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Simple decks are an ideal DIY project, while the more complicated multi-layered designs are best left to the pros such as Contractors. No matter who builds them and how they are designed, all of these backyard features are put together with common deck fasteners such as Stainless Steel Deck Screws, Deck Nails and Composite Deck Screws to list a few options available.

Nails, screws, bolts and lags – decks run the gamut of different fasteners. Each area is held together with a certain type.

Footings and Framing

Depending on how the foundation of your deck is installed, there may be post saddles or pins used on the footings. In other situations a wooden post is bolted into a floating pier or post spike.

Bolts and lags are used in the framing. Often the ledger board is bolted into the house and the beams are lagged into those wooden posts. Different contractors use different deck fasteners depending on their personal preferences and the applicable building codes.

Deck Boards

Most often deck boards are attached using deck screws. This provides a better finish on the decking and with the right tools, is installed just as quickly as nails are.

Deck screws offer a better finish when they are epoxy or ceramic coated. This type of fastener allows for color matching and a smoother, better looking finish. If nails are used the surface will be marred by silver/grey marks and it will be much more difficult to remove damaged deck boards. These coatings also offer better corrosion resistance.

Railing and Stairs

Nails can be used in the stairs and on railing components, although this is still a common place for screws. Since deck boards are often used for the stairs, the same deck screws that were used on the deck surface are seen. Nails often fasten the stringers to the framing.

Railing pickets are screwed in, although much shorter screws are used. When tempered glass is used the framings may be nailed, but with aluminum pickets and component products, everything is fit together with screws.

All deck fasteners need to be corrosion resistant, whether that is through a plating or coating or due to the material itself. Stainless steel fasteners are ideal for outdoor projects like a deck and well worth the extra expense. For a dependable, long lasting finish choose deck fasteners with the highest levels of strength.

There is a wide variety of Fasteners needed for deck construction. From joist hangers to carriage bolts, lags, nails and screws, standard fasteners make up around 2 to 5 percent of the overall material cost on the average deck. If you choose to go with hassle free 18-8 stainless steel hardware that percentage will increase. It’s important to choose your deck screws wisely since this is the Fastener you will see every time you walk out onto the deck surface. For Deck Screws, Hex Bolts, Nuts and Bolts or other Fasteners try a Fastener Distributor.

Stats for the Typical Deck Screw

Most often a deck screw will be 2 1/2″ long and either a #7, #8 or #10 in size. Every so often you’ll find the need for a #12 screw. And thinner deck board will require 1 5/8” lengths.

Screws for use on decks, fences and other outdoor structures are most often driven with a square (or Robertson) head, a Phillips head or a Torx head. Each of these has advantages over the other with regards to commonly used tools, less wear or stripping and speed of installation.

Materials and Coatings for Decking Screws

The material you choose for your deck screws needs to be compatible with the material of your deck board. For instance, composite decking needs to be installed using composite deck screws – a good choice both for strength and looks. Wood decking, on the other hand, is best installed using stainless steel composite or hardware that has been tested for use with ACQ, the common chemical treatment for softwood lumber.

Composite deck screws can also be stainless steel, but are available in colors designed to compliment and match the colored deck boards, trim and railing components. Ceramic coated screws can be used with both pressure treated lumber and composite decking. A more widely seen option is epoxy coated deck screws. These are available in a wide variety of colors and the resin coating will not chip off as easily during installation (as can be the case with ceramic).

When building with ACQ treated lumber, always be sure that the fastener material is compatible with that chemical concoction. Check with the fastener manufacturer or read through the MSDS for ACQ or the screws themselves to find out which materials to avoid and which are safe.

Unless you opt for an invisible fastener system, the surface of your deck will be dotted with screws. Be sure to take the time and choose the best possible deck screws for your application. The final product will be worth it.

We’ve covered the benefits of buying from a national or local Fastener Distributor not only as a Contractor but for everyone else, as opposed to an overseas company especially when purchasing Nuts and Bolts, Hex Bolts and Hex Head Cap Screws. The lower levels of service and slower delivery speeds may negate lower prices across the Atlantic or Pacific. But what about the difference between a brick and mortar local distributor and an online company? Is there an obvious advantage for your firm? And what can you gain from a firm ready with both options?

There Are Differences

It may depend on your style of research, but many brick and mortar fastener distributors are sorely lacking in the information available on their websites. When you want facts and figures fast, a brick and mortar shop may be just a phone call away. But what about after hours or before they open? How can you get the data you need right away when the rep is unreachable and their site is unhelpful?

