How To Install Composite Decking Using Clips
IntroductionIf you're looking for a clean look on your deck surface with no visible screws, consider using deck clips.
- Carpenter's square
- Chalk line
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill
- Miter saw
- Safety glasses
- Tape measure
- Composite Decking
- Deck Clips
Project step-by-step (7)
Before You Get Started
- Check the decking specifications and local building codes for joist spacing. The most common is 16 inches on center. For a more rigid feel, 12 inches on center.
- Install blocking between each joist every four to six feet to reduce movement up and down and twisting of the joists, using exterior screws.
- Pro Tip: Screw a straight 2×4 on edge to the top of each joist before adding the blocking. This will ensure all the joists are level with each other.
- The first board you install, the starter board is the most important one.
- Depending on the shape of the deck, the first board can start at the house or at the outer rim joist.
- Use starter clips to fasten your first board or surface screws and plug the holes.
- Pro Tip: The last board may need to be ripped; it may look better against the house than on the outer rim.
Installing Deck Clips
- On the inside edge of the starter board, install deck clips at every joist into the groove along the whole length of the board.
Installing Deck Board
- Slide the next board up against the clips. Hold the board tightly, putting pressure against the clips. If available, use a board locking tool to help you hold the board tight.
- Fasten all the clips between the two boards securely using a drill (not an impact driver).
- Repeat the same process for each board.
- Pro tip: Let the boards hang over on both sides of the deck.
Expansion and Contraction
- Composite decking will expand and contract in extreme climates.
- Don’t leave a gap when two board ends butt together.
- Install double joists and use four clips, two per board, where you have a butt joint.
- Pro tip: Stagger the butt joints every other row so no two seams are next to each other.
Notching Around Posts
- To notch around the railing post, slide a deck board up next to the post. Place a square against the edge of the post and draw lines on each side of the post onto the board.
- To notch the depth, use a spacer or deck clip to create the gap between boards.
- Slide the end of the deck board up next to the post and place a square on the end of the deck board against the post. Draw a line onto the board between your two other lines.
- Cut out the notch using a jigsaw.
- Pro tip: Make the notch slightly bigger for a little wiggle room.
- After all the boards are installed, snap a chalk line and trim the ends to the desired length.
- Pro tip: As you continue to install deck boards, periodically take measurements to be sure the boards are parallel to the starter board.
Originally Published: August 13, 2020