A composite deck is guaranteed to provide a comfortable outdoor living area that will serve you, your family and friends not only over the coming summer, but for many summers to come.
When selecting a new deck, most people know that they need to take stock of the size, shape and colour that will best complement their homes.
But what most people don’t know is that they’ll also need to select between a hidden fastening system or traditional exposed screws, both of which can directly impact the visual appeal of your deck as well as its structural fortitude.
In this article, we give you the lowdown on both methods so you can make a more informed decision around which you should buy for your home.
Conventional Deck Using Screws
For a long time, the conventional method for installing a deck was to lay down a frame, and clad it with decking boards by screwing the decking boards down one after another, eventually forming the platform on which you’d walk and set up your deck chair.
The benefits of this method is that it is a simple and fairly straight forward process that requires little in the way of expertise or experience (although professional assistance is advised if you want to make sure your deck finishes up nice and neat.) Screws provide a strong bond that secures the decking boards to their sleepers, and will last for an extremely long time. Advances in screw technology, including torx drive heads, auger tips and cutting points, meaning that the screws penetrate the product with ease and drastically reduce the likelihood of stripping should you ever need to remove them.
While these are some obvious benefits to the conventional method, they definitely have a few drawbacks. Screws are drilled through the top of the board, meaning that the screw will remain visible to the naked eye. Many homeowners consider this unsightly and ugly to the eye. Furthermore, while screws can most certainly be used in composite decking products, it can be a more difficult process than if you were working with wood.
Because their composition is much denser than a timber plank, you typically need to pre-drill holes into the product before the screws can be added and the board mounted onto a framework. This adds time and money to a decking project that you just don’t need.
Hidden Fastening System
On the other hand, hidden fastening systems are typically hailed as the more visually appealing of the two.
A hidden fastening system creates a seamless, neat surface over the top of your platform where all fasteners are invisible to the naked eye, and yet they lose no stability or strength in the process.
Rather than drilling screws through every length of composite, clips are first attached to the frame. Then the decking is attached to each clip. Of course, the process varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the conventional hidden system follows the process outlined above. The result is no visible screws. Just smooth, sleek planks for the extent of your entire deck.
The main benefit of composite decking is that it delivers a high performance in the looks department with that streamlined, uniform look. They require no pre-drilling and decking boards can be easily removed and placed if needed.
When you consult your local decking shop about composite decking boards, you can also ask for one that is easy to install, as there are some on the market that can be installed at a rate of 50% sooner than the conventional screw method.
Professionals suggest that a topside installation system is easier to use than one that is stalled from below, as the latter can prove difficult to clip into place if the deck is either super elevated or super low to the ground.
The main downfalls to this method is that not every composite deck can be installed through the hidden fastening system, and that the initial outlay for this system is typically priced higher than using screws.
Notwithstanding these few concessions, the hidden fastening system is fast becoming the more popular option of the two, largely owing to its clean, ultramodern appearance and its ease of installation. Overwhelmingly, homeowners are forgoing the conventional screw method, seeing it as outdated, in favour of the hidden fastening system because it is has more of a modern appeal and is much more pleasing to the eye.