You can have the very best deck plan, with modern features, approved by all the building inspectors, set securely on proper footings, and made of the best materials but it will not be of any value if it isn’t held together tightly and securely with reliable deck fasteners. Here are 5 mistakes that you might be making when choosing fasteners for your deck builds:
- Using surface-applied fasteners: While this technique is somewhat easy to install it requires you to countersink the screw or nail heads and fill them to make the deck surface smooth. The problem is these type of fasteners tend to move upward after and can rust when exposed to the elements. This can be avoided with monitoring and applying fillers and protective finishes, but you certainly don’t want to be riddled with callbacks to fix these issues.
- Using below-surface fasteners: If you have experienced callbacks and complaints about using surface-applied fasteners, you may have switched over to a below-surface application. And while these fasteners don’t move upward and rust from exposure, they tend to shift and your customers may complain about creaking, causing you to come back and make adjustments from beneath the deck surface.
- Skimping on the fasteners: If you are installing deck boards diagonally, you will probably need additional joists and deck fasteners. Wood and plastic composite decking material in particular may need additional support when using “decorative” installation, and on stair treads. Each type of composite material will list its individual span limits, and you must be aware of these specifications before you begin planning your deck. Typically, decking floor joists are installed at 16” on center. With composite materials, that may need to be reduced. Stair treads are required to hold a load of 300 lbs. over a four-inch-square area. With some composite materials, more support may be necessary to meet this requirement.
- Shaky Handrails and Guard Posts: Always use a high-quality deck fastener to connect guardrail posts to the deck framing; never use wood screws alone. Most building codes require a guardrail be able to resist a focused load of at least 200 pounds from any direction. A post connected only by screws to the top deck boards is not sufficient to handle this type of load. By connecting directly to the deck frame or joists and using the proper deck fasteners, this requirement can be met.
- Using plain colored fasteners: Knowing that today’s decks are all about outdoor luxury living and entertaining, a growing trend in the fastener industry is offering fasteners in multiple color options. Just as you have the choice of what type of wood to choose for your wooden decks, you now have the option to match the color of the fastener with your wood or paint selection. Contractors and “do-it-yourselfers” are finding that the key is selecting a colorful fastener that's also easy and faster to install, while at the same time delivering the holding strength necessary.
For more than 100 years, the BECK Fastener Group® has been manufacturing and distributing innovative and versatile construction fasteners, including the family of SCRAIL® Fasteners. These versatile fasteners come in many varieties that are excellent choices for decking projects, such as the double-threaded BeckDeck® variety and the InvisiDeck® Hidden SCRAIL® Deck Fastening System.
BeckDeck ® SCRAIL® fasteners:
Feature a double-thread design that dramatically reduces the unsightly mound of material around the fastener head created when the fastener is driven into composite material referred to as "mushrooming" or "volcanoeing." BeckDeck® Fasteners automatically pull down this displaced composite material, driving the SCRAIL® Fastener heads in flush with deck surfaces the first time.
Versatile SCRAIL® BeckDeck® Fasteners:
Can also be removed easily for quick and simple adjustments. This adjustability helps you create a perfect fit, allowing you to precisely fit deck components such as railing systems and trim pieces together that can then be disassembled for painting.
The InvisiDeck®Hidden Deck Fastening System:
Offers flawlessly smooth deck board surfaces which save time and labor costs. They are designed for use with wood, PVC or composite materials. When properly installed, this system surpasses the hold-down force necessary to withstand Category 5 winds. These nail and screw combination fasteners known as SCRAIL® Fasteners, can easily be adjusted or removed, if necessary. The InvisiDeck® Hidden Deck Fastening System was named “Best Products Winner” for 2010 by Builder News Magazine.
Invisideck® utilizes the I-CLP Clips for installation. I-CLP Clips are made of heavy gauge stainless steel and are designed for use with one-inch or thicker pre-grooved decking material. They may also be used on non-grooved boards that have been modified with the InvisiDeck® Groove Cutter. By utilizing the InvisiDeck® Tool, it is possible to install I-CLP Clips at increased speeds of three to five times over conventional installation.
So now that you know what NOT to do when choosing deck fasteners, you are armed and ready for your next deck installation, which will not only be a beautiful addition to your customer’s home, it will be one that offers a safe, secure and smooth space for their outdoor living for years to come.
For More information, download the whitepaper: How to Make your Deck Surface Look Flawless.