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Whether you will nail or screw your decking boards depends on the type of decking that you want to install. There are lots of materials that you can use to make decking today. There is wood decking. Aside from timber decking, there are composite decking and vinyl decking. Each decking material has its method of installation. Some require screws or nails while some do not. We will consider the various decking boards available to know which need nails or screws.

Method of Installing the Various Decking Boards

We mentioned before that the method of installing a decking determines if you will nail or screw the decking boards. 

Wood Decking Boards

Wood decking is the traditional decking material, and homeowners have used it for a long time before they develop other decking materials. The method of installing wood decking is straight forward. You have to build the joists or the substructure. 

After building the joists, you should arrange the wood decking boards on the frame. You should start setting the wood decking from the side of your house or one end of your decking to the other. This is where nails and screws come into the picture. 

nails on decking

Owners of wood decking use nails or screws to pin their decking boards to the joists. With wood decking, you can either use nails or screws to fix the boards to the frame. You should be careful making use of nails to fix your decking.

 Ensure that you nail your wood decking boards carefully and that you don’t split the boards in the process. When you are screwing down wood decking, ensure that you pre-drill the decking first so that you will not break it.

Composite Decking Boards

Composite decking boards is another material that is good for building decking. How you install your composite decking boards is similar to how you will install wood decking. You have to clear the area that you will install your decking. Make sure that you treat the spot with chemicals so that grasses will not grow underneath your decking. 

This is important if you are building a flush decking. After you have prepared the area, you should start building the joists or frame that will support your decking. Ensure that you use treated timber for the joists. After making the joist, you should start arranging your composite decking boards.

 Start from one end of your decking, preferably from the side of your home. To fix your composite decking boards to the joists, you should use screws or clips and fasteners. Note that we do not recommend using nails on your composite decking. Instead, you should use screws or clips to install your composite decking. 

Before that, note that with composite decking, the situation is different from wood. There are two kinds of composite decking. They are grooved and ungrooved decking. When you are installing grooved composite decking, you don’t have to use screws. You will only use screws on ungrooved composite decking. 

using screws on your decking

So, if you want to install ungrooved composite decking, make sure that you pre-drill your composite decking.  This is so that you will not split your decking. If you are installing grooved composite decking, then you will need clips and fasteners. You should start installing the first sets of decking boards with starter clips. 

After clipping the boards to the fasteners, you can install the other composite decking boards with intermediate clips. 

decking does not require nail or screw

So, you can see that you don’t need nails for composite decking aside from that using screws is not the best of ideas. 

Vinyl Decking Boards

Installing vinyl decking boards is similar to installing composite decking. You can use screws or clips and fasteners to install your vinyl decking. Just make sure that you pre-drill your vinyl decking before you drive the screws in so that you don’t split the boards.

Why Using Nails or Screws on Decking Boards Is not the Best Idea

Using nails or screws on your decking is not the best idea because of the rough surface that they create. When you walk on a decking that is installed with either nails or screws, you will see the top of the nails or screws on the surface of your decking. 

Homeowners are not satisfied with that, so they want a decking that has a smooth surface. This is where composite decking comes into the scenario. Composite decking makes use of clips and fasteners which ensure a smooth surface after you have installed the decking boards.

Conclusion

Should you nail or screw decking boards? Nailing or screwing decking boards depends on the kind of decking that you want to install. If you are installing composite decking boards, for example, you don’t have to nail it. Instead, you can use screws or clips to fix the boards to the joists.

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