In Depth: Fasteners

By / 2 weeks ago
In Depth: FastenersMiTek’s new ProSeries line of fasteners includes MiTek Washer Head structural wood screws (shown), MiTek Bugle Head structural wood screws and MiTek Hex Head structural wood screws.

All fasteners are not created equal-and the right ones can mean big savings for contractors and profits for dealers

Hidden Deck Fastening System

The Simpson Strong-Tie EB-TY Hidden Deck-Fastening System is designed for use with premium hardwoods, as well as traditional wood deck materials. Simpson Strong-Tie has redesigned the system by integrating a Type 300 series stainless-steel reinforcing plate that adds stiffness to hold boards in place securely, yet maintains flexibility when seasonal contraction and expansion occur.

U2 Fasteners Universal ScrewU2 Fasteners Universal Screw is designed to replace old deck screws. The features of the Universal Screw work together to drive and secure this screw in many types of materials that are used in residential construction: The Tapper Point, consisting of the Cork Screw Start and Blade Cutting Thread, helps for easy piercing and alleviating strain on the material; the Tight Star Recess system grasps the U-Bit tightly and can be installed with one hand and the Reamer Thread enlarges the hole to create a passage when drawing materials together and reduces tension for the screw head.

Grabber Drywall Screws

Grabber Construction Products has applied its Vector point technology to drywall screws in metal framing applications. The new screw is designed to drive much faster with a much sharper and steeper-angled point compared to traditional fine thread drywall screws.

Maze galvanized Nails

Maze Double Hot Dip Galvanized Coil Roofing Nails are 100% Made in the USA and Miami Dade County Approved.

DeckWise hidden fasteners

The DeckWise Extreme line of hidden deck fasteners are concealed between deck boards so nothing can detract from a beautiful decking surface. The hardened exterior polymer shell of the Extreme deck fastener are engineered to add UV resistance, and the integrated spacer legs guarantee even and consistent gap spacing between each deck board.

National Nail CAMO Deck Screws

National Nail has expanded and updated its limited warranty on CAMO Edge Deck Screws, which are part of its CAMO Edge Fastening System for virtually any of the popular, solid core deck boards on the market. The new expanded warranty will cover replacing any damaged boards as well as fastener corrosion. Not meant to replace decking manufacturer warranties, the CAMO Edge Deck Screws limited warranty says the product will be free from defects in material and workmanship as well as guarantees against rust and corrosion for the life of the project in which the product is first used.

Huttig-Grip Industry Best Labeling

Huttig-Grip’s goal is to provide “industry best” labeling and packaging for its construction fasteners, with features including the largest Mylar window, color-coded bands and application shots in the background of all the labeling. Labeling also includes the actual size of the fastener on the box, while all 50-pound boxes of nails, all bulk boxes of screws and all 21-degree collated fasteners feature the Huttig-Grip Handle System.

Intercorp Strong-Sheild

Intercorp’s new Strong-Shield® coated, corrosion resistant, self-drilling screws from are said to be about 50% less expensive than stainless steel fasteners, while offering more than 40 times as much corrosion resistance as zinc. Strong-Shield coated products are described as ideal for coastal and other regions where corrosion is a concern. They offer a high degree of corrosion resistance which includes exceeding 1,000/hrs. of salt spray resistance, 15 cycles of Kesternich for rust/acid rain protection, and ACQ compatibility.

Screw Products Star Drive

Screw Products, Inc. has received confirmation from ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES), that its CCTX Star Drive Structural Lag Screws and Timber Hex TH & THG 5/16″ Hex Head Structural / Landscape Screws comply with the provisions of the 2015, 2012 and 2009 International Building Code® (IBC) and 2015, 2012 and 2009 International Residential Code® (IRC).

GripRitestainless cleats

Grip-Rite stainless steel flooring cleats from PrimeSource are engineered to extend the life of tongue and groove porch flooring projects.

Ornamental Wood Ties

OZCO Building Products is the originator of the Ornamental Wood Ties hardware category, offering high-quality structural connectors for use in decks, pergolas, benches, fences, gates, gardens, planters, and posts (shown).

Fasteners are an oft-overlooked part of a project, taken for granted while flashier building components get all the attention. But having the right fastener for a job can mean reduced time spent on a project for the DIYer or more efficiency, better performance and greater profits for the contractor and dealer.

Innovations that make customers, especially pro contractors, more efficient can mean big cost savings.

