the end of it behind the boards to slip around the threads to give the screws something firm to back out against? kt






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 01-02-2008, 08:54 Post: 149811
Hettric



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 Trouble with Screws

You can find left hand bits and pretty much anything else here http://www.mcmaster.com/
I think I would try just drilling the heads off(with right hand bit)then prying the boards off as suggested.
I believe "cobalt" bits will hold up better in stainless.






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 01-02-2008, 09:12 Post: 149813
hardwood

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 Trouble with Screws

I got my left hand bits from Fastenall.






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