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
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.
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.
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