Removing Tapcon masonry screws

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Old 04-22-17, 02:46 PM
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Removing Tapcon masonry screws

Greetings and salutations.

First timer here and I've got an issue.

Years ago my father had a friends son do some work in the basement. This included laying down some vinyl floor tiles. The guy doing the job over engineered the crap out of it to the point where he used Tapcom (I'm assuming they're Tapcom cause they're blue) masonry screws to adhere the 3/4" plywood to the concrete slab. The tiles were then glued to the plywood.

Well, recently we had to have that flooring pulled up and that left behind a veritable sea of blue screw heads. I have a Porter Cable oscillating tool and gave it a try to remove the screw heads. It took me three wood/metal blades and two "grinding" attachments to get through 5 or 6 screw heads. The wood/metal blades were literally removed of teeth and the grinding attachment lost all of its grinding compound.

I'm thinking these screws are made from depleted uranium of something.

Has anyone gone through something like this? Would an angle grinder be a better option?

Thanks.

*EDIT* The screws have a Phillips head, not the hex head and the Philips head is full of dried adhesive. As a result, we can't back them out with a driver.
 

Last edited by DIY-Dude73; 04-22-17 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Additional Info
  #2  
Old 04-22-17, 03:33 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Yeah an oscillating tool won't work. Go buy an inexpensive grinder and either metal disks or a diamond disk to cut them off and grind them down flat.

Hopefully from your engineer's mistakes, you won't do it again. Plywood on concrete is a disaster waiting to happen.
 
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Old 04-22-17, 03:55 PM
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Thanks Chandler. I just ordered a Makita grinder off Amazon after seeing a review for it on YouTube. It's a decent tool and I'm sure to use it over the years.

I'm curious about your "no plywood on concrete" comment as I thought laying down some kind of sub-floor was standard practice for doing something like tiles, especially for floors as rough as ours currently is.
 
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Old 04-22-17, 04:07 PM
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Tapcons are tough, but they are also brittle. If you smack it sideways with a hammer it will usually snap flush, although you may pop off a small chip of concrete in the process. If a few chips will be a problem, then you are better off with the abrasive wheel in a grinder. Either way, wear good eye protection.
 
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Old 04-22-17, 04:10 PM
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Like Paul mentioned.... they do snap easily.
In order to use that method you'd need to pry the plywood up around the screws first and then hit them.

I can feel your pain.
 
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Old 04-22-17, 04:42 PM
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You guys are geniuses. Just went down stairs with my old framing hammer and wacked off more in 60 seconds than I cut off in 5 minutes.

Only thing is, now I'm waiting for my respirator mask to arrive before finishing. Turns out the original tiles were installed with an "adhesive cutback" which is black and likely made with asbestos.

We are so gonna skim coat the hell out of that floor.
 
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Old 04-22-17, 05:29 PM
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I would have used a big pair of vise grips but in some cases I guess a bigger hammer is best!
 
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Old 04-22-17, 05:57 PM
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You don't need any underlayment on concrete for ceramic or porcelain tiles. Self stick, meh, I wouldn't use them in any fashion. If your floor is unusually pocked or irregular, you can always use self leveling compound to make it more level. Wood and moisture don't mix. If you have any moisture, and concrete can exude it from below, the wood will rot
 
 

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