“If you’re a drywall hanger you’re making your money by the square footage of drywall you hang each day,” says Bevan Wulfenstein, Director of Marketing for Grabber Construction Products. “The faster you can drive screws and the more consistently those screws drive, the more drywall you can hang. And the fewer screws you waste, the more money you’re going to save in that process.”

For Grabber, that means focusing on improvements that make life easier for the end user.

“The innovations that Grabber has brought to market are all about faster drive times and better application performance resulting in less waste and failure and that’s where we spend our time,” Wulfenstein says. “We’ve got screws…that improve drive speed as much as 40% to 50%. And 40% to 50% is a fraction of a second. But when you take that fraction of a second and you extrapolate that over 10,000 screws, you’re saving hundreds of dollars on a job.”

Marty Ruch, Vice President of Retail Sales and Merchandising for MiTek, echoes that sentiment.

“Every pro wants to do the job fast, efficient and correctly,” Ruch says. “They don’t want to have an inspector flag anything. They don’t want to have any callbacks because of visible corrosion or problems like that.”

Efficiency equals success

Fastener manufacturers continue to roll out new products aimed at capitalizing on the need for speed, efficiency and accuracy in construction.

Simpson-Strong Tie has introduced new innovations with that goal in mind, says Robert Shirley, Product Marketing Manager, Fastening Systems.

“The new Strong-Drive WSV Subfloor screw has been developed for fastening subfloor sheathing using the Quik Drive auto-feed screw driving system,” Shirley says. “Its redesigned tip and thread pattern provides easy starts and up to 25% less torque which can lead to 20% faster installations.”

Less installation torque also means less wear on tools, Shirley notes, again saving the contractor time and money. Also simplifying tasks at the jobsite are fasteners that don’t require pre-drilling, such as the Strong-Drive SDWH Timber-Hex HDG, a structural fastener designed to replace lag screws/through bolts.

“The SDWH HDG does not require the additional pre-drill and pre-bore steps required when installing bulky lag screws/bolts,” Shirley says. “Also, because the SDWH HDG does not require a nut, it allows for single-side installations— easier, quicker and safer installations.”

The company’s auto-feed screw driving systems also provide a means of quickly completing repetitive fastening jobs that require a large number of fasteners, he says: “These Quik Drive systems are designed to reduce waste—no more fumbling around for fasteners, dropping and losing large quantities on the jobsite—and provide a more secure connection.”

PrimeSource wants to make sure its fasteners exceed the expectations of its customers for all types of interior and exterior applications.

“The need for speed to install saves time and money,” says Michael McFarland, Director of Specialty Fasteners. “Whether you are a professional contractor or DIY, we have the fastener for you that serves this focus. Our new multi-purpose screws have a T-Star Plus drive that allows for the most positive bit engagement and virtually eliminated cam outs. We continue to raise the performance standards on all fasteners we supply.”

Speed can also mean getting stock in hand sooner, McFarland says, making sure dealers can meet their customers’ needs.

“Local stock, expedited shipping and our wide range of package options invites the dealer to look to PrimeSource for their fastener needs,” he says. “We are able to provide the most complete line of fasteners to the trade from our local warehouses and encourage our dealers to top load their orders with our wide range of product options. In addition, our knowledgeable and local inside and outside sales team are ready to serve, answer technical and application questions.”

Sometimes a small change in design can make a big difference for the user, notes Kurt Hogard, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for U2 Fasteners.

U2 Fasteners is a relatively new company, in business less than two years. As the company conducted market research before launching, it found pain points users had with traditional screws.

A “feature we have on our fasteners is the screws stick on the heads,” Hogard says. “Most screw companies that have a star-drive, their punch inside the head is rounded to make that star. Our punch for our fasteners are shaped like a gear, with corners on each edge, so you’re having more bite on the bit. With most other screws, you’re going to have to hold the screw and hold the drill, then you don’t have three points of contact on the ladder.”

Based on its market research, U2 also changed the design of the tip of its screws.

“With a Type 17 point, [you have] a slice on the end of the screw…but it cuts the threads in half so you have no continuous threads around the tips of the screw, when trying to bite into material, it just spins until it makes a hole and bites,” Hogard says. “We changed the tip of our screw to have one full revolution of thread around the tip and then we have our Tapper Point which is a slice on an angle to relieve the tension where the screw goes from point to thicker shank.”

This fall, MiTek is launching its new ProSeries line of fasteners, which will include MiTek Washer Head structural wood screws, MiTek Bugle Head structural wood screws and MiTek Hex Head structural wood screws.

