There are several ways to lay your composite decking boards on the deck frame. Traditional methods involve drilling screws into the boards through the joists. However, there are newer and easier fastening systems used in decking today. One way is by using hidden fastening systems. Why should you consider using them? And how do you install composite decking with hidden fasteners?

Advantages of Hidden Fasteners

There are several hidden fasteners that you can choose from for composite deck boards. Some fastening systems are compatible with most decking boards, while some are specifically designed for a particular brand or type of composite deck boards. But what is the advantage of using hidden fasteners instead of the traditional fastening methods?

The main advantage of hidden fasteners is the clean and smooth finish it gives for decks. Most composite decking boards feature grains and textures. Using screws and nails on them can ruin the aesthetics and become unsightly. 

Another advantage of hidden fasteners is safety. Over time, composite decking will shift due to thermal fluctuations. Constant contraction and expansion can cause the screws and hammers in the boards’ surface to pop out. Not only is this detrimental to the decks’ structural integrity, but it also can endanger people by causing trips and slips. 

How to Install Boards With Hidden Fasteners

install decking with hidden fastener

There are several varieties of hidden fastening systems for composite decking boards. If you want to know how to install them, the best thing is to follow the instructions supplied by their manufacturers. Today, the most commonly used hidden fastening systems use clips. How do you use them?

While hidden fasteners vary, clip systems all have something in common. To install composite decking using clips, you will need to attach the first board to the frame. It’s the most crucial step in laying the decking boards, as a small deviation can affect the rest of the deck. 

First, attach the first board using starter clips. For standard decks, you can either start at the side of the house or the rim joist. Make sure that it’s tight and snug.

The next step is to install the rest of the decking boards. Line up the deck boards depending on your preferred layout. Then, insert the clip on the boards’ grooves at every point the floorboards and the joist intersect. You will need to put some pressure on the following composite boards to make sure it fits perfectly with the previous ones. Lock them in place using the appropriate screws. For the last decking board, you will need to use a stop clip.

Hide Screw with Plugs

If you are not using grooved boards, you won’t be able to use clip fastening systems. You can create grooves on the boards by yourself, but that can take time and effort. Fortunately, you can still have a smooth and elegant deck by using plugs. 

Many fastening systems use a special drill bit and countersink screws to drill deep into the boards. The screws will leave a hole which you will cover using plugs cut from the same material and colour as your decking boards. Lastly, you will need to make sure that it fits perfectly. You can use glue to hold the plug in place. While you can buy sets of hidden screws, you can also go with the DIY route. 

Using hidden fasteners, whether it’s clips or hidden screws, can make composite deck installation easier. To find out more about a particular product, make sure to contact their respective manufacturers.