How To Install Composite Decking Using Clips

Updated: Aug. 20, 2021

If you're looking for a clean look on your deck surface with no visible screws, consider using deck clips.


Multiple Days






If you're looking for a clean look on your deck surface with no visible screws, consider using deck clips.

Tools Required

  • Carpenter's square
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Tape measure

Materials Required

  • Composite Decking
  • Deck Clips

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Starter Board

  • 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.

Step 3

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.


Step 4

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.



Step 5

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.


Step 6

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.




Step 7

Trim Boards

  • 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.

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