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January 11, 2018
Fasteners for Building a Deck
When choosing fasteners for building a deck, Fasteners, Inc. in Denver has the most extensive selection of fasteners to select from and over 100 years combined experience. Our expertise enables us to offer all the products you need, whether you’re building a deck for your home or operate a business building decks for homeowners across Denver and throughout Colorado. No matter the situation, we only stock quality fasteners, giving you the ability to get the job done right.
With the massive selection of fasteners available these days, no one will say that it’s an easy decision to make. And you’ll likely find that there a few schools of thought for the various options. Bottom line, you want a new deck that’s as sturdy as it is beautiful. That means you’ll also need to consider factors such as climate, moisture levels, usage and the size of the build. So, whether you’re a novice or professional builder, let’s take a look at recommended fasteners for building a deck.
Nails vs. Screws
Each has their benefits, but nails and screws provide the builder with a different experience.
- Drive in almost as quickly as nails
- Excellent holding power as long as driven correctly
- Easier to remove as long as head is not stripped
- Missing the nail head may mar and damage the wood
- Difficult to remove nails
- Experienced builders sometimes prefer nails to screws
- Nails drive faster than screws
- Screws puddle water unless the nail is driven too deep
Sized by length, nails are either penny or d-size. The gauge of the nail, its diameter, increase as the penny size increases. Hence, an 8d nail is smaller in length and width than a 16d nail.
- Used for framing
- Have large heads with thick shanks
- Relatively hard to drive due to their bulk
- May split wood
- Similar to common nails
- Offer thinner shank
- Reduced splitting of ¾-inch wood and thinner
Spiral or Ringshank Nails
- Excellently grip of the wood
- Stay anchored
- Difficult to remove
- Offer thinner shanks with barrel-shaped head
- Use for trim
- Heartier option similar to finishing nails
- Stronger hold for finishing work
Coming in every size imaginable, a #10 Decking Screw is a popular standard screw size for building decks. You can choose from 2 ½ and 3 ½ inches, depending on the project. These screws are coated with an anti-corrosive. Usually coming with a square, Phillips, or combination head, so be sure to match the drill bit to the screw head, to avoid stripping. One can drive these self-sinking, sharp, and tapered deck screws just about as fast as a nail, so their great fasteners for building a deck. Although, square-headed deck screws drive the best.
While building your deck, you will need to fasten larger wood pieces such as posts. For this, use either a Carriage Bolt or a Lag Screw. Bolts are heavy duty fasteners and offer the capability to tighten down more, later, when the wood shrinks over time. Remember to always use a nut for these fasteners to avoid damaging and compromising the integrity of the wood below.
Other Fastener Options
Sometimes the average is just not good enough. In that case, we have other fasteners for building a deck.
Invisible Deck Fasteners
If you are going for an even finer appearance than average fasteners offer, try Invisible Deck Fasteners. With many options to choose from, you can up your decking game with fasteners that leave your new deck super clean, smooth and finer in appearance. These systems require fastening from below the deck, so are better suited for raised decks.
Often, invisible decking fasteners are used for contemporary designs with intricate patterns. They are somewhat more time-consuming and pricier, but they offer an uncluttered surface to admire. Although, deck clips are an option for working from the top of the deck, being easy to install.
Masonry fasteners for building a deck come with a pre-assembled anchor bolt that’s sleeve easily slides inside the pre-drilled hole, expanding against the sides and securing there as you tighten the bolt. To use this version, drill a hole of the same diameter but a ½ inch longer. Blow out any dust, then drive the bolt with the nut at the top of the threads. Do not allow the bolt to turn while tightening. Use soft metal or plastic expansion shields which spread out as the bolt tightens, by first drilling a hole of the same size as the expansion shield, then tighten the screw.
