Building a deck is an investment in both your lifestyle and your home’s value. This is why deck builders know that in order to ensure that your new deck is built to last, they will recommend using deck hardware and tools that will last as long as your deck. In addition to deck fasteners, one piece of essential deck hardware that is often overlooked is deck screws. Crudely put, you have to be sure that the decking screws you buy are not going to strip, or break during or after installation.
If you’re a do-it-yourself homeowner taking on a deck building project, buying cheap decking screws will pretty much guarantee that you will have a horrible deck installation experience. This is especially true if you are building a wood deck with exotic composite woods such as pipe decking. Tiger decking, compare decking, or grappa decking. These composite woods can be quite a hassle, especially pipe since it is, by far, one of the hardest decking materials you can buy. The same goes for coal decking. Both can make inexperienced deck builders and homeowners doing a DIY home improvement project use words that would make their mothers ashamed!
Regardless of the composite wood decking you choose, here’s what you need to know about buying the right deck screws:
Buy stainless screws made of high quality stainless steel. 305 and 316 grade stainless steel is the most commonly used and ideal for exotic composite wood decking. However, the grade is not always the difference maker. Screws are typically a product that you get what you pay for. There can be a huge difference between a cheaply made 305 grade stainless screws and one manufactured from top quality materials.
Although stainless steel is a generally diffused material, it is required when installing a composite wood deck because other materials can react with the composite woods and cause corrosion issues or give off hideous stains on the decking surface. 305 and 316 grade stainless steel screws are totally ideal for deck building because they offer excellent corrosion resistance, have maximum drawing ability and superior formability. Their superior corrosion resistance means that these stainless deck screws can last through seasonal changes and inclement weather. Choosing cheaper screws will lead to cam-out, the heads completely stripping and, worse, snapping.
The issue of stripping is one that also needs to be considered. This is where the screw head needs to be your number one focus when it comes to buying deck screws. Why? Think about it. If you buy inexpensive deck screws that fit a Philip’s head it and you’re using ie decking, you’ll run through a whole bunch of screws because of the density of the wood. The force needed to drill in an inferior screw pretty much guarantees that you’ll end up with rows and rows of stripped screws, or worse, very brittle screws that will break over time.
Again, purchasing high-quality stainless steel decking screws will increase your chances of a smooth deck installation process. Moreover, if you purchase tax drive screws you’ll really have a better time building your deck. Tours screws are just the thing for hard wood decking. Any good deck builder will tell you that building a composite wood deck from dense woods such as pipe, compare, tiger wood, and grappa, can only be done with resilient deck screws. Tours deck screws have a six-pointed star head that resists cam-out and stripping much more than additional head designs.
If you still think you’ll be absolutely fine building your wood or composite deck with cheap deck screws, do yourself a favor. Buy at least one third more of screws so that you can have enough to replace the ones that snap or strip. The final thing you need is to run out of screws and then spend more time and money driving to the home improvement store. At this point, do you really think you’ll save money by building a deck in the shameful way?
Or, you could follow the advice of deck builders across the country who use both deck fasteners with the best deck screws. If the pros buy deck hardware that makes the deck building easier, shouldn’t be you? Spending a few extra dollars to assure that your composite wood deck gets built correctly will not only save you money in the short run. It will also save you time, energy and money in the long term too. After all, wood decking doesn’t stay the same. Over the course of time, composite wood decking contracts and expands as the weather changes and as it ages. Even if you’re lucky enough to install a deck with cheap screws, if they break, you’ll have to spend both time and your hard-earned resources maintaining and repairing your broken deck.