I am putting down 800 sq ft of 1x4 IPE and plan on screwing/plugging. I am
interested in getting specific advice/recommendations for doing this.
I am using pressure treated hem/fir joist.
What size stainless screw and length?
What type of drill bit (manufactor/type of metal) and size?
What to use for boring holes for plugs ?
How deep do you put screw below surface and should screw be countersunk?
Ever try making plugs yourself using cutter?
Anyone have a source for plugs cheapter than $.15 per plug that I was
Thanks for any suggestions you have time to write.
Did that a few years ago.
I made the plugs (over 1500 !!@@##!) with at veritas tapered plug
cutter. The one with three
"tines" that do the cutting. I have a drill press so this went fairly
quickly. I then set up a band saw jig
to cut off the plugs. This was not that bad a process and was most
likely a lot cheaper than the
price you were quoted since the plugs are made from scrap and cutoffs.
I used 5/4 mahogany with 3'' screws. I made a simple jig to align the
drill holes so that they were
uniformly spaced and so the bore was square to the deck surface. I
used a combo counter bore and
drill bit to do the holes. I went through three of these.
After counter boring and setting all the screws I started the plugging
process. I used polyurethane
glue. I would just dip the end of the plugs into the glue, set them
into the hole and drive them down
with a hammer. Once the glue cured, I cut off the proud ends of the
plugs with an offset saw and
sanded smooth with an RAS.
This is the third summer since I completed the work, and the plugs still
look great. I have a friend
who did the screw from below thing. He likes his but commented on how
the plugs give it a neat
One thing that I did do was to plan the deck board layout so that I knew
where the board ends would
butt. You will need to screw the ends of both boards at that location.
To make that process easier I
sistered an additional joist at those locations. I felt that that was
well worth the effort.
Rick C wrote:
Re: Sistering joists - my deck has doubled joists separated by 1/2" treated ply
at the 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 28, and 32 foot points. Ipe is sold in 2 foot
increments from 8 to 22 feet, so this worked well, and allowed the butt joints
(actually not butted - went with 1/8" separation) to drain water.
Ray Mandeville wrote:
I cut roughly 500 in Ipe - no big deal. Did a hundred or so per night
(about what can be done in a 1 ft x 6" 5/4 offcut - about 30 minutes to mill
and 30 to snap out) after loosing the light for outside work. Mahogany is
softer, but also tends to tear out more if there is any wobble in the
stock. A sharp cutter does the work with very minimal pressure, so it's not
like using a mortiser (no increase in pressure).
Touched up the cutter twice (once at about the 200 mark and once again after
finishing off what I thought I needed (plenty of left-overs as it turns
out). The trick is to cut at the lowest speed, and to avoid any side load.
Also avoid overlapping holes.
Don't bother with the precut plugs if you are using polyurethane - the foam
will force them out - use plugs cut with tapered plug cutters. I also
graded plugs by color to get a better match; however, in retrospect, this
If I were installing IPE decking, I would use the Eb-Ty fastener system. It
is slower than simply screwing the decking down, but you need to pre-drill
IPE anyway, so there probably isn't too much of a time penalty involved.
Eb-Ty installs from the top, which is a very nice feature. The fasteners are
basically little football shaped disks with a stem on the underside. To
install them, you cut a slot in the IPE with a biscuit cutter, then use a
stainless tseel screw to fasten the ebty in place, and lock it to the deck
board. The Eb-Ty forms a type of tongue and groove connection with the
decking. The nice thing about Eb-Ty is that it installs from the top,
requires plugs on just the first starter board, and the fasteners are
virtually invisible (you can see them if you look between the boards where
the decking crosses a joist.
In the interest of full disclosure, McFeely's sells Eb-Ty.
Please call us if you need further info, and ask for tech support
Jim Ray, President
McFeely's Square Drive Screws
Also look at Ipe Clip, EB-TY's competition. Differences are minor, and some Ipe
suppliers sell both systems. If you decide to do screws/plugs, McF's also
carries a good SS trim head screw for the purpose - similar to that provided in
the EB-TY kit..
Jim Ray wrote:
Unless you plan on buying drill bits and plug cutters by the
"gross", I would suggest you look at "Deck Master" fastners.
Take a peek here: http://www.deckmaster.com /
I bought mine from: http://www.mcfeelys.com /
They are the "way to go" in your particular story....
Rick C wrote:
Mmm...not my experience. Bought 4 - 7/64" PC quick change TiN bits, and after
almost 600 sq ft of 5/4 Ipe, I've still got two left. Did not manage to wear
out - both snapped due to side load courtesy of my less skilled laborers (the
little guys have to learn somehow). Same deal with forstner bit and countersinks
- touch them up every few hundred sf, and they should last the project.
As for plug cutters, I did roughly 200 plugs with an already pretty well used
Veritas Snug Plug cutter, and another few hundred after sharpening. If you can
sharpen a chisel, you can hone a plug cutter.
As to the Deckmaster strips, it's already a bear to control cam-out in SS
fasteners when the screw heads are in plain sight - not certain that it would be
much fun bottom fastening Ipe. Also - the Deckmasters show a shiny strip of
at each joist when new. This dulls over time; however, it is noticeable. For
about the same scratch, clips might be a better idea.
Pat Barber wrote:
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