This is where online fastener distributors can shine. With product information and even ordering services on their websites these firms can offer quick, one stop shopping for the busy purchasing managers and contractors out there.

Face to Face For a Change

Yes, there is something to be said for a fastener rep who will visit your office, sell you on the virtues of each line and offer suggestions and solutions to upcoming price increases or supply problems. These relationships are extremely valuable for contractors and management staff alike, but the frequency of those visits can be detrimental when those people need information quick.

This is where the value of a fastener distribution company that does both shines. If they have a rep who can offer that personal service, as well as a website that’s both up to date and easy to navigate, you can have the best of both worlds. Help lines, chat features and toll free numbers are all added attractions to these firms that put customer service high on the priority list.

No matter what type of ordering and information services these companies offer, nothing beats experience in the industry. A fasteners distributor with poorly trained staff and an unproven track record is risky to deal with. Not only will their lack of knowledge make them less helpful to your staff but their pricing and service may also be unreliable.

Get on board with a fasteners distributor you can trust. Years of experience and the type of ordering systems that work for you are key. Local shops or online stores, get the fasteners you need fast with the top distributors.

There are various types of Building Fasteners available on the market today such as Hex Bolts, Hex Head Cap Screws as well as other Fasteners that Contractors use. Besides different materials, there are also Robertson, slot and Phillips head screws that each offer benefits and advantages in certain applications.

Brief History of Phillips Head Screws

Phillips head screws have been around since the 1930’s when automobile assembly lines were popping across the country. This set up required a screw that could be tightened with the automated drivers on the line and the Phillips head screws designed by Henry Phillips fit the bill.

Robertson screws had been around for almost three decades and where commonly found on building sites. But with the need for a screw that would fasten tighter and take greater levels of torque, the cross-shaped head developed by Phillips took off after it had been introduced.

Benefits On Today’s Building Sites

Besides being able to provide the tight fit that businesses were looking for in the 30’s, Phillips head screws also provide advantages for standard applications on a building site.

Wood frames, drywall and many other locations where numerous screws are used are a great place to use a Phillips screw. This is because the cross-shaped grooves in the head provide a greater surface area for the screwdriver to contract the fastener, meaning the pressure is distributed better and tightening results in less wear and tear on the screw.

The mating surface (where the driver contacts the screw head to tighten and loosen) is subject to the most wear. When the pressure is on against this surface a stripped screw may be the result. This difficult and potentially costly situation is often avoided by using a Phillips screw. Because this style has a larger mating surface (thanks to the cross-shape and compared to the slot or Robertson style) there will be less pressure on each individual point and so less chance for stripping.

The crossed grooves also hold your driver or bit in tight and cut down on slipping, which can help the installation of these screws to go much faster. Hanging drywall, screwing in floor boards and many other applications on a building site will benefit from the speed and reliability offered by the Phillips head screw.

There are a lot of components and materials such as nuts and bolts, needed when building a deck. From concrete to lumber, joist hangers to Fasteners like lag bolts, carriage bolts and deck screws – you might find that the whole thing gets rather confusing. As you look at the selection of deck screws and notice the color options, something might crack. Frustrated and not buying into the need to coordinate your fasteners with the lumber, you could walk out with whatever color was closest on the shelf.

But if you do, you’re going to regret it. Why? Because deck screws that clash with or stand out on your deck board can ruin the entire look of your deck.

Why Colored?

So you’re wondering why to bother with color. Take a look at the flooring under your feet. Unless you’re outside on the grass or standing on a concrete slab, the fasteners are generally hidden. Carpet staples are hidden away and hardwood and laminate slats are grooved and clipped together for that smooth look. Tiling will display the grout along the edges, but a good installation means that the grout itself becomes a part of flooring in appearance. Everything is consistent.

If you invest in decking that has a beautiful color like cedar or provides a low maintenance finish like composite, you are not going to want it marred by silver metal screw heads every 16 inches or so. What you want is that smooth look and colored deck screws help you get there.

Even with hidden fastener systems you can use black deck screws to affect a better overall look. On that PVC railing you’re looking at for the front porch there are white screws in just the right size to provide a clean, crisp finish. Most manufacturers have a wide selection of colors for the decking – choose from any of the 18 that Headcote offers in their standard deck screw line.

