In Depth Extra: Deck fasteners
As consumers embrace outdoor living spaces, deck fasteners present a big opportunity for dealers.
After a strong 2017, the remodeling market is forecast to continue growing in 2018 and beyond—and that should mean big opportunities for the decking market as consumers look to improve their homes.
Homeowner spending on improvements and repairs will reach nearly $340 billion in 2018, an increase of 7.5% from 2017, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity from the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. That would be the highest annual growth rate since before the Great Recession.
And those in the decking fastener category think that should mean solid growth for their segment as well.
The decking market continues to evolve, with homeowners looking to make the outdoors like “another room in the house,” says Mike McFarland, PrimeSource Building Products’ Director– Specialty Fasteners.
Marty Ruch, Vice President of Retail Sales and Merchandising for MiTek Builder Products, agreed, noting that consumers are spending more of their time, effort and budget on the category.
“There is a big focus on outdoor living spaces,” Ruch said. “Home-owners are getting more creative and spending more money to enjoy their back yards.”
Complex, design drive opportunity
That creativity means fastener manufacturers are managing more design options and materials than ever before.
“CAMO Deck Fastening recognizes that decks are extensions of the owner’s home, creating multi-functional spaces,” explains Greg Palmer, Marketing Director for National Nail Corp. “Contractors are using everything from pressure-treated to Ipe and composites to PVC.”
Those varieties present a challenge for dealers, but also an opportunity to provide solutions contractors and homeowners need to achieve their desired look.
CAMO has a fastening solution “for every board and deck design” and “every material,” Palmer says. “And we are so confident in our fasteners performance that our warranty introduced in 2017 covers not just the fasteners, but the board itself when used following the manufacturer’s installation instructions.”
A major pain point for contractors is splitting deck boards. GRK has addressed that with its R4 Decking Screw and its CEE Thread, an enlarged knurl above the thread and below the smooth shank of the screw.
“A smooth shank on a screw often will create friction and that’s what leads to splitting,” says Marketing Manager Craig Christensen. “That CEE Thread enlarges that hole right before a smooth shank goes in, minimizing that friction. And then you get a nice finish drive and you don’t get any splits.
In decking when you get a split, essentially then you’re pulling out the entire board. You know, stopping what you’re doing, removing screws, removing the board. And that’s quite an obstacle for a contractor.”
With the investment that homeowners are making in their decks, choosing the right fastener is increasingly important, says Jim Miller, President and CEO of Screw Products Inc.
The company currently offers several solutions for both wood and composite decks, including stainless steel and coated carbon steel screws, available in 23 colors. At the same time, he notes that the company is always looking to improve on its products by listening to its customers.
“You learn more about your products by listening to your customers than you’ll ever learn on your own,” he says.
Miller highly recommends using a stainless-steel fastener in pressuretreated lumber, as well as for woods with high tannic acid content such as cedar and redwood.
The company’s Hidden Deck Clip System, composed of marine grade aluminum with stainless steel screws, is also a popular solution. Miller says there are a lot of composite decking companies providing their own clips with stainless steel screws. He says he thinks “that the face screwing should also be stainless steel based on the new treated lumber that everybody is stocking.”
The importance of the right fastener can’t be overlooked, he says.
“If they’re selling them a composite deck, that’s a 25-year warranty deck,” Miller says “Then the least expensive part of that deck is the fasteners. The fasteners should exceed 25 years. If that deck is warrantied for 25, then the fasteners should exceed 25.”
Kim Pohl, Marketing Director for Maze Nails, echoes the importance of choosing a fastener that matches the quality of the building materials.
“Many of the popular decking and siding products now offer 50- year and lifetime warranties, so how those products are fastened makes all the difference to the contractor and homeowner,” Pohl says. Maze is the exclusive manufacturer of double hotdipped galvanized nails marketed under the tradename Stormguard.
“Building product manufacturers and building codes are specifying and recommending hot-dipped galvanized nails versus electro-galvanized nails,” Pohl says. “Hot-dipped fasteners are preferred because of the long-term rust resistance they provide with the thick coating of zinc on the nails.”
Pohl also notes that Maze Nails are made at the company’s Peru, Illinois, facility.
“Builders and remodelers can be assured that when they use Maze, they are getting top quality nails all proudly made in the U.S.,” Pohl says. “Maze is one of the last remaining mills still making nails here in our country.”