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By Chris | May 21, 2009 - 10:38 pm - Posted in Decks & Fences, Hardware

We’ll get right to it. Here are 8 Tips for building a durable and long-lasting deck:

  1. Great Wood – When building, use naturally decay-resistant or properly treated lumber for wooden decks and other outdoor structures. Don’t let untreated wood posts or lumber sit directly on concrete.
  2. Clean Joints – Clean joints between deck boards or between a deck and any other structure so dirt & debris won’t hold moisture.
  3. Downspouts Pointed Away – Aluminum downspouts and water run-off should be guided away from the deck.
  4. Keep it Dry – Make sure that instruments you use for watering (hoses, sprinklers, etc..) not spray the deck.
  5. Airflow – Since airflow is crticial, ensure that the underside of the porch breathes correctly. To prevent moisture buildup & wood degradation the space under the deck should not be completely sealed.
  6. Keep it Clean – Don’t let leaves, barbeque grill covers, etc…. layout on your deck for long periods. Plants in clay pots sitting on the deck or porch can cause moisture pooling; likewise, plants and shrubs planted close can contribute to moisture and water buildup on and around your deck. This allows mold and moisture to develop underneath.
  7. Stain Early, Often – Add stains and sealers before the deck looks like it’s needing it. Create a consistent schedule where you add the sealer so it’s consistently apllied before the wood starts getting dried out. These can treat the wood and prevent moisture from leading to rot.
  8. Underdeck – If you have a 2nd story deck over a ground floor deck, make sure you get an underdeck drainage system to prevent additional wear to the bottom deck. With underdeck drainage installed, your primary floor deck can behave like a unenclosed sunroom on rainy days. The bottom floor can now also be used as an extra storage room.

I’m sure these ideas will help you keep your wooden deck beautiful for many years to come.

Easy to Use Hidden Fasteners
Most decks built in the past 25 yers have used the simplest deck building material, galvanized nails, to keep the boards attached to the structure. As a matter of fact, builders have used nails like this for decades and thought very little about other alternatives. Now, stainless steel hidden deck fasteners are becoming more popular and even have power tools to help simplify their installation.

Out of all the fasteners on the market TigerClaw is, by far, the most popular. You should know that TigerClaw Fasteners were created by a contractor who was irritated with the expense and intensive labor of other hidden fastening systems. With a free installation block in every box, these fasteners install faster and easier than other comparable fasteners. With all work done from the top, you can save more on labor costs than compared with other hidden fastener installations.

Constructed from heavy gauge stainless steel, strength and durability are assured. TigerClaw hidden deck fasteners offer resilient hold-down power for both synthetic decking materials & wood. They allow the natural qualities of the wood to be preserved and reduce splitting, splintering, cupping and rotting.

No Visible Nails or Screws
With many new composites and clear-grained wood decking available, blemishing a smooth, even deck surface with unsightly rows of screws or nails is becoming increasingly undesirable.

I know a growing number of contractors are aware of hidden deck fasteners, but the majority aren’t. This article’s objective is to raise consumer awareness, and to bring hidden deck fasteners into the mainstream market.

With hidden deck fasteners, you can produce a better looking, longer lasting, safer deck at an affordable price.

Contributed by James Monroe, DIY Home Center

If you are the type that really cares about quality, you might also read about how to build a fence that lasts.

By Chris | May 8, 2009 - 10:44 am - Posted in Hardware

Contractors and other construction professional bidding US government jobs (at any level) might come across specifications requiring domestically produced hardware. It can be hard to find. For cost reasons, much of the hardware you buy comes from overseas. I’ve done some of the legwork for those of you looking for domestic hardware suppliers. I hope this helps.

Best Single Source for American Made Hardware

If you need specialty domestic hardware or large quantities, first call American Pole and Timber at (866) 397-3038 and ask for David Mayfield (as of 3-30-09). I think anyone there can help you but David seems to know the most about domestic hardware. They stock some American made hardware but their real strength is in the great network of suppliers they have built for everything from hex bolts to steel cables to shackles. They usually offer some of the lowest prices, too, so you might want to let them bid your entire project (especially if you need treated wood).

Specialty American Made Hardware Suppliers

  • Hinges Made in the USA – Bommer Industries has quality hinges made in the USA. They also supply various postal boxes.
  • Household Hardware – National Manufacturing manufactures a variety of “household hardware” from hinges to gate and garage door hardware and drawer pulls.
  • QWKE Anchoring Solutions – An interesting anchor solution for small posts and poles. You can actually install this post anchor into dirt with your drill instead of using a post hole digger. Their website was down at the time of this writing.
  • Maze Nails – Look for the yellow and red boxes. Maze nails are made in the USA.
  • Dock Hardware – American made dock hardware.
  • Industrial FastenersNuts, bolts, and other American made hardware and fasteners.
  • Astoria Wire & Metal ProductsWire, metal, and tubing products. Custom stuff, too.
  • D.C. MitchellAssorted hardware from door knobs to hinges to drawer pulls and more.

There’s a great start. The most difficult American made hardware to find is usually the industrial and industrial-marine stuff. I don’t mean small stuff like dock cleats and pile caps. I mean big stuff like tie rods and dock washers. That’s why I listed American Pole and Timber first since they have that stuff.

If you know if other suppliers of “made in the USA” hardware, please leave a comment with their name and website and I will add them to the list.