Do I Need to Pre-Drill My Composite or Capstock Decking?In the past, no matter what type of deck board you were installing, the answer to this question would indefinitely be yes. However, with advancements in fastener technology, pre-drilling in most composite and capstock deck boards is no longer necessary.
Composite deck screws have been consistently used by the industry for about 10 years now. The first company to experience market penetration with a composite deck fastener was a company called FastenMaster with its “Trapease” branded screws.
Since then, many companies have come out with their own versions of composite deck fasteners, making improvements along the way. Today, the industry leader in composite deck fastener technology is a company called Starborn Industries with its newly designed Cap-Tor xd fasteners. The Cap-Tor xd screws are available in an epoxy coated steel version as well as a stainless steel version.
These screws feature reverse threads just under the head which prevents mushrooming (a small bump on the deck board around the head of the fastener) as well as white shearing (stretching of the capstock material around the screw head producing a white “halo”) which have been a problem for previous deck fasteners.
About 2 years ago, I read an article which stated that 95% of the composite decking market was owned by 5 companies. Those companies were Azek, TimberTech (now owned by Azek’s parent company), Fiberon, Trex, and Evergrain.
With very few exceptions, deck boards by all of the above mentioned companies are compatible with the composite deck fasteners. The most recent advancements in the composite screw technology now can be seen in the form of “pre-drill free” plugging systems for composite and capstock decking. There are two companies manufacturing plugging systems including Starborn Industries FastenMaster Cortex Plugging System.
It is important to note that while composite screws eliminate the need to pre-drill the vast majority of the deck, pre-drilling is still required around the perimeter (within 1” of the end of the board) as well as on stair treads.
Do I Need to Pre-Drill?
How-to Fasten Azek Decking
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Cap-Tor xd Composite Screws
Pro Plug System for Azek
Cortex Plug System