John Paulin, Tailor Decks
Cedar is an excellent chose for your decking material, but a lot of people never think about which fastener to use. Choosing the right fastener is as important to the deck as choosing the right decking material. There are several different fasteners which will work well with cedar. The most common and least expensive is a hot dipped galvanized (Maze) nail. Not all hot dipped nails are approved for Cedar, similar to the case of pressure treated pine and ACQ. Some fasteners apply a thinner layer of galvanization to their nails, so you need to be very careful when choosing your nail. Read the specifications on the box!!!
Some people prefer screws over nails. One of the best screws is a collated, stainless steel deck screw made by Pam. There are several different types of collated screws but then one I recommend is the screw designed for IPE. This screw is a 2 ½” # 10 screw. This screw has a self drilling point to start the screw easily and without any splitting while penetrating the decking. Also, on the bottom side of the screw heads there are small cutter knifes which countersink the head of the screw, giving you a nice clean look and preventing any splinting or splintering. This makes for the most solid deck and stainless steel will last forever.
Another method for fastening Cedar is a hidden fastener system. Most decking materials need to be fastened securely due to twisting, cupping and warping. Cedar is one of the most stable decking materials available; you will not encounter any of these issues which would force you to a hidden fastener system. Once again there are so many hidden fasteners to choose from, you need to do some research first. The hidden fastener that I recommend is the Deck Master System. I have used the Deck Master System several times and never had any problems. This system fastens onto the side of the joist, while you run screws through a slot into the bottom side of your decking. But no matter which hidden fastener you choose, Read the instruction manual first!!!
Although this type of deck is not as solid as fastening through the deck surface with nails or screws, it does makes for nice clean look. If you do choose to install a hidden fastener system, allow extra time and about $3.00 a sq. ft. more. I can’t stress this enough, Make sure that you do your research first.
John Paulin is the Founder and President of Tailor Decks, a premier deck contracting company that has served metro Atlanta since 1994. His 22 years of experience in deck and covered porch construction has made him a well respected source within the industry. For more information on Tailor Decks, visit www.tailordecks.com