Any Trex Experts? Fighting Trex Hidden Fasteners

Discussion in 'Decks & Patios' started by harborremodel, Nov 22, 2018.

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  1. Nov 22, 2018 #1

    harborremodel

    harborremodel

    harborremodel

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    It's likely i'm being anal retentive about this but I'm using the trex hidden fastener system and it seems like the boards aren't quite closing tight to each side of the fastener. The trex boards seem to have a bow in them preventing them from snugging up to the fasteners. Granted the gap should be 1/4" and i'm more in the 5/16 - 3/8 on some of these gaps but i'm concerned that these small differences will add up over the 24 feet i have to go and end up causing me issues as i progress. I don't want an inadvertent fan design.

    I have a board bender headed my way from amazon but any suggestions would be appreciated on how to deal with this. It's the trex transcend product.
     
  2. Nov 22, 2018 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    If the boards have a warp turn them end of end, if they are just pushing out a little as you screw them down, apply a block to hold them straight as you screw them down.
    Always check periodically the distance to the finish line, make minor adjustments to get them back straight.
     
  3. Nov 25, 2018 #3

    harborremodel

    harborremodel

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    So I ordered the Stanley Board Bender https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002X1WJ/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 and it "sorta" works for wrangling the Trex decking tight to the fasteners but the design could be much better. The tool needs to be tweaked a bit before it could be considered really effective. I'll be returning it and trying a second board bender design that seems to be more promising. Each trex board does have to be worked from one end slowly to the other to make sure the gap stays tight.

    I have learned that the hidden fastener spacers are great but the screws that the system uses with the spacers get a pretty crappy bite in wet PT 2 x 8. It seems that more often than not the screw strips out the purchase in the wood with very little tightening.
     
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  4. Nov 25, 2018 #4

    bud16415

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    I have always just screwed a blocks down to the joist in a couple places and then drive a wooden wedge in to straighten up a crooked deck board. I would think it would work the same with the hidden fastener you would just leave the ones at the wedge for last as the others will then be holding it.


    Can you switch out the screws to longer screws?
     
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  5. Nov 28, 2018 #5

    harborremodel

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    Since I'm having to press the board tight for each fastener and its roughly 24 fasteners down the length of the deck, screwing in blocks wouldn't be feasible so the board benders seem to be the way to go for speed. The screws for the hidden fasteners are pretty specific screws and switching them out again would cost time and money I think. For the most part I'm just being very careful to not torque the screws too much but with such a small shank and smaller threads it's VERY easy to strip the screws purchase. I think this might also have something to do with the PT being a bit wet (Pacific Northwest weather). Trex should sell ones with longer screws though especially for our area.
     
  6. Nov 28, 2018 #6

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    I have used the same screws on pressure treated framing with all the same problems. After a couple decks we just turned down those jobs.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2018 #7

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    I don’t think screwing a block on is that time consuming, maybe one minute per block for on and off and knocking in the wedge. Three per board should do it and if you had 32 boards for a 16’ wide deck it would be 3x32 or 96 minutes more labor lets round it up and say it would take an extra 2 hours.


    Another method when I work on decks I keep a few C clamps around for clamping the warp out of 2X when making beams and such to pull them flat together and one or two short bar clamps to force the edges in line. I have often clamped a 4” C clamp to a joist to wedge against or pry against etc. 3 of those would work in place of blocks.


    Most of the time we spend more time thinking about to do something than the time it would take to do it.


    As to screw length and short screws, it would take some time to switch them out for sure but if they ever start popping loose with freeze thaw down the road it will be a lot more work fixing a hidden fastener system.
     
  8. Dec 6, 2018 at 9:00 AM #8

    harborremodel

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    At this point it's basically done and i'm hoping with time the boards will dry out and clamp down around those screws a but more. In the places where they strip i can usually just move it 1/2" bit over on the joist and try again. In the worst case when the screws just can't get any bite I run a composite deck screw diagonal through the groove into the joist and that holds it down well.

    The second board bender works well and snugs the trex board right up to the fasteners and with the long runs any slight variance in width isn't detectable. Hey first deck and seems to be turning out decent. Seems like I didn't get the rim joist perfectly lined up so my last decking board furthest from the house will be a slight wedge after i trim it and attach the facia.
     
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