Here's How - Types of Fasteners to Use to Repair Decking
Dear Pat: The last time I built my deck, I used nails, and now they look bad and many are loose. I am planning to redo the deck and some other outdoor projects. Should I use screws this time? -- Ned B.
Dear Ned: When you get around to replacing the decking planks on your deck, you should definitely uses different types of fasteners than you did the first time. Most likely, you used galvanized nails to fasten the decking to the joists below. They are still the most common fasteners used today, but their life is even shorter now.
As of several years ago, pressure-treated wood preservatives are no longer allowed to contain arsenic compounds such as CCA. This was done for health reasons. This is why you are not supposed to burn old pressure-treated lumber in your fireplace. The smoke and ash can contain arsenic, which your body can absorb.
The newer and safer wood preservatives, such as ACQ (alkaline copper quarternary) and CA (copper azole) contain far more copper than discontinued CCA. This higher copper content causes the old-fashioned deck fasteners to corrode faster. This looks bad and allows them to pull out of the wood.
In order to do the deck, or any other outdoor project with pressure-treated lumber, properly, plan on spending a considerable amount of money on the fasteners alone. If you are building a 20-by-40-foot deck, about 3,000 fasteners will be needed for the entire project. Hot-dipped galvanized nails cost about 1 to 2 cents each. Galvanized nails are not approved by all building inspectors.
The next step up is stainless steel nails. These are extremely durable, and the wood preservative materials will not attack stainless steel. The cost for these nails is about 5 cents each, so plan on spending about $150 to do a large deck. Look for nails with a spiral- or ring-shank because they have better gripping strength in the wood.
For the best-looking, strongest and longest-lasting deck, use special decking screws. These are available in stainless steel or steel with a composite coating to resist corrosion. Self-tapping screws have an auger tip to cut through the wood as they turn. Look for trade names such as Woodpecker, Razorback and SplitStop. The prices range from about 9 to 13 cents per screw.
Another screw option uses a design in which the thread pattern changes along the length of the screw to improve gripping force. The ones with a composite coating are available in several common colors to match the wood. If you are going to use synthetic decking, these screws have an undercut head so they minimize mushrooming around the head.
A unique type of decking screw is very long and made so the head can be snapped off once the screw is driven into the wood. The advantage of this type of screw is the hole in the wood is very small (no head). Over time, the wood can expand enough to totally close up over the hole.
Since you will be driving thousands of screws, the type of head impacts the ease of driving them. A square-hole head screw is one of the easiest to securely drive into the wood. Most can also be purchased with a star socket, if you prefer this. Combination square/Philips heads are also available.
Send your questions to Pat Logan at Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM
See Photos: Here's How: How To Articles
Got an opinion? Share your thoughts now.