Patio Decks: Screws vs Nails

Old 09-16-08, 05:08 PM
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Patio Decks: Screws vs Nails

The top deck boards will be secured to the deck using screws. The contractor stated that he will be using nails for the substructure because that is code. I called the city and they stated it was not code and screws can be used. Wouldn't screws be better all around? Thanks.
Old 09-16-08, 05:48 PM
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I like screws because they will not work loose like a nail can.
However, if you use an air nailer it can cut a lot of time off a job and time is money.
Old 09-16-08, 06:36 PM
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As well as what Greg said, consider that nails are normally cheaper and quicker to put in. They will normally hold just fine and are probably a little stronger in shear stress than a deck screw.

Screws are nice for deck boards as they receive the most flex and expansion/contraction due to weather exposure. They also allow easy replacement of boards if needed.

Lag bolts should be used in those areas requiring them.
Old 10-15-08, 02:11 PM
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I asked a similar question last year before I started my deck. I got a nail gun and used nails for everything ( except bolts to attach the beams to the posts.) Even the decking ( used 2 1/2 nails) - The nail gun made everything go a lot faster!

guess I'll find out next spring how that works out - nothing a hammer cant fix
Old 10-16-08, 06:52 AM
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On my deck, which I'll be done with this week (Yea!) :-) I only used nails for the joist hangers, L brackets and post to footing connectors... the nails are galvanized and sized for metal connectors (kinda short and fat). Used lag bolts for the ledgers and railing post-to-joist connection.... everywhere else I used screws... for decking, railings, etc I used Scorpion screws... #8 2 1/2" and #10 4" . I'll post some pics later this week... I think it came out really good...

One thought on nails... there's the type that screws into the wood... ring shank I think they're called... my brother used those with a nail gun on his deck, and you can't pull them out... if your contractor is going cheap and fast, you may want to ensure he uses ring shank nails. I would never use regular nails on the decking... had a deck with those on it once... and once was enough in my lifetime. They popped up and sucked in winter when shoveling... they got loose over time and wouldn't stay down...

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