How to install composite decking without screws?

Everyone knows that outdoor deck projects require more than one type of fastener to ensure that the deck stays strong and safe for years to come. People have different tastes in deck screws. Some people prefer visible screws, while others prefer screws that are hidden so they look neater. It depends on what the homeowner wants in terms of the appearance of the deck. Both options offer good performance.

But for most people, what they want people to notice is the beautiful beautiful look of composite decking. Therefore, they don’t want the screws used to hold the deck boards in place to ruin the overall aesthetics of the deck. This is where composite decking hidden fasteners come in. They secure the deck boards to the foundation from the side, keeping the surface of the composite decking aesthetically pleasing.

Many composite decking manufacturers offer matching hidden fasteners. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about finding the right fittings. In this article, let’s find out how to install composite decking using hidden fasteners.

install composite decking without screws

Tools and materials needed

  • Grooved edge composite decking
  • Clips
  • Hidden fasteners
  • Cordless drill/driver

Calculation material

Composite decking boards

Depending on the design style and size of your outdoor deck, calculate the number of decking boards needed. You can consult a professional decking contractor who will tell you the exact amount.

Starting Clips

For installing composite decking, you will need enough starting clips. COOWIN recommends 6 clips for every 16 feet of deck boards. COOWIN recommends 6 clips per 16 feet of deck board.

Concealed Fasteners

Fasteners are packaged in such a way that they will fit a certain square footage. To calculate the square footage of a deck, multiply its length by its width. a 10-foot by 10-foot deck measures 100 square feet, and a 20-foot by 40-foot deck measures 800 square feet. Again, we need to be sure to order 10% more so we don’t run out of fasteners.


Installing the Starter Clip

Starter clips are different from other hidden fasteners. For the most part, they are C-shaped and made of stainless steel for durability. The bottom of the clip is longer than the top, and there is a hole in the top that can be used to install Phillips or Phillips screws for outdoor use.

Start at the open edge of the deck with your back to the house. Align the edge of the clamp with the edge of the joist. This way, the hole will be in the center of the joist. Push the bolts in until they are level with the starting clips. For a 16-foot deck board, you will need to use approximately six starting clips. Starting clips are cheap, so it’s okay if you want to add more.

Slide in the first composite decking board

Composite deck boards have grooves on both sides. Place the decking board on the starter clips and slide it in. Please be careful not to apply too much force to avoid bending the starter clips. Tapping gently with your hand is also a viable method.


Put in the hidden fasteners

Move from the edge of the deck toward the house. Slide the hidden fastener locks into place in the grooves in the deck boards near one side. Make sure the bolt is in the center of the joist.

Some fasteners back come with pre-installed screws, while others require the insertion of separate screws. Make sure to use screws that are designed for outdoor use so that they do not rust or break over time.

Drive Screws

Use a drill/driver to screw the screws into the joists. You should choose a “cordless” drill as wrapping the legs, joists, and decking with the orange extension cord quickly becomes very annoying.

The screws should be screwed in until they are level with the clamps. If the screws are too tight, the clips won’t be flush and the clips will come off. Take your time to complete the first few steps. Soon you will be able to screw like a pro.


Repeat on all joists

During the installation of the deck, make sure that the screws are centered on the joists. And don’t forget to tighten the screws in the right way so they don’t twist.

Now that you have tightened the first row of hidden screws, you will need to tighten them again for each trim panel. This process is quick and without any problems, which is good. Then slide the deck boards onto the frame.

Reserve enough space

Outdoors, and composite decking will expand or contract with temperature changes. For installing composite decking, clearance is very important. If a good gap is left between two boards, they will not squeeze and warp. It is therefore recommended to leave a gap of 8mm for every two composite decking boards directly.

Installing the fascia boards

After you have installed the above steps to complete the installation of composite decking, you need to perfect your outdoor deck. You should cover the composite decking’s starting cleats and visible rim joists with a fascia board in a color that matches (or contrasts with) the rest of the deck.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, installing hidden deck fasteners not only gives composite decking a smooth and complete look but also provides a safe and durable structure. By following proper guidelines and ensuring proper spacing, you can enjoy a deck surface without visible screws or nails.

This not only improves aesthetics but also reduces the risk of tripping or snagging. Keep in mind that the exact installation method will vary depending on the type of fastener you choose, so be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or you’re working with professional, hidden deck fasteners provide a seamless, sophisticated finish that will transform your outdoor space into a beautiful, safe, and inviting haven for years to come.

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