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IN DEPTH EXTRA: Deck Fasteners

Search for Speed
One of the key reasons installers continue to evaluate fastener options is the desire to find the most efficient installation technique. “Deck clips are popular because they lend themselves to a fast speed of installation,” says Grabber’s Wulfenstein. “Builders like fast installations so they can move to the next job faster.” DeckWise’s Kabel agrees. “Our customers tend to return to us. They know they can install our system quickly and move on, especially with hardwoods, and not worry about callbacks.”

That also has led to more interest in fastening tools. “There are getting to be so many small, lightweight tools that they’ve become the norm for installations,” says GRK’s Martel. “They can definitely speed up the fastening system if used properly.”

Adds Starborn’s Nowatzki, “Pneumatic tools are more popular because they’re perceived as a convenience that speeds installation. They’re new in the market, so builders are figuring out if they can get a benefit, but some find the actual savings are hard to determine. Some find the speed they gain doesn’t justify the cost of the tool. Many have crews that can install by hand almost as fast as the tool can work.” Measuring and cutting the boards to the proper size often controls the speed of installation, he notes. “It’s more of a convenience factor. Builders asked for pneumatic tools to help with fastening, and now they’ve got them.”

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starborn-industrys-epoxy-coated-trim-screwsStarborn Industries is now offering its epoxy-coated trim screws in tan for use in pressure treated lumber trim and finish applications. The high-quality screws feature an extra deep star-drive recess, reinforced trim heads with nibs and Type 17 auger tips. It offers a specially formulated, color-matched, epoxy-based polymer resin coating that was designed for high adhesion.

National Nail introduced a guide for its CAMO Edge Deck Fastening System that allows contractors to install decking from a standing position, says W. Scott Baker, president and CEO. “Contractors are looking for great looks, low maintenance, speed and efficiency,” he says. “No matter what board material their homeowner selects, they need a dependable fastening system that delivers the desired aesthetic, secures boards and speeds installation, working with tools that don’t slip up or misfire.” He adds that the system is up to four times faster than hand-installing clip systems and offers the convenience of a “more ergonomic standing installation.”

A key reason tools that offer a consistent angle of entry and depth are coming into vogue lies in part with builders hustling to keep crews staffed. “There’s always a concern about labor shortages, especially of skilled labor in key markets,” says Simpson Strong-Tie’s Park. “That has led to a much higher demand for collated fasteners, because it’s easier to train crews to do installations more consistently and faster with them. It eliminates mistakes.”

CAMO-edge-pro-systemNational Nail’s CAMO Edge Pro system features a collated auto-feed screw system for edge fastening of deck boards. It is said to eliminate the surface splitting and cracking that results from face-fastening deck boards, providing a barefoot-friendly surface for softwood, hardwood, composite and PVC decking.

Adds DeckWise’s Kabel, “There’s a shortage of skilled labor that grasps the technical aspects of hidden fastening on deck boards and that understands the detail of what’s needed. A lot of deck installers seem to look to find the fastest system possible, and it can bite them if they’re using the wrong kind of deck fastener for their installation or the installer doesn’t know how to install hidden fasteners properly.”

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