I'm trying to remove 1 decking plank to access a blocked drain underneath. The decking was installed about 6 months ago (not by myself). The screws appear to have been countersunk far below the surface and the holes look something like:

counter sunk

I'm using a 9V cordless drill with variable torque settings to try and get these up. I'm using a PZ2 bit with a drill bit extender. I've managed to get some of these up but most of them just aren't moving and I'm very concerned about stripping the screw heads. I've also tried using a manual screwdriver with little luck

The screws when removed look like:


Which shows even for the easy ones I'm starting to strip them. My question is, how on earth do I go about removing the other screws? Also, how have the screws been sunk so far?

  • 2
    Are you sure they're PZ2 screws? Try a common #2 Phillips driver. Good alignment and downforce should make it fairly painless.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 13:30
  • 1
    The radiating lines indicate Pozidriv screws, but you should be able to tell the difference for sure on ones which are not chewed out. A drill is not good for driving or removing screws. Get a cordless driver which pulsates. Commented May 9, 2018 at 14:24
  • Definitely PZ2 screws. @JimStewart - do you mean a standard cordless screwdriver in reverse?
    – Fraser
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 14:40
  • That is what I meant, but i must admit that I don't have cordless driver. I use a drill. My "driver" I meant one like: grainger.com/product/… Commented May 9, 2018 at 15:00
  • 1
    Most of the problem is probably due to debris in the screw head. Maybe try compressed air or an awl before you insert the driver. I've taken decks apart that were 20 times the age of yours without too much trouble.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 17:54

3 Answers 3


An impact wrench will do it if the head is not stripped like the one in the photo. As noted , keep high down force to prevent stripping the heads. My Makita has given excellent service.


You need a speed wrench!

The root cause of both the original overdriving and stripping them, is over-use of power tools. The tool is stupid and way too fast to control. Worse, some people think the rat-tat-tat of the screw stripping out is a normal indication of "tight enough", and they cheerfully do it on every screw!

You need a lot of downforce to avoid stripping - more than you can get with a hand screwdriver.

Build a speed wrench as I describe in this answer, and use it instead.

  1. Increase your horsepower get an 18V screw gun
  2. Buy an Impact Screwdriver. They work with a small sledge hammer.

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