who's used hidden deck fasteners?


I'm about to put a deck down for a customer using 3/4" ipe. I'm thinking of trying hidden deck fasteners. Does anyone have any experience with these they'd like to share? How much extra labor was it, and did you get squeaks, etc? I'm looking at the ebty system-- basically a bisquit that gets screwed to the joists. I see some sysems out there that don't look like they'd work with 3/4". Others that look like a ton of extra labor. Thanks in advance
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They are a lot more work than conventional fasteners. I tried the easier to install types that you are supposed to bang into the side of the material with teeth, but these perform very poorly in hard material like Ipe and composites. The spacing and flush-ness is horrible. The only ones I could recommend are the ones that allow for moving the material to maintain straight lines. Most of these require screwing in from the bottom into a piece of hardware or channel that is connected to the frame. 20 to 30 seconds per screw X hundreds of screws, but it comes out looking good and is durable. I have not used the wedges: because they are very expensive. But based upon my experience with the other styles of "cut-in" connectors you would probably need to make adjustments for real world conditions: oversizing the biscuit slots to allow for "wave deflection" between joists (unless you plane them all down to be perfectly flush) and a little slop for keeping the boards straight (unless you can devise a real world way to line the biscuits up perfectly and get the boards to slide into the biscuits precisely). It can be done if you allow for lots of extra time for tweaking every connection. This is an upgrade to achieve a superior look. It is an extra. Make sure you get paid for your labor.
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marson wrote:

I used the Eb-Ty fasteners to build a small deck (6 X 9) with composite decking over a PT frame. It worked easily enough and I don't think that it took more than 15 minutes to get a rhythm down and start moving at speed I'd usually get from normal screw-down. I believe that using ipe one is supposed to pre-drill for screw holes so the Eb-Ty fasteners might not be any slower even from the beginning. The only slight PITA in the whole process was the stainless trim-head screws are a bit more touchy than larger screws but using a proper screw lubricant on them probably would have taken care of that.
I'd certainly use this system again and when I build the larger deck at the end of the house I'll certainly use it again if something better hasn't come along.
--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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