Differences Between Deck Fasteners

Although the only deck fasteners you know about may be nails or screws, there are actually a large number of different types available. Each fastener type has it’s own advantages, and may work for your project.

Why Use Deck Fasteners?

The primary reason a contractor or homeowner uses deck fasteners is to avoid putting screw holes into wood decks.

Those who use composite decking or standard wood decking such as cedar, pine or redwood, often choose screws to fasten the decks. Composite material doesn’t warp or mold, and water penetration is not a concern for most composites or standard deck woods.

However, many contractors who use exotic hardwoods prefer to use deck fasteners for those decks.

For example, Ipe is a type of mahogany from Brazil. It is a popular material for luxury decks, and typically costs $2.50 per linear foot to install. It is a very durable wood, and will withstand weathering and cold temperatures for many years. However, if someone puts screw holes into the wood, they allow water to seep into the wood, freeze, and split the wood.

Other luxury hardwoods that often take a deck fastener are tigerwood and jatoba.

Others use the deck fasteners because they look better aesthetically, and they allow for the movement of wood as the seasons change, limiting the number of split boards.

Clip Hidden Deck Fasteners

One type of deck fastener is the hidden deck fastener. This type of fastener comes in several different styles.

Hidden clip fasteners are metal clips with a screw hole in the center and two metal “wings” that extend out on either side. The decking boards either come pre-grooved with a channel cut along the side, or the person building the deck cuts the channel with a biscuit jointer.

The wings of the clip fit into the grooves, then the screw is tightened through the middle, pulling the boards tight and holding them into place. There are several different brands of the clip style deck fasteners.

Some are made specifically for the Ipe wood, which is a standard in luxury decking and is the subject of strong demand among luxury homeowners.

Under Deck Hidden Deck Fasteners

These deck fasteners attach to either side of each cross board, holding the decking in place by securing the cross joists underneath the deck surface. This keeps the surface free from nail or screw holes while still attaching the decking firmly down.

Top Down Invisible Deck Fasteners

Other fasteners slide between the decking boards at an angle. They avoid putting any holes in the surface of the decking boards, and easily create uniform spacing between boards at 3/32 inch.

No-Groove Hidden Deck Fasteners

An additional style of hidden fastener is clear plastic that attaches to the cross joists. One is located between every other board on the deck.  A screw attaches the fastener to the cross joist, then another screw goes from the bottom into each of the two boards it holds keeping them securely in place.