Speed up your deck project with help from a power-actuated fastening system. With a screw gun or nail gun, your deck will be completed even faster with fasteners for building a deck. Using either air compression, mini-explosives, chemicals, or power cell charges, power fasteners are expensive but can be rented for a reasonable price. Check out the advantages of using power fasteners:
- Can be used with only one hand, while the other hand can be used for alignment and steadying work
- A single measured blow is all it takes to drive the fastener, hence much faster
- No risk of bending or missing nailhead
- No chance of damaging wood due to missing nailhead
- Blunt tips on power fasteners rarely split wood
- Reach difficult spots easily
- Some power guns can be custom set to countersink the fasteners, leaving them perfectly flush for a better finish
Typical Fastener Sizing
With all of the fasteners for building a deck out there, it is worth noting the most common fastener sizing. This will help you get a quick start without making a big mistake doing it.
5/4 Decking with 2 ½ coated screws
12d Ringshank/Spiral nails
6d, 8d, 10d galvanized finishing or casing nails
Now that you know about some basic fasteners for building a deck, you can get started right away. The dedicated team at Fasteners, Inc. is ready to help out whenever you are ready to get started. Our vast inventory and friendly service will ensure that you find the perfect fasteners for every project.
December 19, 2017
How to Choose Wood Screw Length
At Fasteners, Inc. in Denver, we believe that knowing how to choose wood screw length is going to help you determine a better fastener to use and hence create a better product. We’d like to share some tips on just what to look for, depending on your specific project.
The American Wood Council offers a Connection Calculator that determines connector capacity. Be sure to check it out along with this guide to find out how to choose the right wood screw length for your upcoming carpentry projects.
There are two main types of screws for fastening wood out there. Utility screws (also known as deck screws) and steel / stainless steel screws. A utility screw is a workhorse; it’s used for framing and outdoor carpentry, coming in a range of materials, including corrosion-resistant metals. They work great with chemical-treated wood and are sold by the length.
On the other hand, steel and stainless steel wood screws are used for more precision woodworking projects including indoor furniture. They have a thicker body and are identified by length and gauge (thickness). Larger gauges are thicker, smaller gauges are thinner.
The main goal when choosing the right wood screw is to use one that is long enough and stout enough to secure the boards together efficiently without splitting the wood or poking through the other side.
First, drilling a pilot hole with countersink bit is the ideal scenario when working with hardwoods. Softwoods, on the other hand, probably do better without a pilot hole, as the screw gets its holding power via the wood fibers. Softwoods are less prone to splitting, so letting the screw grip the wood without a pilot hole will increase the screw’s holding strength.
Lateral Pressure vs. Withdrawal Pressure
The ultimate purpose of the piece you are constructing will determine the type of wood screw to use. If the piece will be subject to lateral pressure (pushing down or against), it is advisable to use a thicker screw.
If the piece is subject to withdrawal pressure (pulling apart), then you will want to make sure that the screw is long enough to withstand those forces. In this case, 1-1½ inches of screw thread should go into the receiving end. Obviously, avoid poking through to the other side of the board while doing so. If this is the case, then use a shorter screw but compensate by using more of them.
As a general rule, attaching two boards across the grain requires a shorter screw than when inserting into end grain, which requires at least two inches of screw thread into the board.
- For a sheer strength piece, use a ¼-inch lag screw
- Use #8 diameter utility or deck screw for most tasks
- Use 1¼-inch screw for basic tasks such as attaching ¾-inch boards across the grain
- Have on hand some 2½-inch utility screws for using into end grain
- Use 3-inch screw for 2x boards for into end grain, for a stronger connection
Hopefully, now you know how to choose wood screw length for your next woodworking project. At Fasteners, Inc. we are ready to help determine what wood screw you need and offer a wide assortment of fasteners for every project.
December 2, 2017
Bolts and Thread Galling
At Fasteners Inc. in Denver, we would like to share some pointers on bolts and thread galling. Thread galling is also known as cold welding and although that may sound like a good thing, it’s actually not! Once galling has taken place, the only way to get the bolt out again is to split the nut. Thread galling happens when the heat, pressure, and friction of a bolt being fastened causes it to seize to the nut, unable to move in or out again. If you’ve only secured the nut halfway, this can be very frustrating.