“For the end user, the pro, we are really the one-stop shop, you get the hardware, the fasteners…that you need,” Ruch says. “We have a wide variety of lengths depending on what you want and different head styles.”

All of the ProSeries fasteners feature a “cut point” eliminating the need for predrilling, just one element of what Ruch says is a focus on ease of use.

“Another thing is that when you’re dealing with LVL or some of the treated lumbers they can be denser and more difficult to drill a screw into, so the way we’ve designed the tip…we want to make sure they can drive these easily and it’s not going to burn the battery at a faster rate,” he says. “Your contractor wants to get on a job, get it done and move on.”

Grabber defines the quality of its products based on how they make the contractor’s job easier and more profitable, Wulfenstein says.

One of those innovations is the Vector point screw, which Grabber has been using for metal framing for several years.

“The speed improvement is considerable,” he says. “They will penetrate and drive into steel, especially light gauge steel, a lot faster than traditional fine thread framing screws. We’ve taken that technology and we’ve applied it to our drywall screws. So for metal framing applications we’ve got a Vector point drywall screw that’s coming out that’s just phenomenal, just going to drive a lot faster than traditional fine thread drywall screws.”

Another innovation along those lines is the company’s Scavenger head screws.

“Scavenger head drywall screws have been around for a while but it’s still something that is unique to Grabber. A Scavenger head screw has a small ring just underneath the bugle head,” Wulfenstein says. “When you’re driving a Scavenger head screw the head will indent the paper a bit as it seats, reducing a chance the drywall will tear and flag. Again, it’s a small thing but it’s a thing that saves people time and money down the road that performs quite well.”

Aesthetics drink innovation

Speed isn’t the only factor creating change in the market, of course.

Consumers and contractors are also looking for fasteners that are aesthetically pleasing for a variety of materials, especially in decking applications.

“There are more different kinds of decking material out there than ever before between thermally modified softwoods to composites, as well as exotic hardwoods,” says Roderick Kabel, DeckWise Marketing Director. “The key is to make sure your product is versatile to withstand the rapidly changing trends.…Consumers today are willing to invest in quality, especially when it comes to building materials.”

Hidden fasteners continue to be popular with consumers for their versatility and appearance. DeckWise’s clip is designed to be compatible with most of the popular decking materials and has a symmetrical profile, allowing either side of the deck board to be used.

“The DeckWise Extreme series is the original hidden deck fastener with a patented stainless-steel insert molded inside the clip,” Kabel says. “This is an enormous attribute to our deck fastener because the fastener is one solid piece that holds its strength integrity over time. The hardened exterior polymer shell of the Extreme deck fastener also adds UV resistance, and the integrated spacer legs guarantee even and consistent gap spacing between each deck board.”

Simpson Strong-Tie has redesigned its EB-TY Premium Hidden Deck-Fastening System by integrating a Type 300 series stainless-steel reinforcing plate that adds stiffness to hold boards in place securely, yet maintains flexibility when seasonal contraction and expansion occur.

“Combine this innovative new design with our EB-GUIDE predrilling tool, and you have a system that not only provides hidden strength, but also is easy to install,” Shirley says.

The company has also introduced new load-rated versions of its Deck- Drive DWP Wood SS stainless steel structural deck screws.

“The Deck-Drive DWP Wood SS screw is a powerful fastening solution for deck, dock and general exterior applications where extra corrosion protection is needed,” Shirley says. “These screws are an ideal solution for exterior structural connections, such as docks, boardwalks and decks near water, or where they will be exposed to high or severe corrosion.”

Recognizing the importance of working with increasingly popular composite decking materials, National Nail has extended the warranty on its CAMO Edge Deck Screws. Applying to most brand-name solid core deck boards on the market, the warranty will cover replacing any damaged boards as well as fastener corrosion. National Nail is heavily promoting the system and the new warranty to contractors through events and testimonials from builders.

“We have an entire marketing and ad campaign designed to let decking contractors know how well the CAMO Edge Deck Fastening System works with composite and PVC decking, beyond just wood,” says Marketing Director Greg Palmer.

The company has also been holding demo events throughout the country and its “CAMO Screw Off” at LBM dealers in the Northeast this year, with contractors competing in a speed contest to win prizes including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“Dealers get engaged in the event with their contractors by providing food and beverages, and cheering on the contractors during the competition,” Palmer says. “These events generate excitement and create buzz for the product lines.”

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Jonathan Sweet

Jonathan Sweet is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor who has covered the construction industry for both consumer and trade publications for more than 15 years.