Home Owner Series: Tips for Deck Construction

As with any project, preparation is key when you’re creating a quality composite deck for your family to enjoy for years to come. Whether you’re preparing to take on your own DIY outdoor project, or collaborate with a professional builder - it’s important to understand the best practices for installing Fiberon Decking material. That’s why we encourage customers, as well as contracted builders, to educate themselves on our materials’ best installation practices. In this post we’ll highlight important recommendations and requirements that should not be overlooked to ensure the best, finished look of your new deck.

Building a Deck

Storage and Preparation Tips

In order to protect your investment from the start, it’s important to store your composite boards in a level area. Keep products off the ground and covered on a flat, dry surface. Dark colors will absorb more heat than lighter colors and as such, will experience greater ranges in expansion/contraction.

The following preparation and installation procedures will result in less visible gapping:

1. Keep boards out of direct sun during storage and cutting processes, and through to installation, if possible. Never cut and install boards in direct sun assuming them to be at ambient temperature.

2. Longer boards have greater thermal expansion and contraction. Use short boards where possible for less visible gapping.

Light Colored Boards with Railing

3. There is less thermal expansion and contraction along the width of the board as opposed to the length. Using splitter/divider boards between each continuous run of boards will result in less gapping.

4. Thermal expansion and contraction of the material can allow the boards to shift. Surface-fastening using heavy gauge (#9 or #10) quality composite deck screws will help keep the material in place.


Planning the Layout of Your Deck Boards

Deck Colored Composite Boards with White Railing
Careful planning of the finished deck layout will result in better looking finished projects. Fiberon composite deck boards are made to mimic the varied colors and grains of wood. Before you start installing your deck, it’s helpful to lay out the aesthetic pattern you want considering the wood tone variations and various grain patterns. For example, you may want to line up boards in the same wood grain direction for a uniform look. An alternating direction style can add visual interest to your project. Also consider using two colors of deck boards with the lighter colored boards in the field of the deck and the darker colored boards as design accents around the perimeter of the deck.


Deck Fastener Options

Composite Boards using hidden fasteners

Fiberon decking materials are designed to be installed with either face screws or hidden fasteners. Phantom hidden fasteners are specifically designed for Fiberon side-grooved boards and provide a smooth, fastener-free surface.

Face fastening can be accomplished with hidden or regular surface fastening screws. Cortex hidden face fasteners are installed on the surface and have deck plugs that cover the screw heads for a virtually fastener-free look. Stainless steel composite deck screws can be used for surface fastening; however, pre-drilling is recommended to prevent ends from splitting and will result in a better looking finished project. Follow installation instructions carefully for a flush finish with the deck surface. For decks using metal joisting, specialized surface fasteners are required that install at a 90-degree angle only.

Best Results When Adding Railing

Multilayered Composite Deck

When using surface fasteners to secure railing to a composite deck, joist location may affect the ease, price and method of the installation of the railing system. Leaving the required 1.5” spacing for surface fastening at the end of the board and 1” from the side of the board, requires two joists for every end-to-end seam. Board seams with double joisting can affect post placement for your railing system.

Thoroughly reading all installation instructions first will make for more successful projects. Failure to do so may result in a more difficult installation and may void the warranty.

Alternating Deck Boards

If you found this post helpful, you can find similar instructions and research on our site, FiberonDecking.com . We have step-by-step instructions on how to install everything from deck railing to lighting. If you’re a visual learner, we’ve got videos too.

  • Lauren Adams

    These were great tips about how to build your deck. My husband and I are thinking about getting one on the back of our house. We think that it would look very good. We know we want to do one with wood. However, we aren’t sure what kind of wood we will need. Do you have any suggestions? http://www.thinkhi.com.au/products_decking.html

  • abby travers

    Those Fiberon boards looks similar to a vinyl fence material. I have poor circulation in my feet and natural wood could be a bad thing for me. With the Fiberon, is there a chance of chipping or splitting of the boards?


  • Caleb Hart

    I would love to have a deck like this on my property. My wife and I are always having people over, and we want to entertain them. Having a nice deck would be the best thing ever! http://www.galleryhomes.ca/custom-homes/

  • rose nickelson

    This is some really good information about how to build a deck. I like that you included pictures that way you can see what you are exactly supposed to do. It seems like it would be a hard job for one person to do. It might be best to hire a construction company to build the deck for you. http://www.spellhvac.com/services.php

  • Casey Jones

    Thanks for sharing all these tips on deck construction! I really liked that you mentioned the best ways to install a railing. Our deck didn’t pass inspection because it lacked a railing in areas that needed one. I will be sure to get that railing built and get my deck up to code.


  • GeraldVonberger

    I didn’t realize that boards could warp so much while you stored them. That’s probably one of the biggest things that can ruin the look of your deck. I’ve wanted to build my own deck, but I’m not sure if I’d have the expertise. Still, these are some good tips if I were to do it myself. http://lifestylepatios.com/services/decks/

  • Brandon Roberts

    I am so glad that I was able to find this. I am planning on building a deck in my backyard soon, and since this is my first time doing this, I am very nervous about it. Bu thank you Tammy for talking about this, and giving me some suggestions on planning the layout of my boards, and how to properly lay them as well. This was a huge help, and it definitely relieved some of my stress. http://www.rossmonsterdesign.com

  • Fiberon

    You’re welcome Casey. We’re working on answering more FAQs like these in blog articles and on our FAQ web page

  • Fiberon

    We’re glad we could help Brandon. We have some installation videos on YouTube as well. Good luck with your new deck. Let us know if we can help in any way. We have some free deck plans on our website that may be helpful as well

  • Fiberon

    Hi Abby,
    You’re correct. One of the advantages of composite and PVC decking is that it will never splinter or crack. Plus, you don’t have to worry about injuring your feet on nailpops either. Let us know if we can answer any other questions for you.

  • Brandon Roberts

    Okay! Thanks a ton for letting me know about your videos. I will definitely make sure I go check those out right away.

  • I agree the best thing to do before the work started is to have an organize and very detailed preperation.In that way you can go way any farder and obviously expect that everything will be meet according to the plan.

  • Ljsorn

    Starting install of deck boards today. Hope our deck turns out as nice as these!

  • Tony Farthing

    Curious to know if there’s any CAD tools to help with layout process? Thanks in advance.

  • Hi Tony,

    Unfortunately we don’t have CAD tools, but we do offer a number of other helpful tools on our website including a product visualizer, a cost calculator, and more. Check out our offerings here on our website: https://www.fiberondecking.com/resources