What actually happens during the process of thread galling is that the microscopic surfaces of the bolt thread have high points. Generally, they are passed over without incident, but sometimes those high points are too high, and they get sheared off increasing heat and friction. This in turns builds upon itself with more heat and friction, to the eventual point that it seizes and no longer turns.
Fine and damaged threads are particularly susceptible to thread galling. Most often, galling happens with titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel, especially when using lock nuts. These fasteners come with a protective oxide coating to prevent corrosion. Sometimes that film can get rubbed off or get scraped off. When that happens, the layer is no longer there to prevent metal on metal contact. This greatly increases friction, hence heat, and the chances of thread galling when fastening bolts with nuts. On the other hand, hardened steel bolts, particularly when plated with zinc, seldom gall.
Prevention is the key when it comes to bolts and thread galling. Here are a few tips.
Clean and Undamaged
Make sure that you are using clean and undamaged bolts, especially when it comes to fine threaded bolts. Check each one as you get ready to use it to ensure that there are not particles stuck in the threads and that the threads are even and aligned.
Stop if Galling Starts
Stop immediately, if you notice extra friction while fastening. Wait a couple of minutes for the nut and bolt to cool down, then back it out and start fresh with a new set.
There are a number of lubricants for this very purpose on the market. They are called either anti-seizing or anti-galling. Some nuts offer a waxed finish in order to prevent galling before it starts.
Even though we like to work at a quick pace, slowing it down a bit is going to help avoid galling. With less heat and friction happening, you will see fewer instances of thread galling. In some cases, it is best to avoid using power tools when working with stainless steel and nylon insert lock nuts.
Avoid Pulling Together Joints
Remember, that bolts are not made to bring joints together. Joints should already be held together (use a clamp if necessary) before using a bolt to fasten. Otherwise, your chances of thread galling are substantially increased. It’s worth the extra effort to avoid thread galling at all costs.
Extra Caution with Lock Nuts
When working with nylon insert lock nuts and torque nuts, they generate a significant amount of heat and friction. Try to keep your speed down or consider switching to an alternative locking mechanism.
Now you have a real handle on bolts and thread galling. And you’re better equipped to have a successful project without this issue to deter your results. Count on the experts at Fasteners, Inc. to help you not only find the right fastener system but be more productive by avoiding thread galling.
November 17, 2017
Deciding on a Nail, Bolt or Screw
Where do you go for help when deciding on a nail, bolt or screw? Fasteners, Inc. in Denver has an inventory of over 30,000 items and if we don’t have the perfect nail, bolt or screw for your projects, we’ll get it. When you are securing, attaching, and fastening it’s hard to know which fastener is the best. They come in different lengths and gauges or thicknesses. They also come in a variety of metals. There are a lot of considerations. For example, some metals are more corrosion-resistant and others are less expensive but may rust if exposed to moisture.
So, you have to think about the gauge, length, and type of metal you need for your specific application. Then there’s always the big factor of price. What you have to do is evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each kind of fastener and find out what applications each one is best suited for. We can discuss these considerations with you and guide you in making the right choice when deciding on a nail, bolt or screw.
Uses of Nails and Screws
Nails can be hammered by hand or shot out of a nail gun. They are great when you need basic construction and the components won’t be facing strong force or pressure.
There are some things to think about if you are trying to choose between nails or screws:
Nails are usually cheaper than screws
If you are working on a tight budget, nails are the best way to go, if both nails and screws would do the job equally well.
Nails are faster to use
A few pounds from a hammer can drive the nail but installing a screw takes more time.
Nails are more flexible than screws
If you hit a nail with a hammer at the wrong angle it will bend. Screws don’t have that flexibility. A screw will just snap in two if it has too much weight or pressure on it. On the other hand, you can pummel a bent nail to make it straight and reuse it again. Screws are much more brittle under pressure. When gravity and weight bear down on a nail, it has less strength than a screw to withstand that pressure. It will continue to bend until its holding power fails or it justs snap off if the force is great enough.
