Replace deck boards. Nail or screw?

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Forum topic by MHW posted 04-14-2017 05:25 PM 1647 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 1214 days

04-14-2017 05:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: deck replace replacement decking nails screws question advice

I want to replace the deck boards. The current deck boards are adhered with nails. Considering Midwest weather changes, should I use nails, rather than screws, when replacing the boards to allow for better expansion/contraction?

11 replies so far

View buckbuster31's profile


256 posts in 1322 days

#1 posted 04-14-2017 05:28 PM

I would, hands down use screws. no doubt in my mind.

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 3873 days

#2 posted 04-14-2017 05:36 PM

Man, I don’t know of any contractors worth their salt that still nail decking. I’d go composite now, and connector clips.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View LiveEdge's profile


600 posts in 2426 days

#3 posted 04-14-2017 05:46 PM

I think the reality with a deck is you aren’t “allowing” for expansion/contraction, you are doing your best to reduce/remove it. First you select a wood with good stability and outdoor resistance, and second you screw it down every 18 inches to do your best to keep it from moving. That’s my take on it anyway.

View Murdock's profile


151 posts in 3290 days

#4 posted 04-14-2017 05:47 PM

I have stainless steel screws on my deck here in Minnesota and have been very happy with those for aprox 8 years (cedar boards)

I know my parents used nails on their deck and have had a few nail pops every year to deal with, not a huge deal I guess but I have never had to do anything with my screws.

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

View CharlesA's profile (online now)


3433 posts in 2604 days

#5 posted 04-14-2017 06:06 PM

I used Camo Marksman and really liked it:

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6317 posts in 3299 days

#6 posted 04-14-2017 07:30 PM

I would, hands down use screws. no doubt in my mind.

- buckbuster31

^^^^^^the right answer.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JCamp's profile


1209 posts in 1357 days

#7 posted 04-14-2017 07:40 PM

I have built them using both. I highly recommend screws over nails. For me nails seem to loosen over time. I’ve even had a few break. I’ve never had any trouble like that from screws. Make sure u use the appropriate screws that wont rust from being n contact with the deck boards (or constant exposure to the elements)
If you have many to do I advise to invest in a impact driver verse a normal drill

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Ted78's profile


408 posts in 2806 days

#8 posted 04-14-2017 07:47 PM

Going to add my voice to the DEFINITELY screws crowd. Worked at a nature center where they had built a long boardwalk through the wetlands. Pounding down the nail heads that popped up and keeping it in good repair in general was a nightmare of a task. They did eventually get rid of it and made an earthen bridge across the wetlands.

-- Ted

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1571 days

#9 posted 04-16-2017 03:29 PM

All above comments are very good info. I’d go with a “epoxy coated” deck screw, unless I was putting down Cedar or Redwood, in which case I’d use Stainless Steel.
I did have a couple of clients many years ago that would not invest in the additional cost of screwing down deck boards for their decks. I shot Paslode nails with a framing nailer they were specially coated with some sort of protective coating and glue designed for use with Pressure Treated lumber. These nails have actually performed pretty well … but my preference is to use a screw.

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3671 days

#10 posted 04-16-2017 04:38 PM

I used Camo Marksman and really liked it:

- CharlesA

DId you use real wood? Any problems with the holes collecting water?

View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1622 days

#11 posted 04-17-2017 12:45 AM

I have always built decks and steps with stainless steel deck screws or in a few cases coated deck screws. However, I had an occasion to hire someone else to build a deck for me at our farm house about 150 miles away. Instead of screws, he used ring shank nails that can be shot from a nail gun. They will not pull out. If you ever tried it, you know what I mean. My problem with them is they are very hard to drive with a hammer. The adaptation of these nails for pneumatic nail gun use makes them a practical alternative. If you have a lot of deck work to do, it might be worth a look. They are faster than screws and an impact driver and work just as well.

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