Can You Screw Down Composite Decking

screw down decking

Screwing Down Composite Decking

There are many reasons why people chose composite materials for their decking construction projects. One of its advantages is the ease of installation. Unlike wood, there are many options on how to install composite decking. It’s a matter of choosing which one you prefer.

With so many options on how to install composites, some people find it hard to choose one. For others, they like to stick with the classic, and that is using screws. But the question is, can you use screws to install composite decking materials

Using Screws for Composite Decking Installation

For many years now, builders have used screws to attach decking materials to the subframe or joists. With the advancement of technology, many innovations have been developed to replace this method. While outdated, many people still use it. 

So, can you still use screws to install composite decking? The answer is yes for a solid composite decking (must be pre-drilled). You should also check with the manufacturer on how they recommend fixing their composite boards to the subframe or joists underneath your decking area to ensure any warranty is not invalidated.  You can not drill or screw through a hollow composite decking board as the screws will become loose and rise over time.

Like the usual wooden decking boards, you can also screw down a solid composite decking board. First, it’s the traditional method of setting down decking materials. It’s simple, easy, and straightforward. Second, it’s the cheapest way to install your decking boards. It’s also the preferred method to the other traditional methods of installation, which is using nails.

But before you use screws to put your deck together, there are some things that you might consider first. Here are the following.

How to Best Secure Composite Decking

  1. There are different types of screws. Depending on what you use, there will be a significant difference in performance. For instance, the traditional wooden screws work well with wooden decking. However, they might not be suitable for composite decking. Instead, you can use composite screws, which are the same make as the boards themselves. 
  2. A hollow composite decking must not be screwed through from the top of the boards due to the screws not being securely fixed through the board. Use the manufacturer’s approved hidden fasteners to securely fix composite decking boards to the subframe or joists underneath.
  3. Screws tend to be thicker because of the threads. It makes screws stronger when it comes to holding down the decking boards and the joists. However, this thickness has its downsides. While composites are not prone to splitting, it does not mean they’re invincible. Placing the screws improperly can damage the boards and leave a lasting impression. 
  4. Not visually appealing to some. While not all people mind it, some people don’t want the looks of screws on their decks. Instead, they want a seamless and smooth design. 
  5. While not as prone as nails, screws can loosen up due to the expansion and contraction of the decking materials. It rarely happens on composite decking. If it does, however, it can pose a safety risk to the people using the deck.
  6. Most composite decking materials are known to be dense and durable. Because of this, using screws to install them can be quite difficult. You might need to pre-drill the materials before you can screw them down. Doing this adds budget and time to a deck construction project. 

installing composite decking

Hidden Fastening Systems

Using screws to install your decking, whether composite, PVC, or wood, is a trusted and reliable method. However, there are some new ways to install your composite decking without using only screws. One of them is using a hidden fastening system. 

There are two types of composites, solid and grooved composite decking materials. Grooved composites have a thin slot cut on their edges. These spaces make it possible to use hidden fastening systems. The hidden fastening system is a clip that fits into the grooves, which is then screwed to joists. People who use these can have the benefit of not having any visible screws on their decks. They can also be easily removed without damaging the decking boards. 

There are many types of hidden fastening systems. Some manufacturers have clips that are specifically designed for their products. The approved manufacturer’s hidden fastener system for securing the composite decking boards to the subframe is the recommended method. Other types of hidden fasteners can be used regardless of what brand your composite decking is. Please check with the manufacturer to make sure any warranty is not invalidated by using third-party fasteners.  

Hidden Screws for Your Patio

Using a hidden fastening system is the easiest way not to have screw heads visible on your decking area. There are other ways you can do it. One notable approach is manually hiding the screw heads. To do this, you will need to cut the same material into plugs and cover the screw holes with it. You will need to seal the hole with reliable glue. Doing this is an excellent way to stick with the traditional method of installation while having a flawless and smooth deck at the same time.  If you’re planning not to use the manufacturer’s approved hidden fastener system to secure the decking boards to the subframe. Again as stated previously, you should check with the manufacturer that this does invalidate any warranty provided with the composite decking boards. 


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