Deck screws play a crucial role in securing and fastening various types of decking materials. However, it’s important to note that not all deck screws are created equal. Different materials require different types of screws. For instance, the best deck screws for laminate floors may not be suitable for pressure-treated wood decks or composite boards.
The Importance of Material and Coating
When it comes to deck screws, the material and coating used in their construction are vital factors to consider. There are numerous options available that are specifically designed to excel in different applications. For example, stainless steel deck screws, often equipped with square drives, may be slightly softer than other screws, but they offer exceptional corrosion protection.
Certain screws are also coated to prevent corrosion. For instance, Grip-Rite deck screws feature a PrimeGuard Plus coating that comes with a lifetime guarantee against rust and corrosion. Deckmate screws utilize a polymer coating that boasts a similar lifespan. Additionally, Everbilt Screws offer a bonding material specifically designed for use with pressure-treated wood.
It’s crucial to choose deck screws with a protective coating to shield them from the elements, unless you opt for stainless steel screws. Keep in mind that the more extreme the environment, such as towering oceanfront beach houses, the more important it is to focus on the material of the deck screws.
Selecting the Right Auger Drive for Your Needs
When it comes to the type of drive in your deck screws, it’s safe to say that Philips and “horn” heads are outdated and less desirable. Instead, square drives or Torx (or similar “star drives”) are highly recommended. The Square (Roberts) drive provides better bit engagement than the Philips, making it easier to drive and less likely to strip the heads of stainless steel deck screws.
For coated screws, Torx or star drives (T-25) are preferred as they offer multiple points of contact. This results in a confident start and ensures that the bit remains securely in the fastener throughout the drive. In contrast, many coated deck screws still use Philips heads or variations of Philips-type drivers. However, apart from cost, there is no clear advantage to choosing these over the T-25 star drives.
Understanding Deck Thread Design
Gone are the days when a thread was simply a thread. Deck screw manufacturers have invested significant time and effort to improve and refine their products. Today, there are several thread designs that are specifically beneficial for installing fasteners on pressure-treated or composite decks.
Standard Thread: This is the basic, no-frills thread design that is widely available. These coated deck screws are cost-effective and do not incorporate any proprietary or patented technology.
Self-Starting Pointcut: Screws with self-starting (type 17) tangent points are ideal for preventing splitting, particularly when screwed into pressure-treated decks. This feature ensures that no water is introduced into your 5/4 deck, avoiding any potential damage.
Dual Thread Design: Some of the best deck screws feature a dual thread design. This allows the screws to use lower torque during the initial drive and then transition to a tighter thread to securely pull the top plate tight to the joists. Additionally, these screws often have ribbed features on the head that help bury it into the board when fully driven.
Reverse Thread Reduction Sprung Up: When it comes to screwing down laminate floors, sprung-up is a common issue where the area around the screw pops out, creating a raised surface. To combat this, screws with reverse threads near the top are utilized. These reverse threads help eliminate raised mushrooms and are often paired with a concave surface that pushes the material down, resulting in a flush finish.
Our Top Recommendations
After providing you with detailed information about techniques, coatings, and thread designs, we thought it would be practical to share our top picks – the screw brands we frequently use. Here are our recommendations, along with a brief explanation of why we prefer them over other types and brands.
Everbilt Exterior Wood Screws
These screws feature a sharp point and coarse threads that prevent cracking when working with pressure-treated decks. Equipped with a T-25 star driver, they ensure fast and efficient driving. Additionally, their coating enhances their durability, making them a reliable choice.
Grip-Rite Star-Drive Deck Screws (Composite Boards)
For composite boards, we highly recommend Grip-Rite Star-Drive Deck Screws. Available in brown, tan, and gray, these screws offer easy-to-drive coarse threads that start and drive smoothly. They also feature a tight reverse thread that pairs well with small pan heads to prevent mushrooming.
Deckmate Square Drive Stainless Steel Deck Screws
For the harshest environments, including coastal areas, Deckmate Square Drive Stainless Steel Deck Screws are our top choice. Made of 305 stainless steel, these screws are not overly soft, ensuring that the heads remain intact. With their coarse threads and crack resistance, they drive quickly and easily into pressure-treated wood.
Please note: Unlike other review sites that may simply recommend Amazon bestsellers, we only recommend products we actually use. Our team has been in the industry since 2008, providing reliable reviews and industry news coverage for the construction, automotive, and lawn care sectors. We rigorously test and evaluate over 250 products annually, ensuring that our recommendations are based on real-world experiences and honest opinions.
So, whether you’re working on pressure-treated wood or composite boards, choose the right deck screws that match the material and deliver exceptional performance. Your choice of screws can significantly impact the longevity and stability of your deck.