There are several ways to install a composite decking board. Many people use nails and screws for wood decks. But besides the traditional fasteners, many are using various methods today. For instance, vinyl and composite decking are becoming very popular these days. Since most composite boards have grooves, you will need to use hidden fasteners on them, composed of clips inserted into the grooves. Installing hidden fasteners is quick and effortless. Removing them, however, can be tricky and challenging. If you’re not careful, you can end up leaving permanent damage to the deck frame. If you wish to use the removed decking boards, you will also want to minimize damage. So, how do you remove deck boards with hidden fasteners? 

Remove the Boards By Cutting

One of the quickest ways to remove decking boards attached with hidden fasteners is by cutting them. While you will be sawing the boards into pieces, you may still be able to use the cut boards on other DIY projects. Here are the steps to do it, along with how to replace it with new decking boards. 

Step 1: The first step is to measure the decking boards’ width. Then, mark 1/3rd of the measurement from both ends of the decking boards, making two parallel lines. You can use a chalk line to make a straight line through the entire boards’ length. 

Step 2: For the next step, you will need to know the decking boards’ thickness for reference. Then, start cutting along the parallel lines in your decking board using a circular saw. The reason you want to know how thick the boards are is to avoid cutting through the joists. You’ll want to make sure you’re only sawing the decking boards and not the decking frame. 

Step 3: After making the parallel cut, take out the centerpiece using a prying tool. Next, remove one end of the board that’s attached without the hidden fastener. As for the side with the fastening clip, you will need to unscrew it first if you can reach it. If not, gently pry and pull it upwards until you can access the screw, or it pops out. In case when the screw breaks, it’s best to drive it flush into the wood with a hammer. 

Step 4: This and the following steps involve replacing the removed decking boards. First, you will want to secure the neighbouring board not supported by a clip. Then, you will need to drill composite decking screws at a 45-degree angle, driving them through the board and the joist. 

Step 5: Next, insert the new decking boards into the adjacent hidden clip. You can use a crowbar to push the decking boards into the fasteners, making the decking boards fit tightly. If possible, use a decking board with only one groove.

Step 6: After inserting the boards, make sure to position them perfectly, minding the decking board gaps. Lastly, drive decking screws into the surface. If you are using decking boards with grooves on both sides, you’ll want to make sure to not drill through the side grooves. Doing so will crack and damage the decking boards. And that’s it. 

remove deck boards with hidden fasteners

Removing the Decking Boards Without Cutting

There may be times that you will want to remove the decking boards without damaging them. While it is possible, it is more time-consuming than the previous method. In a few cases, it may not be entirely possible. Regardless, here are the steps if you want to try. 

Step 1: For this method, you will need to unscrew all the hidden fastener clips on both sides of the decking board you want to remove. You can find several guides on how to do this. However, it may be more challenging if the screws are damaged.

Step 2: You will also need to remove the first few fasteners of two or three adjacent decking boards. By doing so, you can slightly push the decks away from the board you will extract, giving you more space to work around. 

Step 3: Once the decking board is loose, gently and slightly pry it at one end without removing the entire board. Use a crowbar or a thin piece of material to lift the board a little and set it in place. 

Step 4: Then, slide all the hidden fasteners out of the decking boards. Once removed, take out the decking board. To replace them, you will need to do the same thing in reverse. Place the new decking board slightly lifted using a crowbar. Then, slide the decking clips into position. Lastly, secure them with composite decking screws.