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February 8, 2023
Building a Deck

While building a deck, it is essential to use the appropriate fixings when you are attaching the planks to the bearers of your deck if you want your deck to have a long and trouble-free life. This option can be affected not only by the existing weather conditions, but also by the proximity to maritime areas and the type of wood that is actually used. It is important not to make too many sacrifices on the deck’s fixings because your deck will be around for a long time. The additional expense of purchasing materials of higher quality will be rewarded many times over with a longer service life and a better looking deck. 

For example, standard galvanized fasteners only have one protective coating, which means that it is possible for it to peel off and rust. Fasteners that have been double-dipped galvanized offer a higher level of protection, but coated deck fasteners will provide the longest service life. Although expensive, stainless steel is often considered to be one of the best materials for deck fasteners. We will go through all of the many alternatives for deck fasteners while building a deck, as well as discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each material.

Nails and Screws

The size of a nail is based on how long it is. This is called the “penny” or “d” size. As the size of the penny goes up, the gauge, or diameter, also goes up. A 16d nail is both longer and fatter than an 8d nail.

  • The heads and shanks of common nails, which are used for general framing, are big and thick. They hold well, but they are hard to drive and may split the wood.
  • Box nails, which are thinner than regular nails of the same size, make it less likely that wood thinner than 3/4 inches will split.
  • Ring shank and spiral nails grab the fibers of the wood and don’t let go easily. They are very hard to get rid of.
  • Finishing nails have thin shafts and small heads in the shape of a barrel. You can do trim work with them and countersink the heads.
  • Casing nails are heavier than finishing nails and hold things together better.

There are many different kinds of screws. Decking screws are pointed, tapered, self-drilling, and coated to prevent corrosion. You can drive them about as fast as nails with a cordless drill/driver. Make sure your screwdriver bit fits the head of the screw (or vice versa). Most decking screws are made with either a Phillips head, a square head, or a combination of the two. Square heads screw in better.

How to Choose Between Nails and Screws for Deck Fasteners

Screws are almost as easy to drive as nails, but they hold better. As long as you don’t strip the head when you drive them in, screws are easier to take out than nails. But many people don’t like the way screw heads look because a small amount of water will pool inside them. Unless you drive the nail too deep, water won’t pool on a nail head. For a builder with a lot of experience, driving nails is faster than driving screws.

But if you miss a nail head or drive the nail too far with the hammer, you will damage the wood. And it’s hard to take out a board that’s been nailed without breaking it.

Framing Hardware

Connectors used in framing help to reinforce the joints that are created between framing members. In more recent times, framing members were linked together using nails or screws; however, the majority of modern building codes now prohibit the use of framing hardware.

Make use of joist hangers in order to secure joists to the face of a ledger or beam. To attach the joist hanger to the corner. You can either use tin snips to cut the hanger in half or an angle bracket. Hangers for angled joists may accommodate joists that are attached at an angle of 45 degrees.

A post cap creates a strong junction in any location where a beam is supported by a post in its uppermost portion. If the joists are going to sit on top of the beam. Then most local building codes will allow you to simply use angle-drive screws to secure them to the beam. Other municipal building departments may demand special links that improve lateral strength and are designed to withstand earthquakes or hurricanes.

A post anchor is used to fasten a post to a concrete pier. To provide stability for the post so that the base can air out between rainstorms. Obtain the style that allows for adjustments so that you can fine-tune the posts and maintain their alignment with one another.

Heavy-Duty Screws and Bolts

Either a lag screw or a carriage bolt can be used to secure a large piece, like a post. Bolts are stronger, and if the wood shrinks in the future, they can be tightened. Use washers under the head of a lag screw or the nut on a carriage bolt so that the fastener doesn’t sink into the wood.

Use lag screws and masonry anchors to connect a ledger to brick, block, or concrete. Masonry screws, which aren’t as strong but are easier to drive and don’t need anchors, can be used to temporarily hold a ledger in place.

Other Types of Deck Fasteners

With invisible deck fastening systems, you don’t have to use any nails or screws that you can see. There are many kinds of fasteners that don’t show. They cost more and take more time to put in, but the deck surface is clean and free of clutter when they are done. They are great for modern decks or decks with complicated patterns because they don’t take away from the pattern of the decking. You can work on deck clips from the top of the deck, which makes them the easiest to put in. Continuous fasteners need screws to be driven in from the bottom, so they work better on raised decks.

How to Choose the Right Size Fastener

  • Use the following guidelines to properly size your deck fasteners:
  • Decking: Use 2 1/2-inch coated screws or 12d ring shank or spiral nails to fasten 5/4 decking.
  • Attach 1x trim, rails, and cap rails with galvanized 10d, 8d, and 6d finishing or casing nails.

Framing: For 2x stock, use 10d or 16d common, spiral, or ring shank nails (or decking screws); for thinner stock, use 8d or 10d box or ring shank nails (or shorter deck screws). Attach framing hardware using manufacturer-supplied fasteners, 16d nails, or three-inch deck screws. Before building a deck, check with your construction inspector; many codes prohibit screw attachment of framing connectors.

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