Homeowners who are building a new composite decking face a flood of decisions, such as what color, shape and size it will be. What many people fail to think about, however, is how the deck will be held together.
When it comes to composite decking, deck fasteners are a crucial element that can make or break the entire project. From nails to screws to clips, homeowners have plenty of options for attaching the deck boards to the frame – but some are stronger than others. This article will highlight the most common deck fasteners and explain why deck clips are preferable to other fasteners, both structurally and aesthetically.
Types of Deck Fasteners
Whether you’re planning to hire a contractor or build a deck yourself, the deck fasteners you choose can have a big impact on the strength of your composite deck. The hardware you that holds the decking material to the frame will be responsible for keeping your entire deck in place over the long term. That is why it’s important to select steadfast deck fasteners.
The most common deck fasteners include:
Nails. Many contractors choose nails because they are the least expensive fasteners available, as well as the fastest to install. Using nails can both speed up your project and help you stay within your budget. On the downside, nails can eventually work their way out of the decking material. They also penetrate the plastic coating on your composite deck, which can cause splitting and expose the wood to moisture.
Tip: Choose galvanized nails and not electro-plated. If possible, spend a little extra for spiral groove or ring shank nails. Examine the boards regularly for splitting or popped nails.
Screws. Those who want more long-term strength often choose screws, which cost more and take about twice as long to install. They’re generally considered stronger than nails, but they can cause similar splitting and moisture issues.
Tip: Choose screws with self-cutting tips, spiral shafts and bugle heads. Avoid drywall screws, which are too weak to hold a deck in place.
Deck clips. Unlike screws and nails, which are driven down through the deck boards and into the frame supports, deck clips are inserted between boards. They’ll add extra costs to your budget, but they can also add life and visual appeal to your deck. Deck clips are driven through the deck joists and will prevent the majority of the structural shifts composite decks can experience as they age. They are also virtually invisible – no holes, splitting, stains, or rows of nail heads or screw tops.
Tip: To give your composite deck a uniform surface, use deck clips, which create consistent spacing between each board.
A good contractor can build a quality deck regardless of the type of fasteners used; however, all things being equal, deck clips will perform better every time.
Source by Colleen Welch