Understanding the Fasteners Commonly Used in Deck Construction


Building a deck can be a complicated procedure. The framing needs to be sturdy, the posts need to be set well below the frost line (if applicable) and the railing and stairs are more than simply window dressing. Deck construction is about fitting all of the components together to form an exterior room that is just as comfortable as your family room. And there are some key components that may be rather small in size, but are awfully large in importance.

Deck fasteners come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not all will be needed on every deck. It depends largely on the layout and the conditions of your yard. There are certain types of fasteners, however, that will be needed regardless.

Framing Fasteners

The beams of your deck need to be fastened securely to the posts. Posts can be sunk into the ground much like you would when building a fence, but they can also be mounted on top of concrete piers using post saddles. These metal brackets are attached to the surface of the concrete with sleeve anchors for the optimum strength.

Often, a ledger board is attached to your house to act as a support along the one side. Many contractors use sleeve anchors for this as well, but others opt for 10" to 12" lag bolts. You need to investigate what type of fasteners are specified in the building code for your area.

Along the ledger board you will also see brackets hung vertically to hold the end of the joists, keeping them straight and secure. These essential pieces of deck hardware are called joist hangers and are most often treated with a hot dipped galvanized process for corrosion resistance. They are nailed into the ledger board and the dimensional lumber used for joists is then nailed into the bracket.

Deck Screws

The surface of your deck is finished in deck boards. There are two schools of thought when fastening decking down. You can go with a hidden fastener system, which is basically a channel nailed into the joists that allows you to fasten the deck board from the bottom. It is only recommended for professional installations and will cost more due to extra materials and extended labor times. The benefit is that there will be no sign of a screw or nail on the top surface of the deck.

Otherwise, deck boards can be easily screws or nailed through the top. Many times deck screws are preferred since they allow the deck board to be replaced easily. Be sure to purchase deck screws that are formulated for use with your decking - especially if you are using composite deck boards. You can also choose colored deck screws to match the finished tone of your deck.

Other deck fasteners include angled stair brackets used with tempered glass and aluminum picket railing. These help to keep the angled railing flush with the stair stringer as it travels down the stairs and are essential for a professional finish.

Whether you are building a deck yourself or hiring a contractor to handle the job for you, understanding the various uses and applications of deck fasteners is important. Always be sure you have chosen top quality, durable materials for those fasteners and are using them in the manner they were designed for. This will ensure your beautiful backyard deck provides years of relaxation and comfort.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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