Attaching your deck – options

Posted: September 17, 2010 by DIY Big Boss in Hardware / Nails / Screws / Bolts / Nuts, Timber Decking / Cladding / Fencing
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Deck fastened with Tiger Claws from Deck Fastener

There are numerous different ways to attach your deck to the supports that you have created.  Today we want to explore some of the different ways that you may do this.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so it is best to fully consider how you want to look after your deck ongoing as to which option you choose.

Before we get into the different types of ways to fix your deck, there are a few important things to remember.  The first is to ensure that you leave space between each piece of decking timber.  This will ensure any rain water can drain and will not sit in puddles.  You can do this by using a nail between each plank or alternatively a small piece of wood, your ruler, anything that you can use consistently throughout the project and is approximately 5mm in thickness.  The second is to ensure that when starting or finishing a beam it must finish over a joint.  If it doesn’t trim it to the correct size.


The most common way to fix decking boards to the deck is by using nails.  Ensure that your nails are galvanised and that you use two for each joint. If you are nailing the end of a piece, you will need two nails for the end of the beam and two for the start of the next beam.  Make sure you use a nail punch to ensure that the heads of the nails go below the surface of the timber.

Nailing your deck is quite quick, but you will need to check your deck from time to time to ensure that they haven’t worked themselves free and are now protruding from the surface.  These can cause nasty cuts and punctures to small children, so you will need to ensure they are quickly nailed back into place.  This said they have better sheer strength to the screw.


While nails may be stronger, it is the screw that will hold tighter, which means you are much less likely to have the screw protrude above the deck surface, however, it is not a full good news story and many builders continue to use nails because of their strength.  Using screws will also mean you are more likely to find and have to replace broken ones.  In addition it is said that the swelling of the timber when it is wet can cause the screws to break, which then leaves a gap where moisture can gather.

More information can be gathered from this blog article.  It is set in Australia and while we are unlikely to have earthquakes it still makes interesting reading.


Overseas there are a number of different deck clips that can be used to seal your deck in place.  In Australia the range is starting to grow so it is worth checking out the alternatives before you commit to any one option.  Each of these items are very different in the way that they work, so it is best to talk to the manufacturer or hardware store to see if they are suitable for your needs and environment.  The advantage of these clips which include plastic items that attach to your joists, right through to Tiger Claws is that they give you an end result which is much cleaner with no nails or screws.

Clips have their own downfalls depending on which one you choose, but you will not have to worry about nails in feet!

Whatever you choose to make your deck, check out DIY Bargain Bin’s Hardware, Nails, Screws, Bolts and Nuts section for everything that you need.


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