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IN DEPTH EXTRA: Deck Fasteners

That popularity has led many manufacturers to introduce clips, both to go with their own boards and for use with any boards. “It’s too early to tell if there will be a best or most popular type,” says GRK’s Martel. “But there’s a massive preference for them overall. There are new types continuing to be introduced as manufacturers try to find new and more effective ways to install them.”

That in turn has led to a variety of installation methods and a concern over whether all installations are performed properly. “Questions do arise about how best to connect them to the substructure to ensure the deck is safe and to reduce racking,” says Screw Products’ Miller.

“We’ve seen some builders return to face-fastening for security reasons,” reports Scott Nowatzki, national accounts manager at Starborn Industries. “There’s been something of a resurgence in that regard. As decks get bigger, there is more concern about the security of the structure, especially when using clips for hidden fasteners. Their ease of installation is a big driver for their use, but they have to secure the boards to the structure to be safe.”

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star drive bit kit from GRKThe Star Drive Bit Kit from GRK Fasteners is designed to make impact drivers easier to use due to the bits’ increased ability to transfer torque to a fastener with their six points of contact. The kit provides all the bits and accessories necessary to use with an impact driver and features color-coded bits to aid in remembering which bit is needed for each screw.

“The key is to ensure that the right product is installed in the right way,” says MiTek’s Archer. “That’s a more precise combination than builders often take into account. A lot gets installed incorrectly.”

The various levels of expansion and contraction of boards, along with the various ways to fasten hidden clips, makes it more imperative that builders know the products they are using and follow the instructions. Titan Metal Werks has introduced a special fascia system designed to accommodate the need to prevent wrinkling and other problems. “The moisture-loss characteristics of the wood sub-frame components result in varying degrees of shrinkage, which represents the biggest contributor to the problems with fascia, yet the blame will almost always fall to the fascia manufacturer, fastener or builder.”

Titan offers a variety of fact sheets on its website to educate homeowners and contractors. “We hope it will enlighten consumers and, perhaps, expose them to preventable steps that can be taken toward constructing a worry-free deck.”

SplitStop high-performance wood screwsSplitStop high-performance wood screws and composite screws from Titan Metal Werks can be placed within 1/8″ of a board’s edge without splitting the wood. They are said to eliminate the worry of splitting the wood during installation of deck boards or railings. The company says they also penetrate knots without shearing off heads and can be countersunk easily, even in hardwoods.

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