While bashing nails or drilling screws into your beautiful new deck boards has long been the traditional way to install decks, those methods can lead to accelerated wear, costly replacements, and other avoidable problems. For years, leading contractors have sworn by one secret tool: the deck clip.
The Problem With Nails
Typically, deck boards are secured to the framework by two nails or screws at either end. But this can installation method can lead to significant problems, including:
Ugliness. Whether you’ve decided to use wood or composite decking materials, the last thing you want to do is punch holes in them where everyone can see, thereby compromising the otherwise smooth appearance of your deck.
Splitting. Since decks are all-weather constructions, exposure to the outdoors will cause the boards to naturally expand and contract depending on the temperature. Inserting foreign materials such as nails or screws into the boards creates stress areas that can’t compensate for the board’s natural movement, causing cracks and splits in the wood or composite decking material. In the worst cases, nails can pop up from the surface of the deck and take barefoot guests by surprise.
Water damage. If you’re building a cedar deck, the potential for damage is increased. Depressions in the wood left by nails or screws can collect water, leading to wood rot. With typical installation methods, water can also seep down the deck boards into the joists underneath, requiring expensive and time-consuming repairs to the deck’s foundation. In colder climates, collected water can freeze, causing wood to quickly expand and damage the support structure.
While these problems are universal to deck owners nationwide, it’s especially pertinent to moisture-rich climates like the Pacific Northwest. Thankfully, deck clips can help avoid all of these issues for a worry-free deck.
How Deck Clips Can Help
The guiding principle behind deck clips is quite simple. Instead of securing your deck boards from the top-down with nails or screws, deck clips are installed in between each board, snugly holding each one together. The clips are screwed to the joists themselves, creating a continuous floor surface that’s held tight to the structure yet maintains a smooth appearance. There’s no pre-drilling or gunky adhesive involved, and the unique deck clip design automatically spaces out each board for an even, consistent deck.
Deck clips provide a uniformity that makes cleaning, resurfacing, and board replacement infinitely easier tasks than with traditional nail or screw installation—not to mention the finished deck will look more attractive without grey nail heads dotting the surface.
It’s amazing what such a small, little-known tool can do when applied at just the right place. Deck clips may be tiny, but using them in your deck’s construction can play a huge part in keeping your deck a hassle-free paradise.