Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Marsh Fasteners
Hidden deck fasteners are a popular choice for homeowners looking to build a deck with a sleek hardwood finish, free of visible screws or nails. Concealed deck fasteners do result in beautiful decks, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you go for this option. Here are five things you should consider before installing a deck with hidden fasteners.
What are Hidden Deck Fasteners?
Hidden deck fasteners are also known as concealed deck fasteners (or even invisible deck fasteners). These fasteners are specifically designed to connect decking boards to the joists. What makes these fasteners ideal is that they don’t require visible screws or nails on the surface.
If you are looking for hidden deck fasteners, you can find them in various designs and materials, such as plastic and composite material. Stainless steel fasteners however are quite popular due to their durability and ability to work in most environments.
5 Facts About Hidden Deck Fasteners
Thinking of investing in hidden deck fasteners? Here are 5 interesting facts you should know:
1. There are times when you shouldn’t use hidden deck fasteners
Hidden deck fasteners are not always the best choice. If your project involves any of the following, you should instead use traditional stainless steel fasteners, such as face screws:
- If your deck is lower than 30 inches above the ground.
- If your deck is not well-ventilated on all sides.
- If you are using 1x6 decking boards.
- If the area below your deck doesn’t drain properly.
- If your deck boards are prone to cupping or warping.
- If you're working with exotic hardwoods or other types of decking material that are prone to excessive movement.
In these cases, it's often better to use a face-screwed installation method, which can help to hold the boards securely in place.
2. Hidden fasteners work best with narrower, thicker deck boards
When you use a hidden fastener system, only one side of each plank is fixed with a screw. This means that the side that is fastened will hold firm, while the other side will expand, contract, and move. Narrower boards are thus more suitable for these systems as they provide more fastening power per square foot.
3. Hidden fasteners are more vulnerable to natural decking movement than deck screws
Following the above point, it should be clear that decks with hidden fasteners are more susceptible to the natural movements that will result from changing weather conditions. As the boards expand and contract with the changes in temperature and humidity, they will be more likely to move as they are only fastened on one side.
4. There is a trade-off between strength and aesthetic
The main attraction to decks with hidden fasteners is that they are more pleasing to the eye. Without any visible screws, decks will have a sleek, smooth finish. However, this comes at a cost, because while the deck will look beautiful, it will also be slightly weaker than a deck that has been constructed with face screws.
5. Only some projects are suitable for hidden deck fasteners
Projects that are most suitable for hidden deck fasteners are ones where the deck is 30 inches or higher off the ground, where the ground is properly pitched and drained below the deck, and where there is adequate under-deck ventilation.
The Benefits of Hidden Deck Fasteners
There are many reasons why you should consider hidden deck fasteners for your project.
It enhances the appearance of your deck
One of the biggest reasons is that hidden fasteners are an excellent choice for anyone looking to enhance the appearance and durability of their deck. These fasteners have no visible screws or nails which helps to enhance the deck's natural beauty. It helps to elevate the deck's overall value and appeal.
It’s not just about looks – hidden deck fasteners are also incredibly durable. Unlike traditional methods, these fasteners rely on mechanical connections which offer superior resistance to rot, decay, and insect infestation. The decking boards can expand and contract naturally without compromising the fastener's strength and stability. This results in a longer-lasting and more reliable deck.
Safety comes first
Safety is also a key consideration when it comes to deck fasteners. Exposed screws or nails can be more than just unsightly. They can create tripping hazards and can snag clothing or skin. Hidden deck fasteners are therefore the best choice for families with children or pets.
Hidden deck fasteners come with minimal maintenance. These fasteners reduce mold and mildew growth by preventing water accumulation between the decking boards.
How to Choose the Right Hidden Deck Fasteners for Your Project
There are various aspects to take into account when selecting hidden deck fasteners for your project. Here are some tips to help ensure you find the right fit for your project.
You need to find out if your hidden deck fasteners are compatible with your project needs. For example, you might require specific fasteners that can handle harsh weather conditions, such as stainless steel fasteners. It’s always best to speak to a professional before taking on a deck project.
Sturdiness is essential for any deck. Always choose a reputable manufacturer to ensure you are using the right material and that your deck will be safe for use.
Ease of installation
You don’t want to spend too much time on building and maintenance of your deck. Choose a fastener that comes with easy-to-read instructions and requires minimal equipment required.
Evaluate how well the fasteners hide screws or nails. Certain brands are more secretive than others, and some may be more visible from specific viewpoints.
If you want durable and quality hidden deck fasteners, look for fasteners manufactured by reputable brands. Ensure that the brand has a history of quality and customer satisfaction.
What is the difference between hidden deck fasteners and deck screws?
Hidden fasteners are installed under deck boards while deck screws are installed on the surface of deck boards. Although they are both effective in keeping a deck stable and safe for use, hidden deck fasteners are a lot less visible. Hidden deck fasteners are a more popular option for those looking for a more polished look for their deck as the screw heads are far from the surface.
How can I hide decking screws?
There are a few ways to hide decking screws. One option is to use a deck screw with a colored head that matches the decking material. By doing this, you’ll find that the screws blend in more with the surface of the deck.
You can also try to use a countersink drill to create a hole for the screw head and then fill the hole in with a color that matches your deck. Hidden deck fasteners are however an easier and more affordable way to hide any visible screws. You won’t have to worry about them as they are far away from the surface.
What are the different types of under-deck fasteners?
There are several types of under-deck fasteners, including:
- Hidden clips, which are plastic or metal clips that are screwed to the joists
- Hidden screws that are driven into the side of the deck board
- Biscuit-style fasteners
- Nail-style fasteners
How do hidden deck fasteners work?
Hidden fasteners work the same way as ordinary screws but they are installed underneath deck boards. They are attached to the joist and slid under the deck board. Hidden deck fasteners are not visible to the surface if installed correctly. It can be used for DIY projects but if you have trouble using them, it’s best to consult an expert.
Do you screw decking at every joint?
It will depend on your project. You need enough screws to attach the decking securely to the joist. Using too many screws can cause the wood to split so you need to ensure you are using the adequate amount. It’s best to measure your deck to determine the spacing of your joists. Consult a professional for help with this if required.
Can you use hidden fasteners on deck stairs?
Yes! Hidden fasteners can be used anywhere, including deck stairs. You will however need to ensure you are using the right fasteners. Stairs that are meant to hold the weight of a lot of people in a building require stronger fasteners. Stainless steel will be the best material here.
Whether you opt to build your deck with hidden deck fasteners or face screws, Marsh Fasteners has the right fasteners for you.
Contact us to find out which hidden deck fasteners are right for you.