I am building a cedar deck which will be about a foot and a half off
the ground (hard to work underneath). I have been debating using
hidden deck fasteners instead of screws and wondering if anyone had
suggestions. I have been looking at the Tiger Claws and thinking
that they might be better to use considering that I can't really get
under the deck. Deckmaster looks pretty good as well. EB-TY looks
like to much of a pain to use and too many steps to go through for each
piece. Another thing about the Tiger Claw is that is spaces the boards
for you as compared to the Deckmaster.
Does anyone have any suggestions, comments or evalutions of the
products I mentioned above.
I've done one tiny deck, about 6 X 10 with the joists literally at
ground level, using the EB-TY system and composite decking and it worked
out well. The amount of fiddling really isn't that much -- just cut two
biscuit slots in each decking board at each joist crossing. The actual
insertion and screwing-down go very quickly and the plastic biscuits
take care of the board spacing for you.
I have just completed my own deck rehab using both "Eb-Ty" and the "Tiger
Claw" systems. The former 2 level deck was original to the house and was
not maintained over the previous 18 years.
All of the original deck boards were removed and replaced with composite
decking although my comments apply for your cedar deck, as well. I've used
Trex at another house and was pleased, but ended up using Home Depot's
brand, "Veranda" because it was a few dollars cheaper than all other
composites and (I believed) it would always be available. The lower deck
was demolished and completed last Fall. This Spring the much larger main
deck was started.
I decided I wanted to use some form of hidden fastener and began the lower
deck with Eb-Ty fasteners, bought via Amazon, online. The Eb-Ty's come with
stainless steel screws. As you may know, each deck board must have slots
cut in each edge, as it passes over each joist. I bought a Ryobi biscuit
cutter from Home Cheapo for $99. Also, each board needs to be glued to the
under lying joist with construction adhesive. With a little practice,
installation is not difficult but does require a few steps and more time
that throwing nails into some pressure treated boards.
My lower deck is made up of adjacent 4' x 4' sections with one section's
deck boards running in one direction and the next section's boards running
90 degrees to the first. (I can see I will need to upload a picture or
two). Although the Eb-Ty's worked ok, I thought it might be better to use a
system that was available locally, not via Amazon. Therefore, back to HD to
buy a box of Tiger Claw fasteners (stainless screws purchase separately).
This system does not require slots cut in each board (and therefore no
biscuit cutter). Further, boards do not need to be glued down. However,
each deck board must be attached to the previous board, using a sledge
hammer. Not too difficult when dealing with 4' boards but this becomes
problematic with longer 12' or 16' deck boards.
The ultimate decision was helped along when I went back to Home Creepo to
buy another box of Tiger Claws and was told they don't carry them any
more!!! Anywhere. At any store. My complaints included the fact that I
was in the middle of a substantial project and now find out my supplier (HD)
has chosen to drop a key component. Their position: "Oh well...."
I immediately jumped online to Amazon and ordered 4 more boxes of Eb-Ty
fasteners. Next stop was Lowes to get a carton of Liquid Nails. The
finished project looks quite nice and it's amazing how many visitors notice
that no nails / screws are used.
As we were about half way thru the big deck, it became apparent the cutter
blade on the Ryobi biscuit cutter was getting dull and needed to be
replaced. Since Ryobi is a HD brand, that's where I went for a blade.
Guess what...they don't carry 'em! Their OWN BRAND and they don't have
cutters! I promptly went home, got the bisquit cutter cleaned up real good
and returned it to Home Crappo. I then used my store credit to buy a new
one. (BTW, this was suggested by one of the orange aproned guys. I don't
feel his idea was influenced at all by the fact that my hands were firmly
around his neck).
Finally, as is typical, I ultimately had to buy some additional Veranda deck
boards. Surprise! The color of new boards doesn't match older boards.
Sometimes not close. I know, I know...I was warned to buy all decking at
one time but sometimes this isn't feasible. I'm hoping as the boards fade,
they will more closely match.
If I were to do this project again, I would still go with Eb-Ty but would
probably select another brand of composite. There are way too many
alternatives that look very nice. One other surprise. Veranda gets hotter
that hell in the sun. Not good for bare feet. Apparently some other brands
advertise they stay cool.
I'll work on pictures.
Thanks for the Input Craven,
Another question I have though is when using cedar or pressure treated
there is some shrinkage in the wood. Is this a concern when using
the hidden fasteners. Is there a chance of the fasteners coming loose
from the wood? You have used both products.....which one would you
recommend (that is if I can get my hands on the Tiger Claws).
I have not used cedar in any big project but "warpage" is a common problem
with pressure treated pine. If the wood is to come in direct contact with
dirt and / or cost is the deciding factor, I suppose PT is a choice. I
ended up using 4" x 4" PT posts for the railing supports on my deck, then
hiding them with Veranda sleeves. Each post was anchored in concrete and
was absolutely square and plumb when installed but two out of four twisted
within a month, as they dried out. I believe cedar is not PT so perhaps
this would not be a problem.
Remember, each deck board is also glued to the joist so you are not relying
on just the fastener for long term stability, at least with Eb-Ty. Each
fastener is screwed to the joist with a 2" stainless steel screw so that
should last a while (time will say).
I would use Eb-Ty again over Tiger Claw. Not just because Tiger Claw is
available (or used to be, or maybe is again) from the holy H (ugh!) but
because of the effort involved in installing boards. I just checked their
web site and watched the installation video, which makes it look easier that
it was for me. It may be a bit easier with soft woods like cedar.
Another "groupie" endorsed "Deckmaster" but I don't believe that is an
option unless you like hammering while lying on your back.
I build a 350 sq ft deck 6" x 3/4" brazilian redwood using Eb-Ty
fasteners earlier this year. I looked at the Tiger Claw fasteners too,
but had serious doubts about being able to use them with longer boards.
The Eb-Ty method may be a bit more time consuming but I never consider
time to be an issue on a DIY job.
We've had a very hot and dry month of july here in Belgium and the
boards have shrinked substantially (spacing increased from the initial
3/32" in april to 1/4" now). Also, the edges of the boards have come up
about 1/16" to 3/32" resulting in a hollow board profile. Nevertheless,
the deck is still feeling quite solid and I see no signs whatsoever
about cracks or anything getting loose. One summer may not be long
enough to judge but I have confidence that the fasteners will hold.
A tip when using the Eb-Ty: do not fully thighten the fasteners for one
board until you have slidden in the next board. It may otherwise be
difficult to get the next board in.
The Deck Master system works fine and is quite quick
compared to the other systems. I did a 12x30 deck in a
very long day with little or no problems. I even build
these huge box style stairs using the Deck Master.
The "no fastner" look is wonderful to look at and even
better to walk on. I believe the fastners are the major
cause of failures in decks.
I would place the boards as close as possible together.
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