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April 11, 2017
A common question we get this time of year, "what fastener should I use for deck boards?" Most contractors will tell you the short answer, to use a deck screw; but regional conditions and new decking materials may expand - or narrow - the list of suitable fasteners for your deck boards. Take a look at our deck fastener checklist, and learn what options work best for your decking project.
What type of fastener can I use for a traditional wood deck board?
Standard wood decking is pretty versatile in how it can be assembled to the deck frame. The least expensive option for installing deck boards is to use framing nails, though we don't necessarily recommend it. You'll see a lot of builder-grade decks assembled with framing nails, which remains the most efficient method for installation, but can lead to some maintenance headaches down the road. Over time, the nails will start to work themselves out of the wood board, which greatly compromises holding strength - and can even make the deck dangerous to walk across if nails begin to protrude from the surface. For decking boards, we recommend using a deck screw or Scrail. Both the screw and Scrail offer improved holding strength thanks to a threaded shank, which keeps the fastener locked into place - and can be reversed, allowing for easy removal if a board needs to be replaced.
What coating, color or material should I choose for my decking fasteners?
Deck boards come in a variety of materials, colors and sizes. Choosing the right type of fastener is only part of the process, you'll also need to figure out the size and variation of whichever fastener you choose. Collated deck screws are available in several different colors, coatings and materials. If you're installing composite deck boards, we recommend color matching your composite deck screws or BeckDeck Scrails. In some damp or coastal regions, or for decks that are exposed to weather regularly, you may opt for a stainless steel deck screw or Scrail to prevent rusting and corrosion over time. Most standard wood deck screws by Senco or Quik Drive will come with a basic weather guard coating as-is, if you don't opt for something higher end.
Should I use hidden deck fasteners?
A growing trend in designer decking, hidden deck fasteners and hidden deck screws are rapidly increasing in popularity. Hidden deck fasteners are more luxury than necessity, but for high end decks, they may prove worth the extra investment. The beauty to using hidden deck fasteners, you have a clean deck surface with no blemishes or gaps. There are currently a few options available, if you're looking toward a hidden deck fastening solution. For example, Senco offers the Mantis System, which combines elements of a deck screw with the collation of a nail. Senco Mantis Hidden Deck Fasteners are held in place with a clip, which allows the fastener to be driven into the base of a deck board at an angle. CAMO also offers a hidden deck screw system, which eliminates the need for clips, but also installs the deck fastener at a similar angle. Using a hidden fastening system creates even spacing between boards, and leaves the deck surface unblemished. However, a blemish-free deck surface does come at a cost, as hidden fastening systems typically command a higher price and require longer installation time.
How many fasteners do I need for my decking project?
Different fastening systems may require different quantities of fastener to complete your deck. On average, we've found you can complete around 100 square feet of decking with approximately 450 deck screws, using two screws per joist. The true number of deck screws required ultimately depends on the width of your deck facing, and the spacing between your joists. A 3-1/2" face with 12" on center joists will run closer to 700 deck screws for 100 square feet; whereas a 5-1/2" face with 24" on center joists will only require about 225 deck screws per 100 square feet. Knowing your joist spacing and facing width will help narrow the project estimate window tremendously.
Ready to get to work? Feel free to nail a message to our board if you have a question or comment about deck fastening or decking tools.
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot