IN DEPTH EXTRA: Deck Fasteners

Fastener options expand as deck compositions and safety concerns make customers evaluate what options provide the fastest, best-looking and most-efficient choice.

By: Craig A. Shutt

As the deck market grows, so too does the fastener market, in both volume and choices. Manufacturers continue to introduce new products to complement deck boards and help contractors complete their projects quicker. Ensuring customers are using the right fastener for their project can become a challenge, and an opportunity, for dealers.

“Decking products overall are going through changes, with more PVC and capstock products coming out all the time,” says Anthony DiSanto, exterior applications product manager at FastenMaster. “That can create confusion, as contractors need a fastener that can work in any material.”

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Adds Bevan Wulfenstein, marketing director for Grabber Construction Products, “Materials are a challenge for fastener companies. Customers need to be aware of the challenges that arise with various materials beyond wood. The average customer doesn’t know the differences and just buys a fastener, and then it doesn’t work and they don’t know who to blame. Dealers need to help the customers and ask questions about the materials being used.”

“There are many factors that go into whether a fastener will work with a specific board,” notes Jim Miller, president/CEO of Screw Products Inc., which is on its fourth generation of composite screws to work with all the compositions on the market. “The point, thread, coatings, length and head design all affect performance.”

The variety of products required to finish a deck, especially with new accessories being added, expands the requirements. “There are a lot of different fasteners needed for decking projects,” says Jacek Romanski, marketing manager for GRK Fasteners. “Deck boards, structural framing, railings and other parts require the proper fastener, and they need to be high-quality to create secure connections.”

deck-lock-deck-bracket-systemThe Decklok Deck bracket System (lateral anchor) from Screw Products is said to create a strong deck connection by redirecting the force of the load from a pullout to a connection in shear at the deck floor joists. The system can secure railing posts, ledger boards and stair stringers. They are said to save time and money while reducing risk.

Those expanding needs led Starborn Industries to introduce a fascia-installation system last year. “This is one area of deck fastening that has not had any really good solutions,” says Larry Crossley, vice president of sales. “It addresses the problems associated with a large amount of expansion and contraction that occurs with fascia boards due to changes in moisture and temperature.”