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Dan Friedrichs
06-03-2012, 10:35 PM
Anyone have thoughts/opinions on the various hidden deck fastener systems available today? I'm planning a deck (pic below), and am leaning towards the CAMO Marksman Pro.

ray hampton
06-03-2012, 11:20 PM
It looks as if you are making the same mistake that I made and that is , my desk are too high when it are compare to the door height, the door bottom should be about 6 " higher than the desk in case your door need to be replace, your hot tub too small will only hold one person
I can not recommended the fasteners

David G Baker
06-04-2012, 1:25 AM
I used the ones that Home Depot sells made by Strong Tie and I was very happy with them.

Larry Edgerton
06-04-2012, 6:41 AM
I use the Camo Pro, but I do not like their screws so I have modified it to use GRK 2.5" trimheads.

Larry

Larry Edgerton
06-04-2012, 7:44 AM
Dan

I was thinking about your deck. It does not look like it is all that large so you could very easily get by without the Camo. You can not use the Camo in tight areas anyway and it is not hard to put the GRK's in by hand without a jig. The Camo screws can not be put in without the jig as the heads do not have a point, so you need something else to finish anyway. I have found that the quality of the Camo screws is questionable, lots of them break on the way in. Thats one of the reasons I switched, and the other is that you can not put them in freehand. The GRK's are a pointed head with a cut to predrill the hole on the way in. Don't worry about the smaller head on the GRK screws. When you are toenailing you have changed the holding power from friction to shear strength, it is the side of the fastener doing the work, not the head.

Up against the building you will have to face screw. Unsightly holes will not do! Here you can use Cortex screws and plugs. The plugs are made out of the same material as the decking, and need no glue. If you happen to use AZEK Acacia I have a ton of leftover screws and plugs and I could send you some. The screws/plugs are pretty expensive.

With all composites that I have used I like to run a border all the way around and infill so that none of the "end grain" is showing. You can use the Cortex screws here as well. when you are doing a band around the outside keep that in mind when you are framing. Yo will want to run an extra joist in about 5 1/2" in from the end and block between to catch the band and provide a nailer for the ends of the decking where they terminate.

Most of this decking makes a little pucker where the screws go in the side. I keep a sharp chisel on hand and shave these off as I go. You will see what I mean, and it looks so much better without them.

12 inch framing centers under that hot tub, and no more than 16" for the rest. Don't be afraid to overkill the support under that hot tub, that is a lot of weight.

Larry

Bob Lloyd
06-04-2012, 8:09 AM
I have used the Equator hidden fastener that goes with the Latitudes decking, I liked them.

Jerome Stanek
06-04-2012, 8:30 AM
I used tiger claws and Phantom on decks I like the phantoms better.

Dan Friedrichs
06-04-2012, 10:36 AM
Thanks, guys. I'm still leaning more towards the CAMO system, just because it doesn't require slotted boards. The Phantom and Equator systems require a slot. Not a big deal, but it would be an extra step, since I won't be buying it that way.

Larry, I appreciate the comments - unfortunately, I'm going to use cedar, not composite. While I'd love to use composite, I'm concerned that I'm already pouring too much money into a house that I will likely only be in for 4-5 more years. I will take your advice and run a border around the outside to hide the end grain, and I think I'll cut my own plugs to cover the face-drilled holes on the starting boards. Since the CAMO thing is only like $40, I'll probably buy one just to try it - but I'll get some GRK screws, too :)

Greg Portland
06-04-2012, 3:40 PM
Anyone have thoughts/opinions on the various hidden deck fastener systems available today? I'm planning a deck (pic below), and am leaning towards the CAMO Marksman Pro.
I built my Ipe deck with EB-TY fasteners + SS screws and liked the system. Getting the boards pre-slotted is a big time saver (a few cents / ft extra from my decking supplier).

Phil Maddox
06-05-2012, 7:15 AM
I used deckmaster when I built my deck 10 + years ago - there weren't that many systems available back then but I am very happy with it. I used Ipe decking so I dont' think the CAMO system would work - the boards are too hard and would probably split. With the deck master, no special tools are required - screw the brackets onto the joists then screw the deck boards on from there. If you are close to the ground - it doesnt look like you are, it would be a pain. The vast majority can be done from up top, maybe the boards near the edges would be done from under. I didn't need any plugs on the entire deck.

http://www.grabberman.com/CatBrowser.aspx?pkey=sKT%2fW5%2bT14JjDgMJa8D6LZ1dZ KMJMbII9k98PNCN8%2fU%3d&pval=oj3Wj32k0KoohYhOpCq8%2fg%3d%3d&pIds=bTt%2fqrDlbuPJAFwFI99Ui1dj%2f8fHfhHQrwBRjpPu5 4Q%3d

Good luck

Phil

Larry Edgerton
06-05-2012, 7:52 AM
Dan

I just finished 9,000 lin feet of Azek on 4 floors so I guess I had composite on the brain. Cedar is very easy to blind screw without the jig and I do not use the Camo on cedar. I do not feel that it gets the screw high enough. I like the screw to go in just at the bottom of the top radius and the Camo puts it in about a 1/4" lower.

Tip for longer life: Check the heart on each board and put the heart down. This way it is more likely to cup with the hollow down and not hold rainwater. Some boards the heart runs through both sides and yo have to pick one, best side up. Do not space too tight, cedar needs to dry as soon as possible. The cedar I just replaced was spaced tight and was rotting after 9 years. I like 3/16" minimum and prefer 1/4" if close to the ground.

If you do use the Camo do not trust their automatic spacing. Differences in boards can throw you off in a hurry. I use a system of wedges to keep track. The wedges do not fall through the cracks and allow adjustments by sliding the wedge up and down. I make them out of composite, but a good strong wood would work. First I cut a slot in a scrap board the width of my target gap, say 1/4". then I cut a bunch of wedges starting at an 1/8 and about 7/16 at the top in about 5-6". Works out to just over 1 degree flipping the board back and forth. Then gently slide the wedge in the slotted board till it sits in the slot and mark with a fine point sharpie. All the wedges will be the same this way. Now I add loser and gainer marks in a different color up and down from my base mark for a reference when I need to adjust. When doing closers it is handy to have several wedges and do the last two closers at once, adjusting the three wedges until they are all the same. Got you confused yet?;)

Time to go to work......

Larry

phil harold
06-05-2012, 9:02 AM
It looks as if you are making the same mistake that I made and that is , my desk are too high when it are compare to the door height, the door bottom should be about 6 " higher than the desk in case your door need to be replace, your hot tub too small will only hold one person
I can not recommended the fasteners

Plus one on the door height, looks like a rot problem
4" would work

Lee Schierer
06-08-2012, 10:29 PM
Avoid the Tiger Claws sold by Home Depot. They work okay, but are a real pain to install on long runs.