Colored screw heads are available in ACQ rated deck screws and in stainless steel. You can find them on screws made especially for composite decks and deck screws in all of the common (and plenty of the uncommon) sizes. Take a piece of deck board with you to check the color or simply order what the manufacturers or distributors recommend based on the decking being used.

Have a nicer looking deck surface. It’s worth that extra minute to choose the right colored deck screws. Now get on with the project.

Fasteners are intricate and complicated, until you sort through and understand the many differences that is. From the length to the material used, the driver type and the threading – screws especially seem to come in a vast selection of confusing choices. How do you know which head screws you are supposed to order for your project? You might think that there are only two – flat heads and pan heads – but the choice is quite a bit wider than that and in order to choose well, you need to know where the differences lie. This is where Contractors can sometimes come in handy as they tend to know their nuts and bolts as well as other Fasteners such as Hex Bolts and Hex Head Cap Screws.

Flat Head and Trim Heads

These are what most people think of when they are asked to pick up deck screws. A flat head is common to both and they can both be countersunk into the wood or composite material. Alternatively, both flat head and trim head screws can be inserted into a predrilled hole and covered with a plug to ensure an ultra smooth finish. Generally a trim head screw is chosen when a surface mount is required, though.

Pan Head and Washer Heads

These are the opposite of flat head screws, in that they are designed to sit on top of the surface. For that reason they are most often seen on heavy plastics and metal applications where countersinking is not an option. But the main benefit of both the pan head and the washer head screws is that the shape of the head allows for better distribution of the load. You can use a washer head screw just like you would a screw and washer combo, except you don’t have the hassle of handling two fasteners.

Other Types of Screws

You may also come across oval head screws. Similar to a round head screw that has been flattened, this type of screw is used to provide a snag free surface that is relatively smooth. Nautical applications put the oval head screw to good use.

Truss head screws offer a very large head that provides more surface area to distribute the load. Often used with a nut on oversized holes, this type of screw is sometimes called a bolt as well.

The type of head that your screw has will greatly affect the performance of the fasteners in your application. What that means is you should pay attention to which type of screw or nut and bolt you use. Many are better for use with specific materials, others should be put to use in certain circumstances. One of the more common types of screw seen in a wide variety of applications are trim-head screws and this style provides some unique benefits to your project. Other fasteners are Hex Head Cap Screws and Hex Bolts.

Distinct Features

Trim head screws are similar to flat head screws in both looks and design. They have a circular head that is intended to finish flush with the surface of the material being fastened. The heads are often formed with nibs to ensure a nicer countersunk finish when the hole was not predrilled.

The difference between trim head screws and flat heads lies in the size of the head. Trim heads are made more like a finishing nail and work very well in that capacity. When you are screwing in a place where the screw head is best hidden, trim head screw with color matched finish will virtually disappear.

The driver recess on the trim head is the same size as the one on a flat head screw of a similar size. It’s only the surface of the head around the recess that is smaller. This allows for less screw to show, much like that finishing nail. And just like the tiny nail, trim head screws are very often used in trim applications, especially on outdoor products.

If you need something even smaller, ask you fastener distributor about sourcing out a trim head line that uses a #1 square head instead of the minimum #2 that is generally used on flat head types.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Less screw can be a good thing or it can be annoying. If you are already a little clumsy at handling fasteners, a trim head screw is only going to give you the slip more often. Because the head is smaller, there is less to grip, although that is normally made up for with a well recessed driver.

Unobtrusive while still allowing for the right amount of strength and stability, trim head screws will continue to be popular with contractors and homeowners alike.

These seemingly insignificant small fasteners have an important role in many woodworking projects. From furniture assembly to the construction of sheds, decks and other wooden structures, tee nuts help to keep the wood strong and the project dependable. Contractors like to also use these nuts and bolts as well as other deck fasteners.

What Are Tee Nuts?

This thin nuts are threaded internally and have a flat flange at one end that lends the fastener a “T” shape (hence the name). You’ll also see three or four sharp, slightly curved hooks on the inside of that flange, designed to claw into the wood surface and hold the nut firmly in place.

Although you can find a variety of sizes, tee nuts come commonly in 1/4″ and 5/16″ diameters. They are also available in different materials with most standard jobs making do with Grade 2 steel that is zinc plated for corrosion resistance.

Why Would You Use These Fasteners?

