a slight spin on other questions. I have a deck that is coming out with painted wood and rusted screws. 1 out of 10 comes out OK, the others break off. Since I am going to be re-using the wood, and most likely planing the wood, have to get the metal out.

The only idea I have is to use a small hole bit to encircle the metal and then plug the hole with a dowel. Thinking there might be a easier idea out there.

  • Are the planks already loose? Or are you removing the screws to get them loose? – Willk Nov 28 '20 at 17:45
  • No, they are not loose. I will probably either have to apply some pressure or cut the screws from the bottom. So far the amount of rust has been substantial, the deck has been there for 25+ years. – Rob Bonner Nov 28 '20 at 18:03
  • Frankly, I'm amazed that the decking is in good enough condition after 25 years to want to reuse it and that it's only the screws that are the problem! – FreeMan Nov 28 '20 at 19:40
  • What happens if you just try to pry the deck boards off? Do the screw heads just snap off? If they do, then you should be able to remove the deck board around the remaining part of the screw. Once the deck board is removed, just snap off or cut off the remaining part of the screw. Tedious, I know. – SteveSh Nov 28 '20 at 19:55
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    Freeman, so was I. This is 2" pine that was installed well back in the day, they are heavy and sturdy. Thinking I can use them to frame out the bottom of an aux shed. Just hate to have the wood end up in the dump. The pine did better than the cedar supports below for sure. – Rob Bonner Nov 28 '20 at 20:14

You could try heating some screws with a sodering iron until the wood smokes. Maybe the burnt wood will be less grippy. Let them cool back down before you try getting them out. Not sure the cosmetic outcome from this will be better than your drill scheme, though.

Could try a blob of penetrating oil on top of screws and leave it sit overnight. Maybe slippery wood will be less grippy. That wood is probably thirsty after 25 years and the oil should soak in ok.


What you need is a lot of patience for this kind of job. Unscrew the ones that you can. I will sometimes use an awl to clear the gunk out of the screw heads first.
It sounds like most of the others are snapping off which is fine - in that case just pull the boards up. Also lifting the boards with a pry bar will often pull the screws out of the deck joists. You can then either try to unscrew them from underneath with a pair of vise-grips or pound them out with a hammer.
There's no easy or neat way to do it. Once they're out the holes can be filled with with wood filler or Bondo - which I like.


We did the same thing, not the planing though. My hubby used a Punch to get the remaining broken nails out, we also used a pick the clean out the heads before attempting. They later used the treated wood to build a roof over a fuel tank system.

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