I used stainless steel trim screws (3 in x 9 gauge) to rebuild our deck and one of them broke off when I was driving it in. There was about a 1/4 of an inch left (just the shank, no head) but when I tried to twist it out with locking pliers it broke off and now there is not enough of the shank to grab onto with locking pliers.

Any recommendations as to the best way to extract it at this point? I've thought of cutting a slot with a hacksaw and using a screw driver, using an extractor bit, or using a hole saw and putting in a plug to cover up the hole that would be left.


  • why do you need it out? Have you tried drilling?
    – DMoore
    May 1, 2020 at 19:47
  • 2
    Can you remove the other screws holding the board down and pull the board up from the broken screw and then try the vice grips again?
    – JACK
    May 1, 2020 at 19:52
  • 1
    The cause of that screw breaking off was not having a pilot hole of a suitable diameter or it not being deep enough. SS screws are not as strong as other screws even though they don't rust...
    – Solar Mike
    May 1, 2020 at 20:05
  • 1
    I could probably remove the other screws holding the board down and pull the board up and then try the vice grips again. I don't really have to have the screw out. When you say "have you tried drilling?" the answer is no. How do you recommend that I drill? May 1, 2020 at 20:12
  • 2
    Another option might be to use a hand grinder and grind it down so that it doesn't snag anything.
    – JerryD
    May 1, 2020 at 20:29

2 Answers 2


Cheap grinders are cheap. Get one.

Before grinding, erect a shield to prevent sparks from hitting the windows or any other delicate surface (they will stick). Cardboard or an old blanket would be strong enough.


I usually just pound them in further with a hammer. The first couple of taps usually flattens the top, then you can use a nail set to drive them in a bit below the surface.

  • Deck screws take a heck of a whack to drive, and it's even more difficult with a nail set.
    – isherwood
    Jan 26 at 14:01

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