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There are a variety of choices available when it comes to decking material and other Fasteners such as Hex Bolts, Hex Head Cap Screws and Nuts and Bolts. Will you build a traditional pressure treated wood deck or opt for the stunning, yet high maintenance look of cedar? Vinyl decking provides a low care and durable deck surface while composite products have the warmth of wood with the strength and longevity of vinyl. But can you use the same deck fasteners for all of these different decking materials?

Not really.

Standard Nails Vs Deck Screws

For wood decks (pressure treated and cedar) it depends on whether or not you choose to screw or nail the decking down. Most of the framing will be built using 3 1/4″ hot dipped galvanized nails, with joist hangers and lag bolts taking their place as well. For the deck boards and railing, either ceramic coated or stainless steel deck screws can be used.

Composite Deck Fasteners

When composite and vinyl decking is used you will also need to invest in specialty deck screws. These products are designed to produce a smooth, problem-free surface that eliminates mushrooming (that build up of shavings that occurs when standard shaped screws are used with the softer composite and vinyl products) and splitting.

If a fastener line is marketed for use with composite decks it will also be available in different colors. The head of these screws are coated to match the most popular tones of composite – including grey, sand, red and dark brown. Buy enough of your preferred color to complete the entire deck, as each lot of screws may be a slightly different shade.

Mismatched Materials

You need to be aware that certain materials are not to be used together – such as ACQ lumber and deck fasteners not approved for use with this treatment. The chemicals in ACQ treated lumber will eat away at many common fasteners, causing structural damage and presenting a serious danger to all who use the deck. Be sure to ask your supplier about any limitations and follow all of the directions carefully, resulting in a safe and secure structure for your family to enjoy.

Almost any design will require similar deck fasteners for the framing. The deck boards and railing is where you may need to invest in a specialty product and make sure the screws or nails you have chosen are suitable for the project. Ask the pros and don’t hesitate to spend the money on high quality deck fasteners to be sure your outdoor living space is built to last.

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