How To Remove Deck Boards With Rusted and Stripped Screws

Deck boards get old with time and even no longer make it appealing looking at them. At this point, it is best to consider removing the deck boards and laying some new boards.

It might not always be easy when you have stripped screws in the boards. For such a scenario, it would be best to find ways of removing these deck boards still. That is what we discuss in this guide.

Removing the Rusted and Stripped Screws

It is common that at times you may end up with stripped screws, but this does not mean you cannot remove the deck boards.

We can look at various scenarios to see how best you can remove such stripped screws.

1. Using a pair of locking pliers

If the screw heads are still above the wood, then you can use locking pliers to turn and loosen the screw.

You simply have to clamp the locking pliers to the visible screw head and start turning counterclockwise. It is best to work slowly so as not to snap off the screw head.

Once the screw is loose enough, you could use a larger screwdriver, especially a flat screwdriver to remove the screw fully from the board.

2. Using a screw extractor

In the case where the stripped screw is flush with the deck board, it becomes hard to use the locking pliers. It is best to use a screw extractor in this case.

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You will start by drilling into the screw head to make its center large enough to fit the screw extractor.

Insert the extractor and slowly spin it counterclockwise to remove it. Always turn slowly to get the screw out without snapping.

Sometimes you can use locking pliers once the screw head is out enough to allow for the pliers to hold.

This video has more tips to follow

YouTube video

Pry Off the Deck Boards

Sometimes despite trying hard enough, you may notice that the screw does not want to come off. In this case, consider simply prying off the deck boards with the right tools.

This method is only recommended for the old deck boards that have no use anymore.

The first thing you will need is a pry bar. Make sure to invest in a strong pry bar that will not break easily. In case you have a rotten deck, it might be easy to pry off the boards with ease.

1. Identify the right prying point

Having the right prying point makes it so easy to remove the boards. We recommend prying the board as close to the fasteners as possible.

Just put the pry bar close to where the screw is and it can come off.

Before you can start prying the board off, wear your work gloves. Insert the pry bar in between the joist and board and move it down gently but firmly.

Depending on how much leverage you have, sometimes it can be easy to remove the boards with one movement of the pry bar.

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2. Cut or remove the screw shaft

Prying the deck boards off might always leave you with screw shafts hanging on the joist. For this case, you can either cut or remove the screw shaft.

If you have to cut, then use a Dremel to cut it off with ease. The other option is to use a Dremel to make a slot for using a flat head screwdriver later to remove the screw.

Cut the Deck Boards

The other solution is just to cut the deck boards. This is where the screws won’t just back out because they are too damaged and the boards at tightly held to the joists making it hard to pry them.

You have to plan your cutting to do it correctly. The last thing you need is to cut through the joists since they are the supporting structure.

Plan your cuts carefully. Start by drawing the cut lines and avoid the joists as much as possible.

Have your gloves, goggles, and other important safety gear worn before you can start to use the reciprocating saw.

This video contains more tips on removing deck boards:

YouTube video


Can you use superglue to remove a stripped screw?

Yes. Apply enough superglue to the head of the screw and then attach a screwdriver. Wait for the glue to dry and start turning the screwdriver to loosen the screw. This might work only for screws that are not too tight.

When should you cut off the deck boards?

This is only advised when the screws are holding the boards onto the joist firmly. This also means you cannot use a pry bar. Another scenario is when you will no longer have to use the deck boards again.

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Is it possible to drill out a stripped screw from a deck board?

Drilling is encouraged sometimes so that you can insert the screw extractor and start removing the screw. Be careful not to overdo it and mess up the board in case you want to reuse it.

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