Deck Connectors

Written by Donald Sparacin
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Deck connectors are made to ease installation and build strength into your deck design. There are deck connectors that are specific for railings, stairs, balusters, and even the deck surface itself. They aren't all that expensive, and can even help the do-it-yourselfer complete a project alone. They come in a wide variety of materials, and are readily available in home centers and online as well.

Deck Connectors for Every Part of the Deck

The first deck connectors that you will probably use will be the ones that secure the posts to the footings. These are made in sizes that hold typical dimensional 4X4 posts to the concrete footings if you decide not to set the posts into the ground. They are made of aluminum and never need maintenance or repair. The posts are connected to the support beams by lag bolts, and attached to the support beams are aluminum joist holders. These have slots that accept 2" lumber, and one person can simply drop the joists into place and secure them to the holders with a couple of nails.

A new advancement is a connector that holds the deck boards to the joists without the necessity of nailing into the surface of the decking. They allow for an incredibly clean look to the surface, and eliminate protruding nail heads. Some people say they add work and time to the project, but the finished effect is well worth it. Another advantage to them is that you won't have to reset the nail heads periodically as you do when you nail into the decking to secure it.

The last types of deck connectors are the ones that affix the railings to the posts, spindles to the stairs, and balusters to the rails. These are visible, so instead of the galvanized aluminum connectors previously discussed these come in a variety of colors to work in concert with the aesthetics of the deck. Again, by using these connectors one simply has to mount them properly and the railings just drop into place. On the stair connectors, you drill a hole in the railings to accept the baluster or spindle.

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