Tool Options Expand

Tools also are expanding, providing special applications to speed specific tasks. “Most contractors are looking to use tools to help them install fasteners to save time,” Grabber’s Wulfenstein says. “They want to automate as much as possible, but it can be complicated to install some fasteners with a tool, especially hidden fasteners for decks. Using a collated fastener for hidden fasteners isn’t here yet. We’re working on solutions, because speed is so important.”

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Cordless tools are gaining popularity too. “Customers are more interested in being able to install fasteners with cordless tools,” Simpson Strong-Tie’s Allen says. “But those tools typically have less torque, and battery life is critical. Customers want to be able to install as many fasteners as possible with one battery charge, so a screw that drives easily is important.” Simpson Strong- Tie’s focus on boosting speed by requiring less torque has led to the introduction of a screw gun that can install 600 of its deck screws on one battery charge.

National Nail has introduced an autofeed screw system to secure deck boards through the board edge. “Most decks are currently built using the traditional face-fastening method, which encourages splitting, cracking and fastener pops,” explains W. Scott Baker, president and CEO. “By reducing labor costs and eliminating the expense of hidden clips, builders can offer homeowners a greatlooking deck at a lower price.”

Tiger Deck too offers a system that allows hidden fasteners to be installed straight up, so the brackets can be inserted into multiple rows before pushing them together and securing them. “It saves a lot of time and has made it a popular choice,” Hafner says.

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