Concealed Deck System

May 20, 2010


Tips, Trends

The Kreg Deck Jig

Kreg Tool Company makes The Kreg Deck Jig™ that acts as a guide for installing deck screws at a controlled angle on the edge of the deck boards rather than on the surface.  There are several systems on the market that accomplish this using special fasteners or clips, but this tool lets you accomplish the same thing with standard materials.

There are several advantages to concealed fastener systems:

  1. Aesthetically, the fasteners are hidden.  Even with high-end fasteners, when deck boards are face nailed, the heads eventually tarnish. 
  2. Recessing the heads breaks the plane at the wood face which often leads to staining around the fastener and a place for splinters to start. 
  3. The recessed head also gathers dirt and debris adding to the discoloration.

There are a few disadvantages as well, though:

  1. With lumber exposed to the elements, particularly treated lumber that often is saturated when installed, there is a tendency for the boards to cup.  Using concealed fasteners may make it necessary to use narrower lumber in order to avoid this.
  2. Concealed fasteners do not go through the entire thickness of the board.  Placement of the fastener could cause shearing through the grain.

Note:  Both of the above conditions are less likely to occur with composite boards in lieu of dimension lumber, but composite boards can have their own issues as well.

Overall I believe this would provide a clean look and is something worth considering.  It needs to be the proper situation, but it is an option that I can discuss with clients in the future.

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