3 Ways to Install Your New Deck

Posted July 3rd, 2013 by Decking Materials

When it comes time to install your deck, there are several methods. It’s a good idea to decide exactly what method you’ll use before buying the material, since different techniques have different requirements.

To help you decide which installation method is right for your project, here’s a quick rundown:

Face Screw Method

This is what most people think of at first. It definitely has some merit, being both the fastest and cheapest method available. Standard boards are simply screwed straight down onto the joists. Pretty straightforward. There are a few downsides, however. For one, the finished deck will show the screw heads, which can tarnish the look you’re going for. Also, this method doesn’t allow for the natural expansion and contraction of the wood boards. As moisture and temperature levels change, the screws will be pulled back and forth, loosening and popping out.

If you choose to go with the face screw method, here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Standard (S4S E4E) Deck Boards
  • Stainless Steel Screws

Plug Method

The next method is a natural extension of the face screw technique. The key difference is that the screws are countersunk into the board, and a matching piece of wood is used to plug the hole and hide the screw head. The main improvement is in appearance. The main drawback is the increased effort required to glue the plugs in place and sand them down to create a level surface.

If you choose to go with the plug method, here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Standard (S4S E4E) Deck Boards
  • Stainless Steel Screws
  • Wood Plugs

Hidden Fastener Method

This last method is the most recommended. When it comes to appearance and long-term deck performance, it is easily the best, but there are also a few drawbacks that you should be aware of. First, unless you buy pregrooved deck boards, this method will be very labor-intensive, since you’ll have to manually cut grooves in the sides of the boards. Second, replacing damaged boards can be a serious hassle.

The key upside is no screws will be visible in the finished deck. Also, the unique fastening system allows for expansion and contraction, which means less cupping and no screw popup.

If you choose to go with the hidden fastener method, here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Pregrooved Deck Boards
  • Stainless Steel Screws
  • Hidden Deck Fasteners
  • Wood Plugs (for end boards)

Conclusion

So there you have it. ?Weigh the pros and cons of each installation method against your unique project and skill set, then get started building your new deck!