Building or refurbishing a deck takes a lot of decision making. You have to choose which type of decking to use, either wood, PVC, or composite decking materials. You’ll also decide the colour, grain, and texture of the boards. You may also opt for decking accessories, like balustrades, deck rails, and pergolas. And another significant decision to make is whether you’ll use hidden fasteners or stick with the traditional “nails and screws”.
If you decide to use hidden fasteners, there are some things that you might have asked yourself. Why choose it instead of the traditional way? And how do you use them to install your boards?
Why Choose Hidden Fasteners?
For many years, people have used nails and screws to build their patio. While many people use these, there are some disadvantages in using them for your patio. For instance, using nails can be a safety hazard. When wood repeatedly expands and contracts due to moisture, the boards will push the nails up. It’s the reason why you’ll notice some exposed nails on some older decks. As for screws, they are generally safer than nails. However, without the proper coating, screws can rust and damage the boards from the inside.
Aside from the reasons above, why should you choose hidden fasteners instead? First, they are quite easy to use. When using the traditional way, you often need to pre-drill your material. But with the new fastening systems, you don’t need to bother with those. Another good reason to use them is that you can easily remove the boards when you need to replace them.
Perhaps the most notable reason why you want to use invisible fasteners is the aesthetic. Everyone loves a smooth deck, without visible nails and screws.
Things to Consider When Using Hidden Fasteners
There are so many hidden fasteners available in the market. As such, there are some of the things that you should consider first before using them. Here are some of them.
- Grooved or Solid Decking Materials – First, you will need to determine what type of decking you’ll be using. We can classify decking boards into two, grooved and ungrooved. Grooved decking boards have spaces on the sides, which makes it easy to use hidden decking clips. As for solid decking boards, they are ungrooved and have very limited options when it comes to hidden fastening systems.
- Brand of Fastening System – There are many types of fastening systems in the market. Some of the things that you might consider are the brand and the clip material. Some brands offer matching decking clips with their composite decking materials.
How Do You Use Hidden Fasteners?
Now that you have successfully chosen a hidden fastening system for your composite decking. The question is, how do you use it? Here are some pointers that can help you.
- Always look at the instructions – When using a hidden fastening system, the first and the most important thing to do is read the instructions. There may be directions specific to the clipping system that you’ll be using.
- Secure the first board with a Start Clip – When using a universal fastening system, the first thing you’ll need to do is attach the first board using a start clip. This will secure the board to the frame and the house.
- Install the clips one by one – After attaching the start clip, you want to insert the other clips on the grooves on the board. Using the clips, attach the boards to the joist using the supplied screw. Do this on every joist and board intersection.
- Attach the stop clip – Finally, you want to use a stop clip to place the last piece of the decking securely. You will also need to attach the fascia with the same clipping system.
Hidden Fastening for Ungrooved decks – How about for solid decking boards? One option is to use the usual method using screws. After screwing it down, you’ll want to cut a material that can plug the screw hole. Use a moisture-resistant glue to completely cover it.