Secure deck boards where hidden fasteners can’t reach
I’m building an ipé deck with a hidden-fastener system. From what I understand, I still need to screw through the face of the starter board and the end board. Is there any way to hide the fasteners?
Joshua Copp, via email, None
John Michael Davis, a carpenter in New Orleans, replies: I recently ran into the same situation. Hidden fasteners secure deck boards to joists from both edges of the board. Starter boards and end boards that abut a house or another structure, and boards that overhang the rim, can be fastened on only one edge, so you have to find some other way of securing the outer edge. The most common approach is to use screws and plugs. But I don’t want to fuss with those when I don’t have to, so I devised a system with clamps, biscuits, and glue (see “An Elegant Border for Your Deck”).
I did use stainless-steel screws and ipé plugs to attach boards where I couldn’t use clamps or biscuits, though (see my step-by-step process below). First, I drilled a hole for the screw, then a larger hole to set the head. I finished by gluing the plug in the hole. After the glue dried, I used a chisel to cut the plug even with the decking. EB-TY (www.ebty.com) sells screws and plugs specifically for starter and end boards.