Fill screw holes in deck? Leave as is?


Old 07-01-14, 07:46 PM
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Fill screw holes in deck? Leave as is?

Hi guys,

I've done a lot of searching for what to do with screw holes for decks. Seems like there's 3 options. Fill with plugs (ideal), fill with sawdust + glue, fill with putty. Or well, a 4th of no action at all.

This is PT wood (I know, I know. But we've actually had good experiences with it), and finding info about plugging PT is limited at best. Some people suggest don't bother, because of contracting and swelling PT tends to do.

I'm really not sure which route I should take, or if I'm unnecessarily concerned about it entirely. If I could have started over I would have been more careful to avoid sinking the screws so deep (some of the wood was REALLY soft).

This is what most of the deeper holes look like. The wood is 'collapsing' around the screw hole, which makes plugging tricky. At least without pulling the screw and countersinking all 900 holes...

But on the wood that wasn't so soft, I did a little better job of flush. This is what most of the deck looks like, just barely sunk in:

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Old 07-01-14, 08:02 PM
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My thoughts would be that you would not need to do anything if you would control how deep you set the screws! Bottom picture, on left... is fine. The others are too deep. That's a pretty easy problem to avoid. Variable speed drills don't just drill fast, when you let off the trigger they slow down... and impacts probably give you even more control.

I guess if you want my opinion, it would be:

4). take no action.
Old 07-01-14, 08:16 PM
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I agree, no action is best. If it really bothers you though, you could fill with epoxy and paint.
Old 07-01-14, 11:38 PM
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I wish I could go back and do them over, but well, not how it works

I started with a regular drill, and even with the clutch set it blasted through some pieces before I could notice. Of course I also started with it on high speed setting rather than high torque. Needless to say... first few rows of screws, mostly not so good. About half way through the project I picked up an impact driver and it was much more consistent, more like the left screw in the bottom picture.

I'm in Seattle area, so pooled water is a bit of a concern. Not sure if those deep screws will have any real impact on rotting.
Old 07-02-14, 05:09 AM
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Do nothing is my vote.
Plugs would require a deeper round hole, any deeper and the screws have nothing to grip to.
Any filler is just going to pop out.
Do fill and paint !!!
You will have a peeling mess within a year that would all need to be sanded off.
Old 07-02-14, 05:41 AM
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I agree. Do nothing.

Treated wood needs to dry out before working it. Those sunken holes are not so bad. Leaving them alone will allow you to take them out at some future date.
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