How to Install Composite Decking Boards

Written by samantha volz
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How to Install Composite Decking Boards
Composite deck boards look like wood but require less maintenance. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Composite decking is a mixture of wood and plastic components that holds a number of advantages over traditional, wood-only deck materials. Composite resists rot and fading better than traditional wood, and is a low-maintenance option for covering your deck. Thee boards are attached to a traditional decking frame, but are screwed into place instead of nailed like traditional wood to provide a stable and secure decking piece.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw
  • Protective goggles
  • Putty knife
  • Composite screws
  • Electric drill
  • Deck fasteners
  • Hammer
  • Finishing screws
  • Tapping block
  • Sledge hammer

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  1. 1

    Measure across the deck frame closest to your house to get the required length for your first composite decking board. If you want any overhang for your deck boards, make sure you add that number to your measurement. This first board must run completely parallel to the opposite edge.

  2. 2

    Cut your first composite decking board to fit with a circular saw. Cut outside so that the saw dust does not cause a mess or irritate people's lungs. Wear protective goggles to protect your eyes from shrapnel.

  3. 3

    Set the first deck board in place to double-check that your sizing is correct. If there is any flashing at the bottom of the house, gently lift the material with a scraper or putty knife and slide the board underneath.

  4. 4

    Drill a composite screw into each joist under the boards with an electric drill. Install the screws on the edge of the board closest to the house to hide them. Drill straight down and sink the heads of the composite screws slightly below the deck surface for a proper hold.

  5. 5

    Line up an invisible fastener with the board at the first joist, so that the fastener box sits flat against the joist. These fasteners, sold at decking-supply stores and hardware stores, will act as spacers between the boards while binding the boards together. Line up the fastener box and strike it repeatedly with your hammer until it is secure in the first composite board.

  6. 6

    Drill a long finishing screw through the bracket of the fastener at a 45-degree angle to secure it to the joist below. Repeat attaching and screwing these fasteners in place at each joist.

  7. 7

    Cut and align the second composite decking board. Set the board against the fasteners sticking out of the first board. Stand on the second board and line up a 2-by-4-inch tapping block with the open side of the board.

  8. 8

    Starting at one end of the board, strike the tapping block with a sledge hammer to drive the second board into the fasteners protruding from the first. When the board is secured at one end, attach a fastener to the other side of the board, and then continue down the length of the board until it is fully secured to the first board.

  9. 9

    Screw the second board in place with your composite screws. Repeat the installation of each composite board, starting with fasteners and screwing each in place. If necessary, rip the final board to fit the gap at the end of the deck with a circular saw.

Tips and warnings

  • To cut out areas in the middle of boards, such as those required to go around posts or drain spouts, use a jigsaw. Follow all cutting precautions you used for the circular saw.

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