The Best Deck Screws Will Save You Precious Deck Building Time

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Published: 07th October 2009
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Building a deck is an investment in both your lifestyle and your home's value. This is why deck builders know that in order to ensure that your new deck is built to last, they will recommend using deck hardware and tools that will last as long as your deck. In addition to deck fasteners, one piece of essential deck hardware that is often overlooked is deck screws. Simply put, you have to be sure that the decking screws you buy are not going to strip, or break during or after installation.

If you're a do-it-yourself homeowner taking on a deck building project, buying cheap decking screws will pretty much guarantee that you will have a horrible deck installation experience. This is especially true if you are building a wood deck with exotic hardwoods such as ipe decking, tigerwood decking, cumaru decking, or garapa decking. These hardwoods can be quite a hassle, especially ipe since it is, by far, one of the hardest decking materials you can buy. The same goes for cumaru decking. Both can make inexperienced deck builders and homeowners doing a DIY home improvement project use words that would make their mothers ashamed!

Regardless of the hardwood decking you choose, here's what you need to know about buying the right deck screws:

Buy stainless screws made of high quality stainless steel. 305 and 316 grade stainless steel are the most commonly used and ideal for exotic hardwood decking. However the grade is not always the difference maker. Screws are typically a product that you get what you pay for. There can be a huge difference between a cheaply made 305 grade stainless screw and one manufactured from top quality materials.

Although stainless steel is a generally soft material, it is required when installing a hardwood deck because other materials can react with the hardwoods and cause corrosion issues or give off hideous stains on the decking surface. 305 and 316 grade stainless steel screws are totally ideal for deck building because they offer great corrosion resistance, have maximum drawing ability and superior formability. Their high corrosion resistance means that these stainless deck screws can last through seasonal changes and inclement weather. Choosing cheaper screws will lead to cam-out, the heads completely stripping and, worse, snapping.

The issue of stripping is one that also needs to be considered. This is where the screw head needs to be your number one focus when it comes to buying deck screws. Why? Think about it. If you buy cheap deck screws that fit a Philip's head bit and you're using ipe decking, you'll run through a whole bunch of screws because of the density of the wood. The force needed to drill in an inferior screw pretty much guarantees that you'll end up with rows and rows of stripped screws, or worse, very brittle screws that will break over time.

Again, buying high-quality stainless steel decking screws will increase your chances of a smooth deck installation process. Moreover, if you buy torx drive screws you'll really have a better time building your deck. Torx screws are just the thing for hard wood decking. Any good deck builder will tell you that building a hardwood deck from dense woods such as ipe, cumaru, tigerwood, and garapa, can only be done with resilient deck screws. Torx deck screws have a six-pointed star head that resist cam-out and stripping much more than other head designs.

If you still think you'll be just fine building your wood or composite deck with cheap deck screws, do yourself a favor. Buy at least one third more in screws so that you can have enough to replace the ones that snap or strip. The last thing you need is to run out of screws and then spend more time and money driving to the home improvement store. At this point, do you really think you'll save money building a deck the cheap way?

Or, you could follow the advice of deck builders across the country who use both deck fasteners with the best deck screws. If the pros buy deck hardware that makes deck building easier, shouldn't you? Spending a few extra dollars to ensure that your hardwood deck gets built correctly will not only save you money in the short run, it will also save you time, energy and money in the long term too. After all, wood decking doesn't stay the same. Over the course of time, hardwood decking contracts and expands as the weather changes and as it ages. Even if you're lucky enough to install a deck with cheap screws, if they break, you'll have to spend both time and your hard-earned resources maintaining and repairing your broken deck.

Ultimately, it's your deck. Hopefully, this advice has geared you toward making the process simpler, easier, and a lot smoother.

Learn more about deck fasteners and deck screws.

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