6 Things You Should Know About Hidden Fasteners for Decking

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Concealed or hidden deck fasteners can give a great look to deck surfaces. People love them. But concealed fasteners have limitations. Here’s 6 key things you should know before deciding how to fasten your decking.

Ipe hardwood decking with hidden fasteners

1. Concealed Fasteners Make a Beautiful Looking Deck, but...

Hidden or concealed fasteners may look best - but they don't always perform bestBecause you don’t really see them, concealed fasteners make a clean, unencumbered look for your wood deck. But please understand, it’s a trade-off. When you use a concealed or hidden deck fastener, you are sacrificing strength for looks.  

 

2. Face Screws are the Strongest Deck Fasteners

Concealed fasteners are not as strong as face screws. Screwing deck boards directly through the face of the decking, into your deck joists, is the strongest way to fasten decking. Period.

If a strong, long-lasting deck fastener is your goal, stainless steel deck screws work best. If you don’t like the look of screw heads on your decking, there are ‘trim-head’ deck screws. The heads of trim head deck screws are not as visible, and the fastening is quite strong. Especially with hardwood decking boards.

Stainless steel Ipe deck screw with trim head


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3. Concealed Fasteners are More Vulnerable to Natural Decking Movement Than Deck Screws

Exterior deck boards are exposed to all sorts of weather extremes. Heat. Rain. Snow. Exposure to direct sunlight. Natural wood decking expands and contracts with moisture content. All the time. Yes, even kiln dried hardwood decking.

Concealed fasteners typically only attach through one edge of a deck board. The other edge of the deck board is free to ‘float’.  As wood deck boards dry, they shrink.  When wood decking picks up moisture they expand.

 5/4x4 Ipe decking is a sturdy decking option5/4 x 4 Ipe decking shown with hidden fasteners

 

4. Concealed Fasteners Work Best with Narrower, Thicker Deck Boards

Why?  When you use a concealed or hidden fastener for your decking, the side with the screw will ‘stay put’. The other side will ‘move” (expand and contract with moisture gain or loss). This changes the width of the gap between your deck boards. Narrower deck boards expand and contract less than wider deck boards. So, the change in the gap between your deck boards is smaller and less noticeable.

Narrower deck boards provide more fastening power per square foot. When you do the math, you’ll notice that you gain about 50% more fastening over your deck. This makes for a stronger deck.

Thicker deck board are stronger than thinner deck boards. They’re tougher. They help stabilize your deck frame and make a better performing overall deck.  So, a thicker, narrower deck board is ideal with hidden fasteners. When using concealed deck fasteners, 5/4 x 4 nominal decking and 21 mm x 4 nominal decking sizes perform best.

 

 Mataverde Deck Clip Hidden fastener

The Mataverde Deck Clip concealed fastener is black for lower visibility, stainless steel for greater strength and durability, and longer for better holding power.


Check it out for yourself. Request a FREE Mataverde Concealed Fastener today.

Request a Mataverde  Concealed Deck Fastener Sample


 

5. Where NOT To Use Concealed Fasteners?

There are certain places and conditions where you really shouldn’t even consider using a concealed fastener. Here’s a short list of places to not use concealed or hidden deck fasteners:

  • Decks that are closer than 30” above the ground – use face screws.
  • Decks with little under-deck ventilation. If your deck is not ventilated on three sides, use face screws
  • 1 x 6 decking (nominal) performs best with face screws.
  • If the area below your deck does not pitch away from your structure – fix it, then use deck screws
  • If the area below deck does not drain properly – fix it, and use deck screws

6. Choose the Right Fastener That Works Best with Your Decking

We have tested nearly every deck screw, concealed and hidden deck fastener on the market. Some work better than others. Some concealed deck fasteners only work with a specific decking material. For example, many of the composite decking options require a particular fastener. 

Some of the 'bang-in' style concealed fasteners will split the wood decking, especially hardwood decking. Concealed fasteners for hardwood decking work best with pre-grooved decking.  Thermally modified decking is often brittle and should be screwed down for best performance. Softwood decking may be screwed down or attached with a hidden fastener.

 Pre-drill and screw the Mataverde Deck Clip to pre-grooved deckingMataverde Deck Clip Concealed Fastener works great with pre-grooved wood decking

 


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RELATED:

Decking Fasteners Cleaning and Maintaining a Hardwood Deck
Mataverde Concealed Deck Fasteners Decking Installation
Decking Care and Maintenance How To Install Hardwood Decking with Minimum Wood Movement
What Is The Best Deck Fastener For Wood Decking? Decking Installation Guidelines
Hardwood Decking Installation Tips
Ipe Decking: Fastening With Screws Proper Wood Acclimation

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