1x6 Ipe decking grooved for hidden fasteners: Your thoughts?


Old 05-27-13, 08:35 PM
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1x6 Ipe decking grooved for hidden fasteners: Your thoughts?

I have a deck framed up and ready for decking. I am sold on Ipe and have bounced back and forth on the deck board size I want to use. 6" (5.5 actual) wide boards lay out real nice on my design (rather than 4x's) and I would like to use 1x (3/4 actual) rather than 5/4 for cost saving reasons. I did some stair treads using the top screw and plug method and realize that's more labor than I want to do on the decking, so I'd like to use hidden fasteners (Eb-Ty suggested by supplier) that attach inside pregrooved edges. The supplier says they don't groove the 1x as much as the 5/4 almost suggesting there might be possible problems, then pretty much in the same breath says lots of people are having it done lately and they aren't seeing any problems. One of the supplier reps stated that in the middle of a dry summer you might see the board gaps grow a little but then will close back up. Another person I spoke to thought the boards might be prone to cupping problems. Anybody used 1x6 Ipe with hidden fasteners? I would like to hear your experience. I'm in Olympia, WA. Summers are short and not very hot and there's plenty of rain
Thanks, Mike.
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Old 05-27-13, 09:38 PM
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New York State uses Ipe on the Jones Beach boardwalk. It is one of the strongest decking available. In NY, they use the 4" wide boards. Holes have to be pre-drilled due to the hardness of the boards. Hidden fasteners are never used. I never noticed any contraction & expansion. I don't think that you have to be concerned with that. Always inspect any decking for cupping before you install it. Put the cup down, drill the holes & screw it to the joists. I'll be surprised if anyone here has used Ipe.
Old 05-28-13, 04:19 AM
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Ironwood, or IPE is very strong, but your joisting will need to be 12" oc rather than 16" oc if you plan on using 3/4" wood. I would not recommend it anyway, over the 5/4. The IPE I have installed was T&G on the long edge only, and we used a standard flooring nailer with "L" cleats to install it. Predrill and stainless steel screws would be the way to go on square edged boards.
Old 05-28-13, 05:35 AM
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I have only used the 5/4 x 6 square edge Ipe, and it seemed to like to cup a little, especially once it got hit with rain. I'd spring for the 1" thick material rather than 3/4", especially if you intend to use a blind fastener. 3/4" planks would surely tend to cup even more. But 4" wide planks Pulpo mentioned would tend to cup less, which is probably why they use them. We usually use the Kreg deck jig, with stainless steel fasteners concealed on the sides of the deck planks.

Deckmaster makes a hidden fastener system as well, that screws onto the joists, then you actually get under the deck and screw the planks from underneath. We use that on steps and around edges/ in corners where you don't have enough room to use the Kreg deck jig.

We use the plugs only where we "have" to. Stairs with treads and risers that aren't accessible from the interior, or maybe where the decking has a tail that's been notched around a handrail post. They are somewhat labor intensive, and hard to get the grain perfectly lined up with the grain in the planks.
Old 05-29-13, 12:32 PM
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Hello Vettespeed,

I am glad to hear you are doing your homework on your decking material decision. Making the right decisions can improve your long term happiness with your new deck. Ipe may be an incredibly strong, high density hardwood decking material but it is not completely immune to nature. Sun and moisture are the two most powerful enemies of exterior wood and you have plenty of both in the Pacific Northwest.

We suggest 5/4 Ipe to our clients who want to use hidden fasteners with their Ipe decking. We won't even mill any material for pre-grooved out of 3/4" material because it has a tendency to cup after installation. If you want to save money and still use Ipe decking, a face screw is the strongest fastening bond. If you're sold on the clean look of a hidden fastener, you should definitely consider using the thicker 5/4" material.

Here is a blog article on the subject that you may find helpful: deck fasteners | Blog

Best of success (short term and long term) with your deck project!

Chris N.
Old 05-29-13, 07:46 PM
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Tips for top fastening with plugs?

Well, after saying I wasn't going to do top down fasteners, now I'm leaning toward that method with 1x6's, especially considering this method results in a stronger deck, particularly laterally, as my deck is pretty far off the ground, as much as 9' or so at the highest point. I used the ProPlug system on my stair treads and it was a lot of labor so maybe you guys have some speed tips? When doing decking and trying to be efficient I guess you would drill the holes with the boards in place? To do this I will have to shorten the drill bit of the Proplug so it does not drill too far into the joist??? As the ProPlug tool comes it would drill into the joist 3/4" which I think would weaken the connection. Any ideas or tips would be much appreciated. Also, how many screws per joist, 2 or 3?
Thanks again, Mike.
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