So, how do you decide between nails and screws on particular projects? It depends on the demands being put on the fastener. Here are some examples: If you need to hang heavy cabinetry on your kitchen wall or put up bookshelves, don’t use nails. The heavy cabinets and shelving will collapse as soon as the nail bends.
But nails are perfect if you are putting up 2 x 4 studs to make a wall. Most homes have nailed studs, sheetrock, and wood, as well as nailed flooring. Nails are usually used to attach molding around the edges of your floor, or tacking decorative molding around the frame of a doorway. Finishing nails, with the tiny heads are great for many decorative applications because they can be hammered flush or even below the surface of the wood. After that, a wood filler can be used to cover over the spot where the nail went in. This makes the nail almost invisible and gives it a nice finished look.
It’s a good idea if nails are being used to construct something, that you also use proper adhesives to help bind the joints together. This will give it some additional support and help take some of the pressure off the nails so they hold their strength and don’t bend.
Sometimes you might need a specialty fastener that combines the screw design with devices such as anchors or toggles that spread open inside the wall. The anchor acts similar to the nut on a bolt to hold it there in case the screw begins to fall out. The anchors and toggles on specialty screws keep the shaft of a screw from becoming dislodged and falling out of its hole.
Washers are flat discs that are used along with screws or bolts and give a stronger hold. It also provides a protective buffer so the screw or bolt doesn’t scratch up whatever it is surrounding it. A cup washer is a specially-shaped washer that works well for aesthetic or decorative reasons because many people think they are more attractive. For example, if you are using screws that are exposed and you want a clean and neat finished look, use cup washers.
Now let’s talk a little bit about screws. They tend to work best when the application will be experiencing forces of weight, pressure or gravity. Screws are shaped like a corkscrew to let them to bore into the wood and grip it tightly. This strength makes it hard for the wood or other material to wiggle or move and creates a sturdier placement. If it was a nail, the extreme weight or any pulling or pushing would cause the material to slide off the nail.
But what about bolts? In what applications do bolts perform best? If the application requires strength, holding power, or the convenience of easy disassembly, then the best bet is to use nuts and bolts.
Taken apart or disassembled
Bolts are great for any project that will need to be easily taken apart or disassembled. For example, bunks beds use bolts.
Extreme holding strength
Bolts offer huge holding strength. Did you know that trucks and even massive structures like commercial buildings are sometimes held together with bolts? Bolts are held in place with nuts which can be tightened by using a pair of pliers or even a wrench. The wheels on vehicles are usually bolted into place and the lug-style nuts are tightened using a tire changing tool or a pneumatic wrench that is powered by compressed air. That gives it a tight fit that guarantees it won’t shake loose, even under the intense force of high road speeds or over rough terrain.
Another consideration when deciding on a nail, bolt or screw is the strength of the material the fastener is embedded in. Some material can become so weak or deteriorated that no fastener will work. We can help check the recommendations of manufacturers and local building codes when choosing the right gauge and type of metal. Fasteners, Inc. in Denver can help you make the right choice of fasteners, so your construction project can be successful.
October 12, 2017
Choosing the Right Fastener for the Build
At Fasteners, Inc. in Denver, we know that choosing the right fastener for the build is a key decision. If you have a construction project, the right choice of fasteners means a successful completion of your work, so it’s important to understand the type and scope of the project and role the fastener plays in it before you can determine which fasteners will work best. Once you have that nailed down, you can rely on us for an extensive inventory of fasteners. Nuts, bolts, screws and more – we’ve got them for prompt, accurate delivery or shipment.
Let’s look at some of the types of fasteners and different kinds of projects and which ones might go together, taking into account the project, materials, durability, and design.