There are a few good reasons to use tee nuts in wood applications. Sometimes when you insert a screw or lag bolt into wood you end up with cracks, splits and a general mess. Depending on the moisture levels in the wood, the torque used and the size of the fastener, these cracks and splits could seriously damage the wood resulting in a lot of waste.

Using tee nuts will completely eliminate this problem. A hole the same size as the diameter of the nut is drilled using good quality wood drill bits. This should result in very little damage when done with care. When the hole is cleared, the tee nut is hammered into it and the hooks turn into the wood and latch on, providing a solid hold.

Now you have a threaded hole to insert your fastener with no fear of that dreaded cracking sound. When you bore a screw into wood it is very easy to cause damage to either the material or the fastener. With tee nuts you can simply drill, hammer and carry on – no counter boring required.

Depending on the strength needed, these fasteners are also available in stainless steel for superior strength and higher grades of steel for a heavier torque. Handy for many wood workers and craftsmen, tee nuts are a small fastener with a big job.

Whether you DIY this project or hire a contractor to install it for you, the materials on your deck are a very large portion of the final cost. Although lumber makes up the bulk of it, getting a good deal on the deck fasteners or nuts and bolts help a lot on the final budget.

Where can you get the best deals? And is it a good idea to skimp on certain styles and types of fasteners to lower the bottom line? Look at this element a little closer before you decide.

Finding the Best Deals

In the fastener world prices can range far and wide depending on where you are sourcing the product from , who the manufacturer is and how much you are buying. Start by looking for someone local or browsing online for a fastener distributor that has reasonable shipping costs. Because of the weight of these products and the ever increasing price of fuel, shipping is often a major element in the price. Online retailers can save you money in certain circumstances juts because they are online – no storefront or brick and mortar to deal with means lower costs for you.

Buying in bulk is your number one way to get a good deal on the deck fasteners. Certain things you likely won’t be able to buy a huge quantity of. You may only need a handful of post saddles and a pocketful of carriage bolts or wood lags. If you see a need for the fastener in the future though, buy a box and keep them on hand – you may not save money now, but you’ll certainly be saving some down the road.

Does It Make Sense to Skimp?

You will probably wonder whether you actually need the corrosion resistance of a heavy zinc plated deck screw or even stainless steel deck fasteners. You may look at the price tag and turn away. But think of it this way – you are investing in a lifelong finish on your deck. This is especially important if you are choosing low maintenance products or are designing a high end pressure treated lumber deck. Don’t run the risk of having the screws, joist hangers and other deck fasteners rust in a few years. And when ACQ treated lumber is in play, you will need that more expensive type of fastener, no doubt about it.

Get the best deal, but don’t sacrifice the quality of your project by choosing inferior deck fasteners.

The quality of the materials used determines the quality of the final product. And this is as true with decking as it is with anything else. Fasteners like Deck screws need to be strong, well made and solid enough to handle the load and traffic of this area. The best quality deck screws will make certain that your project runs smoother and that the final product will shine with the professionalism you’re looking for. These are the nuts and bolts that contractors like to use when building Decks.

Make Up of a Good Deck Screw

Not all are created alike, so beware of cheap imitations and knock offs. Quality deck screws have a certain design that includes elements and shaping to help make installation easier. For instance, the best deck screws have an augered tip for better entry into the deck material. This sharp tip cuts down on splitting and cracking that can occur when using lower quality lumber. It also makes installation faster on those hard materials like Ipe and Mahogany.

Driver Choice

This is a bit of a personal thing, but many of the pros prefer a square driver that has a deeply recessed head for better handling. That being said, there is nothing wrong with a Phillips or a Torx deck screw – it will depend on the kind of tools you like to handle and the bits you have the greatest success with.

Other Head Details

Although the driver may not be a big deal, there are plenty of other details about the head that will provide strong support and a better overall look. Be sure that you find the color of screw head that best matches your decking. If not, the deck surface will look patchy and unprofessional. Opt for colored heads in black if you are using a hidden fastener system.

Depending on whether you are looking for less exposure to the fastener or not, you’ll need to choose between trim head screws and flat head screws. Both should also be formed with nibs for easier countersinking.

Best Materials

Top notch deck screws are usually stainless steel. Perfectly suited for use with ACQ treated lumber and guaranteed to resist corrosion no matter what the exposure to moisture, stainless fasteners are well worth the extra investment in the long run. Second best are the zinc plated screws rated for use with ACQ.

Don’t waste your time and money on lesser quality. Opt for the best deck screws and put together a professional deck for your home or customer.