50% of deck screws snapped

kwerkSeptember 25, 2012

I laid down 5/4x6 yellwood treated boards last year. This year I noticed quite a few screws have popped up out of the wood, and the joints at the end of boards especially have become loose. When I try to tighten the screws they spin freely. When I unscrew the screw I see that it has snapped where the threads start, so the threaded portion is stuck in the joist. I estimate about half of the screws on the deck are snapped like this.

I dried out the boards indoors for 6 months while I did the framing, and they were very dry when I installed them. I think I used an 1/8" spacing between them.

The deck is south facing and gets a lot of sun and I didn't get around to staining it yet. When it rains for a while, the boards expand a lot to the point the gaps disappear. When it is extremely dry the gaps are quite big 3/8" maybe. I guess that sheared the screws off from the movement.

What can I do about this? Obviously stain the deck to minimize the movement. But I cant screw new screws in to the holes because the snapped screw is still in the joist.

The screws I used are supposed to be top-rated with good reviews on this board.

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I had the same problem 12 years ago with wood shelving I had built in my basement. I operated a lumberyard/homecenter and had used a GRK brand torx screw. If you held the screws between two pairs of pliers, and tried to bend them, they would snap in half. They had no shear strength. Other deck screws or even drywall screws would bend instead of breaking testing this way.The Canadian rep for GRK looked at me as if he didn't believe me and gave me $300 in screws. I have sold $40,000 worth of them per year ever since with no problems. Go figure.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 10:20PM
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