Inside Fiberon: Deck Fasteners

Paul Young, Fiberon’s Director of Sales, provides a unique look inside Fiberon’s hardware products so consumers can stay ahead of the curve with the latest industry innovations in composite decking. Hardware products include both the innovative Fiberon hidden fasteners and the Phantom Ballistic NailScrew Driver.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="140" caption="Phantom Hidden Deck Fasteners"]Phantom Hidden Deck Fasteners
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I was sitting on my deck on one of those picture perfect Minnesota mornings--clear skies and 68 degrees. I was watching one of those weekend home improvement shows and they’re building a Fiberon deck using, as the host describes it, “One of these new hidden fastening systems.” It got me thinking about both of my decks and the evolution of decking fasteners.

Our main deck was built first using galvanized trim head nails, which is nice because the nails aren’t very visible.  However, the nails continually pop up and you have to drive them down so you don’t snag them while walking or shoveling snow during the winter. When the second deck was built, the builder screwed it down, eliminating the possibility of nails popping.  Unfortunately, you can still see all the screws - Functional but not necessarily attractive.

The TV host reminded me of the variety of attempts on hidden fastening systems over the years. The under deck track types were one of the early designs, but were slow to install and won’t work in decks installed near grade like my most recent deck. There were also some of the early grooved board fasteners made from plastic. They were actually intended for wood decks that builders would groove in the field. Again, they worked but acceptance was not wide spread.

Hidden fasteners went mainstream in 2005 when Fiberon decided to groove all boards and sell the Phantom Hidden Fastener system. We were the first manufacturer to groove the boards as standard, and as they say, “the rest is history.” Now, every composite manufacturer offers a grooved board and their own fasteners. One thing to keep in mind is not all board/fastener systems are interchangeable. The Fiberon Phantom HS is one of the most universal available.

phantom hidden deck fasteners
So what should you look for when considering a hidden fastener? First, stainless steel is stronger than plastic. Second, does the fastener lock into the board or just slot into the groove? Additionally, the Phantom fastener has twin spacer tabs to ensure consistent gapping, while some fasteners have only one spacer tab. Finally, the bottom of the Phantom is barbed so when the screw bottoms out, the fastener resists rotating, providing more consistent gapping.

The bottom line: Between the Phantom Fastener System, the Phantom Ballistic NailScrew Driver and the slot cutter bit, with some advanced planning, you can virtually eliminate all exposed fasteners on your outdoor living space.

 

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