Installing composite decking has been made easy for DIY folks. Different methods of installing composite decking exist.

The methods are determined by the types of decking boards you want to install.

There are two types of composite decking. They are grooved and ungrooved composite decking.

Grooved composite boards have hollow or channels on their sides. 

While the ungrooved composite boards don’t have hollows or channels at the sides. Grooved composite boards are installed using the hidden installation method. 

The ungrooved composite boards are installed using surface installation methods. Both hidden and surface installations have their advantages.

The hidden installation makes sure that the clips and fasteners used to install the boards are hidden. Instead of pinning the boards down from the top, the clips held the boards to the joists at the hollow.

What it implies is that the clips will not appear at the surface. Also, the boards will be firmly secured to the frames when the clips clamped the grooved side.

The surface installation method is used with the ungrooved plastic-wood boards.

These boards don’t have follows or channels at the side. So, the fasteners are used to secure the boards to the joists from the top.

The screws are pushed into the decking boards from the top instead of the sides. So, this implies that the screw is visible from the top.

Although the screws can be painted so that the colour matches the decking colour, the spot is still visible. 

This article will examine the hidden and surface installation methods.

Hidden Installation Methods

Hidden installation method makes use of clips and fasteners to clamp down the composite decking boards to the joists.

The clips to use for these decking projects are the starter clips and the intermediate or T-clip.

The process of installing your composite decking remains the same. To start, identify the spot you will build the decking.

Then, you should clear the place and make sure you remove dirt, debris, or grasses.

Next thing is to build the joist or the subframe. The beam should be built with treated wood boards or composite boards.

This is to achieve a strong subframe that will last as long as your composite decking boards. You should ensure that the gap between the joists should not be more than 16 inches (40.64 cm).

Then, you can commence laying the wood-plastic board. Start installing the composite decking boards from the side of a wall or the side of a building.

For grooved composite decking boards, you need a starter clip to fix the first set of boards.

Since this is the hidden installation method, the clips will clamp down the boards at the grooved edge or side.

Different Methods of Installing Composite Decking

The clips are shaped so that holding the boards down will be easy. After using the starter clips, the next clip to use is the T-clips.

Since this clip is shaped like the letter T, it can clamp down two boards at the same time. 

t-clip method of installing outdoor decking

Remember that the clips will be at the sides, not on top. Also, it will hold down the decking boards at the grooved side, not at the top.

You should proceed like this until you have completed installing your decking.

Surface Installation Method

The surface installation method is unlike the hidden installation method. The fasteners are exposed and can be seen when the decking is viewed from the top. 

surface installation method of installing outdoor decking

The fasteners used for the surface installation method are screws. The screws are driven into the boards from the top.

The process of installation is similar to the hidden installation method.

You should commence from the side of a building and use screws to hold the boards to the frame. Then, you should lay the other composite boards side by side.

 The tool you should utilise to drive the screws into the boards is a drill.

Be sure to use screws that match the colour of your composite decking so that it will not be too obvious from the top.

When you are done with installing all the decking boards, you should finish the edges with trims. Trims will cover the rough edges of your composite decking.


There are two methods of installing composite decking. They are hidden installation and surface installation methods.

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