Fasteners – they are the unsung heroes of deck building. In most cases they are designed to blend in as much as possible, getting little attention for all the work that they do to hold everything together. Choosing the wood that will be used to build the deck may seem like the most important decision, but fastener selection is just as important in regards to the safety and durability of the deck.
Factors That Come Into Play When Selecting Fasteners
Fasteners are a big decision. Before you buy the first piece of hardware take a second to consider the following.
Budget – As with everything else, the budget will come into play when selecting fasteners. Unfortunately, fasteners are often overlooked when people are putting their budgets together. Instead of going cheap this is a time when you want to go with the absolute best option that you can afford.
The Wood Selection – All woods have a unique hardness, which will affect the fasteners that are used and screwed into them. Furthermore, some wood treatments can have a negative impact on galvanized fasteners (see below).
Durability – Some fasteners will be tougher than others depending on what they’re made of and their design. Stainless steel is the best option, especially if there is a lot of potential moisture, but galvanized fasteners are more than adequate for most all decks. Whenever possible opt for hot-dipped galvanized fasteners.
Longevity – Softwood and hardwood decking materials can last upwards of around 30 years. The fasteners you get to put it all together needs to hold up just as long, if not longer.
Types of Fasteners
Now that you know the criteria used to compare fasteners, let’s take a look at the types of fasteners that will be used to build your deck.
Nails – A little while back we covered nails versus screws, two of the most commonly used fasteners in deck building. Nails are affordable and easy to use, but should mainly be reserved for fastening deck boards as well as handrails.
Screws – Screws are also used in many spots, particularly to anchor the deck boards. Many people cite that the advantages of screws are a tighter connection and easier removal is needed. Look for decking screws if you decide for forgo the nails.
Bolts – Carriage bolts and machine bolts are particularly good for a strong hold between structural elements. Washers should be used with bolts, and you should go with ½ inch bolts in most instances.
Lag Screws – They are especially good for fastening the ledger to the rim joists. Use lag screws that are at least ½” in diameter.
Joist Fasteners – They cost a little bit more, but joist fasteners are worth it because they provide a superior hold where it’s needed most. Joist fasteners are made specifically for deck building, so it goes without saying that these fasteners will hold strong and help you pass any inspection.
Joist Hangers – There are actually a number of different joist hangars for specialized purposes. They are used to strengthen load bearing connections, fastening the joist to the ledger or beams. You can purchase single, double or triple joist hangers depending on the wood of the deck.
Stringer-to-Deck Joist Hangers – These are great for stairs because they are super strong. They are the best way to ensure there are no structural integrity issues.
Brackets – When connecting beams to posts brackets are a necessity.
Framing Anchors – A framing anchor is one of the best ways to secure a staircase to the edge of a deck.
Post Anchors – Using a J bolt post anchor fastens posts to concrete piers so you don’t have to embed them.
Hurricane/Seismic Anchors – The name tells you that these fasteners are made to hold the joist to the beams no matter what Mother Nature throws at your deck.
Post Caps – Support beams on posts with this fastener.
Deck Tie Post – When you have a post against a rim joist this fastener is one of the best options for connecting the two.
Washers – These are used in conjunction with other fasteners to ensure are better fit and protect the wood.
Get All Your Hardware at TimberTown Austin
Timbertown Austin stocks more lumber-related hardware products and building materials for outdoor living than any other supplier in town! Our expert sales associates can work with you one-on-one to help you get exactly what need.
We stock screws and fasteners, decorative building hardware, joist hangers, post bases, hidden fastener systems for decking, nuts, bolts, lag screws, stainless steel, galvanized and epoxy coated hardware – if it holds a deck together you’ll find it at Timbertown Austin!
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/sparr0/7617001780