Durable, long-lasting, eco-friendly, and looks like real wood. These are only some of the advantages of composite decking. But one other reason why people use composite decking materials is that they are easier to install. 

 

Traditional decking materials, like hardwoods, are quite difficult to drill. And to build using them, you have limited options. Composites, on the other hand, can be installed using hidden fasteners.

 

If you’re planning to build a deck, you may wonder how to use hidden fasteners. It’s quite simple. And even if you don’t have a lot of experience, you can do it all by yourself. But before that, let’s examine two types of composite decking. 

 

Grooved and Ungrooved Composite Decking

 

When it comes to installation, we can group composites into two types; Grooved and Ungrooved. It’s crucial to know which one is which because the fastening system that you’ll be using depends on the kind of the composites.

 

First are grooved decking boards. These are composites that have space or indents on the side. Most grooved boards use hidden clips. On the other hand, ungrooved boards don’t have the same indent as grooved boards have. They look like a straight board for deck building. Unlike grooved boards, you have a somewhat limited option for ungrooved boards when it comes to hidden fastening. 

 

Now, let’s look at how to install hidden fasteners on each of the types of composites. 

 

Installing Hidden Fasteners on Grooved Composite Board

 

Installing hidden fasteners on a grooved decking board is simple and easy. For this, you will need to select which type of hidden fasteners you’d want to use. In general, you could use almost any kind of clip, as long as it fits the indents of the board. 

 

If the manufacturers have a prescribed fastening system, it’s best to use that as it will fit perfectly according to the dimensions of the board.

 

First, you will need to face-screw the first board into the walls of the house. You can also use a starter clip to install the first board securely. Next, insert the standard clips into the grooves of the board and screw them down into every intersection of the boards and the joist. Next, slide the grooves of the next boards into the previous clips that you installed. With a mallet, gently hammer it with a rubber mallet to tighten the boards. 

 

Again, screw clips at every joist intersection. Repeat this process until the very last decking board. For the last board, use a starter clip like the first one you used to install it firmly in place.

 

Installing Hidden Fasteners on Ungrooved Composite Boards

 

Despite what it seems, there are a few hidden fastening systems that you can use for ungrooved boards. One way of doing it is by using plugs. For this, you’ll need to use a special screw. 

 

One such example is the Cortex hidden fastening system. This method uses three tools, a special dual-threaded Cortex screw, a setting tool, and a plug.

 

First, you will need to use the setting tool and attach it to the drill. Next, like what you usually do, drill the screw into the boards. With the setting tool, the cortex screw stops at the right depth. Finally, you only have to insert the plug. If your boards have grains, you will need to adjust the plug, so it goes along with it. The plug is made in the same material as the boards. They are also tight resistant. Using this system effectively hides any traces of the screws. 

 

Of course, you can also do this without using the cortex fastening system. While it will be more difficult, it’s not impossible. First, you will need to screw the boards like usual. Then, here’s the somewhat difficult part, cut a plug from the boards you are using. Finally, plug it into the hole. You may need to use a sealant to avoid moisture from entering the hole.