Types of Fasteners
These have a cylindrical protrusion on top of the head. You need a rivet gun to put the rivet through holes drilled in the materials to fasten. The gun makes the tip of the rivet collapse against the back of the material. This flattens out the tip of the rivet, pulling the material together against the head of the rivet. This makes the materials squeeze together. Rivets are durable and tamper-proof. They are also inexpensive. However, rivets need pre-drilled holes and high-quality tools. Rivets are hard to remove so make sure they’re what you need when choosing the right fastener for the build.
Threaded fasteners, screws are good at holding two pieces of materials together. They are driven by rotation. The screw threads grip and hold the materials and pull the two pieces tightly together. The head of the screw stops the screw when it reaches its proper depth. Screws offer a secure hold but are easily removed. They seldom become loose and there are a large variety of styles. However, it’s hard to hide the screw head and it can sometimes strip. Screws sometimes rip and tear the materials.
These fasteners are like dowels but are metal. Pins are pressed into materials to hold them together. They might have holes on either end, so a clip can be placed into it to secure the pin. Pins are easy to install and remove if not pressed. They can be used as a good temporary fastener. However, pins can be hard to get a tight connection and need drilled holes, so it’s an important decision when choosing the right fastener for the build.
Spiked pieces of steel, nails are driven into the wood to hold the wood or something attached to it securely in place. A hammer or are a nail gun are used to drive them in. If you are dealing with nailing into concrete, a tool with an explosive charge is used. Nails are easily installed, particularly if you have an air gun. They can be countersunk into trim materials and they are inexpensive. However, nails sometimes work loose, split materials, and if your hammer misses, the small head it can damage the materials.
This kind of fastener is U-shaped and is fired into materials to hold them together or keep them in place. You will need a spring-loaded or air-powered staple gun. Staples can be installed fast and removed easily. They can be a good temporary fastening solution and they can bridge seams. However, staples can be loosened easily. They are not load bearing and sometimes they rip through light materials.
These are wooden cylinders that are placed in drilled holes with two different pieces of material. They are tightly pressed into the drilled holes and are secured with wood glue. Dowels have strong holding ability. They are easily installed and you can’t see them. However, you can’t remove them. The drilled holes have to match perfectly and there needs to be time for the glue to dry.
Nuts and Bolts
Threaded fasteners placed in holes drilled through two or more materials are bolts. A threaded nut is placed on the threaded bolt to hold the materials together by screwing it tightly. Washers are used under the head of the bolt to add more holding power. Lock washers or locking nuts are often used to prevent the nuts from loosening or falling off. Nuts and bolts are secure and offer high load bearing. They are easily removed and come in a variety of sizes. However, they require pre-drilled holes in order to install them and you will need multiple tools to tighten them.
Of course, these are just a few of the more common fasteners. There are many other specialized fasteners that are used for specific needs. What material you are working with is key for choosing the right fastener for the build. Keep in mind that most construction projects will be using many different materials, so you will need many different types of fasteners.
Let’s examine what fasteners would be recommended for certain projects. Just a reminder, choosing the right fastener must be followed by the proper use and installation.
Screws or nails are used to install roof panels. Nail guns make a roofing project go faster. You can use staples to hold down the roof tar paper. Roofing nails are best for asphalt shingles.
If there are wooden studs, nails are an option for installing drywall but most of the time you will be using drywall screws. If you have metal wall studs, then drywall screws are the only choice.
Nails can be used for trim work. Using a brad nail gun, brad nails attach trim, moldings, and surface pieces for a nice finish. In areas you can’t see, you can use screws. Dowels are used when all the sides will be visible.
Using a construction adhesive is the first step in attaching furring strips, but you might also want to add one or two fasteners like concrete screws, anchors or lag screws, per strip for extra holding power.
Screws are often used for building decks. The planking, railings, and slats are installed with deck screws which are specially designed for easy installation and rust resistance. The actual deck structure would be bolted together with high-grade nuts and bolts.
Tell us what your project is, and our fastener experts at Fasteners, Inc. in Denver can get you the best fasteners. It’s important in choosing the right fastener for the build to consider the project, the materials, the durability, and the design. Our inventory is large and we can deliver or ship your fastener order.