The hottest topics in decking are hidden fastening systems, flexibility to address individual needs and ultra-low maintenance. In the face of a questionable economy, more homeowners are vacationing in their own backyards so their deck must be a strong source of pride. Whether the area serves as a barbecue area, sundeck or alternate living room, the deck must be a personalized space that’s easy to maintain. Decking manufacturers are making certain their products create an impressive environment and also protect it.
Hidden deck fasteners are tiny items but their impact on decking is huge. The homeowner can’t see them, but they keep the deck secure and safe. And with recycled and recyclable materials, decking companies are taking great pains to protect the planet as well as the customer.
“Many composite decking manufacturers are selling grooved deck boards and hidden fasteners,” says Jim Mailey, training manager, Northeast /Midwest/Mid-Atlantic Region for Simpson Strong-Tie. “Although hidden fasteners provide a nice and clean deck surface, you want to make sure they provide adequate lateral and uplift resistance.”
Simpson Strong-Tie’s EB-TY hidden deck fastener is a polypropylene biscuit fastener that fits into a slot the builder cuts into the edge of the deck board with a standard biscuit joiner. The EB-TY fasteners are inserted and fastened with a screw driven into the joist. Simpson Strong-Tie also offers DTT2Z deck tension ties to attach wood deck-railing posts to the deck framing. The post is actually tied back into the deck joists, rather than to the rim joist alone. These ties comply with new codes regarding guardrail post connections for decks. The DTT2Z also complies with the new standards for reinforcing the connection of the deck to the house. The product is load rated as a hold-down for light-duty shearwalls and braced-panel applications.
“We have been working with various deck builders and remodelers about how to increase business by focusing on deck safety,” says Mailey. “Like a house, or any other building, a deck must be designed to support the weight of people and objects placed on them, as well as lateral and uplift loads that can act on the deck as a result of wind or seismic activity. The code requires all structures [including decks] to be maintained in a safe condition.”
Tiger Claw’s hidden deck fastener installation gun is a semiautomatic tool designed to reduce installation time of the company’s groove fasteners. The fastener installation gun drives a UFO ballistic nail screw in like a nail and removes it like a screw. The gun promises perfect positioning of fastener and screw installation when the trigger is pulled. The installation gun can be used with Tiger Claw’s TC-G hidden deck fastener for pregrooved boards.
“Homeowners want beautiful decking they are proud of to entertain family and friends,” says Chris Beyer, vice president of marketing for Fiber Composites. “Decking with hidden fastener systems offers a nice, smooth look and feel of the indoors outside without screw heads showing on top of the deck boards.”
Fiberon offers the Deck Pilot hidden fastening system on its Sensibuilt decking, which is created with the company’s Lumenite technology for resistance to stain, scratch, fade and mold. The product is backed by a 10-year fade-resistant warranty. Sensibuilt features a class A fire rating for flame spread, is 100 percent recyclable and consists of recycled PVC. Available in mocha, driftwood, redwood and cedar colors, the decking no requires painting, staining or power washing.
Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies (AERT) offers the Juniper Collection on its MoistureShield decking line. This line of composite decking is composed of organic heartwood cedar fibers from either Juniper Mexicana or Texas cedar. AERT utilizes discarded cedar and blends it with recycled polyethylene plastic to make this composite decking product. Made with 90 percent pre- and post-consumer recycled content, the water-resistant Juniper collection is manufactured using AERT’s plastic encapsulation process that shields and protects the wood fiber from moisture and insect damage.