Every woodworker I know has installed a deck or two sometime in his or her career. And if you’ve done a lot of them you know the different types of installation and fastening systems available. Gone are the days of hammers and galvanized 16d nails. In fact, if you show up ready to nail and go, the only thing going is going to be you, off the job!!! Unless of course you are working on your own house, in which case you might not get fired, but you do risk being shamed by your neighbors.
Modern-Day Decking Materials
With the advancement of the wireless age, the world has definitely gotten smaller. Decking used to consist of whatever was leftover from building the barn. Now, wood from South America, Africa, and Indonesia is right at our fingertips. These are hard, dense, and extremely durable kinds of wood that have taken the place of the good ole’ redwood 2×6’s we used in the past. The saying was, “If it’s outside, it’s gotta be redwood. It’ll last longer and the bugs don’t like it as much.” Well here comes IPE, Jatoba, Cumaru, and Tigerwood to the deck party, to name but a few. Composite decking has been widely used as well, and for roughly the same reasons – durability being front and center. The composite look and feel also may be what you’re looking for instead of wood.
What Are the Best Fastening Systems for Decks?
Along with the wider array of materials you can now use, there also has been a surge in the different types of fastening systems you can choose from, including a mind-bending array of hidden deck fasteners. Each one will boast it is the best, of course, and everyone has his own personal opinion as well. A lot of these new woods from far-off exotic locales are coming wider than we are used to using, and cupping can become an issue. This pretty much assures that the tried and true method of Top Down Fastening is the best way to go. That means face screwing and plugging.
The Starborn Pro Plug® System – Great for Decks
So what are we looking for? Answer: The best aesthetic look combined with the best engineered fastening system available. Here’s where the Starborn Pro Plug® System comes in with flying colors. It has the ability to drill, screw, glue, and plug any hardwood material in record time. They provide a drill and countersink to predrill the screw hole, while at the same time countersinking a hole to fit the wooden plug. They use their own nozzle, to go on your waterproof glue bottle of choice (see our previous article on how to choose wood glue), to spread glue on the sides of the hole for maximum adhesion. Check out the Starborn Pro Plug® System website. They also have a great little Pro Plug System video that shows a contractor drilling, screwing, and plugging in less than 20 seconds. Of course, he’s standing at a table with everything at the most comfortable height to work with.
Smart Trick for Drilling Decking Pilot Holes
When I do decks now, I walk along with a drill that has an extension handle so I don’t have to bend over and drill my pilot hole and countersink. Then I have the young guys follow me with the screws, glue, and plugs. After all, I am older and wiser.