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Thread: Screws or Nails

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Screws or Nails

    I'm getting started on my deck. Finally! One question I've been kicking around is to use mostly screws for my framing or nails. My county allows for both. What do you guys prefer?

    The decking will be all screws.

    I have found myself leaning more towards screws since they tend to be easier to place and if needed remove.

    If I go with screws I'll be in the market for an impact driver. Recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Mike, every deck I've ever seen made with nails has nails popping up out of the wood all over. Looks bad and is not safe, IMO.

    I have a Ryobi 18v impact driver that works real well. It came in a combo set with a drill as well. Had it for 3 years now and have also used it to put in 4" long 1/2 lag screws.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
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  3. #3
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    One of the best deals on a great driver...for your decking.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-PS20-2-1...614209&sr=1-22 Look at getting the quick bit/driver set too...

  4. #4
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    I'm sorry but it's not clear to me whether you're referring to the framing or the decking. It it's the decking, I prefer self tapping screws with small heads OR some type of hidden deck fastening system. If you're talking about the framing, I've always used nails with the exception of attaching the ledger (assuming an attached deck) to the house. I guess screws would work for this but would be very time consuming. Frankly, I don't see the benefit.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    One of the best deals on a great driver...for your decking.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-PS20-2-1...614209&sr=1-22 Look at getting the quick bit/driver set too...
    Greg, that driver is nice, but it's not an impact driver. Big difference. I have a Metabo pocket driver similar to the Bosch, but it's not even close to being suitable for installing decking. My Hitachi impact driver, on the other hand, would be great for such a job.

    I never could figure out what all the hoopla about impact drivers was all about. Then I got one. Now I understand.

    Mike, I've never built a deck, but I'd go with screws.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    I have pounded a ton of nails into decks of all sorts, Also have built a few with screws, both Phillips and square head. and used a nail gun to sink several thousand nails. Results are different with each. Hand pounding of the old days usually resulted in nail heads lifting (or being left behind when the PT wood shrinks as it dries) Phillip Screws is a Pain and constant aggrovation. Square head screws are a great improvement . Rapid fire framing nailer is my first choice because.... (1) Using coated nails the gun set the head just under the surface preventing the wood from shrinking and leaving the head behind and the coating holds them secure, (2) Speed of application which is reflected in less back problems and elbow aching, you can do a whole deck top in one day , all by yourself. (3) Screws are slow and require a lot more work and muscle tension as well as bending over for longer periods and the torque on your neck and back will tell the toll.

    As for a great kit, I would opt for the Ryobi tool kit that contains the 18v Driver, Sawsall, circular saw and jig saw (can't figure why they even mess with that dumb light) All the tools you need for a fine looking deck and the ability to add decorative features like ogees on the ends of beams or rafters, cutting out notches and cross laps. holes for rails to pass through the decking, etc. It is a great kit and after 3 years with mine I still marvel on how well it works.

    I was building decks when folks thought they were on top of boats and pounding nails by hand back in the 70s Did it for summer employment back in the days of wine and roses. my last creations were for my kids with two for my son and three for my daughter (or 4 if you include that little one on her other house. Several folks have called me and requested I build another deck on their house as they have moved and the contractor's junk was falling down. So I speak with some experience but this is my opinion and I am sure there are others who prefer otherwise.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Greg, that driver is nice, but it's not an impact driver.


    Wrong link... Here's the one I intended to post. http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-PS40-2-1...2629013&sr=1-3


  8. #8
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    Bill - the decking will be screwed. We are planning on usng Timbertec a composite like Trex. The framing was what I was thinking of using screws for. The thought of reliving my days in construction during high school (30 years ago) was not what I was looking forward to. Sore back wrist and forearm is not fun. So maybe it is time for a good framing nailer....

  9. #9
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    If you are talking specifically about the framing of the deck, you definitely need to take in the factor of shear strength. Screws for framing a deck I have never actually heard of, but then again I'm still kind of young But I know screws do not have NEAR the amount of shear strength that a 16d nail would. I would suggest buying a framing gun and have at it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Westley Rosenbaum View Post
    ... But I know screws do not have NEAR the amount of shear strength that a 16d nail would...
    I hadn't thought about that aspect, but you're right.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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