Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

02 June 2006

Rebuilding the Deck

The deck originally attached to the house was never in great shape, but over the last six years it has declined significantly. We decided to resurface the deck, removing the old pressure treated and putting down composite decking boards. We elected to go with Verdana from Home Depot. Initially we selected a special hidden fastener called "Tiger Claw." These fasteners turned out to be extremely difficult to install. It takes two people to install a board slowly and three to install it efficiently. Further the are extremely weak in the center so driving the center screw even slightly harder than necessary will buckle the claw. Eventually, the Tiger Claw's were ruining my boards and simply too hard to install. Honestly, they suck in the worst possible way. On the good side, Home Depot was very helpful and took back not only the Tiger Claws, but also the Verdana decking boards damaged by the installation process.

To replace the Claws, I purchased standard box head decking fasteners called TrapEase by FastenMaster. The have both clockwise and counter-clockwise threads to prevent the board from mushrooming around the screw. To get the proper look, since we were walking away from a screwless deck, I wanted to ensure that all of the screws were in a line, the same distance apart on each board. I used ten penny nails to create an even gap between each board, a technique Tandy remembered seeing used by Riley (Bob Vila's carpenter). I then bought a highly water soluble white chalk, so as not to leave any permanent marks on the boards, and marked sites on each board, along the chalk line, where the screws should be placed. This would put the screws in a single line and on the same spacing on each board. The process has gone much faster now and we are now in a position to lower the back dack and build new steps. All good news!


At 04 June, 2006 16:03 , Anonymous brian said...

Thats good stuff.. do they also have this verdan stuff for railings etc.?

At 30 July, 2006 21:42 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a builder & also have found Tiger Claws to be a extremely laborous to work with when installing dense, composite decking. To properly install, the insertion point of each prong of the TC has to be pre-drilled -- a royal pain. The installation driving blocks that are included with the TC disintegrate long before the job is complete.

In theory, TC sound great, so I'm going to try them one more time with cedar decking. The softer wood should permit faster & easier installation.

Our local Home Depot no longer carries TC, by the way.

At 21 February, 2008 09:41 , Blogger MrGS said...

Hey if you want, I know a great place that carries tiger claw. Hopefully anonymous comes back to see this comment.


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