how many hidden fasteners do i need


As DIY projects become more popular, many homeowners want to know how many hidden fasteners they need for a deck, fence or other outdoor building project. Hidden fasteners are known as the preferred method for deck boards to have a clean and seamless look. These fasteners become your best option for any outdoor projects; they are engineered to hold the board firmly to the joist, with little to no visibility. The best thing about installing hidden fasteners is that you do not have to worry about unsightly screws sticking out of your wood projects. In this article, we will discuss the essential things you need to know about hidden fasteners, and how to determine how many you need for your project.

1- Understanding how Hidden Fasteners Work

2- Hidden Fasteners vs Traditional Screws

3- Factors that determine how many hidden fasteners you need

4- How to Install Hidden Fasteners

5- Choosing the Right Hidden Fastener

Understanding how Hidden Fasteners Work

One of the main benefits of hidden fasteners is their ability to attach wood boards with absolutely zero exposure to screws or nails; this also eliminates a sharp edge that can snag or scratch clothing. Manufacturers created hidden fasteners to be low profile, designed for performing their function and being out of sight. They lock wood boards together, preventing movement which would otherwise create an uneven surface. There are many hidden fasteners available on the market, including types that allow you to easily remove boards when needed.

Hidden Fasteners vs Traditional Screws

Traditional screws connect wood boards by screwing directly into them from above. While screws remain a popular choice, they can ruin the appearance of the woodwork through their installation method. In addition, screws can become a tripping hazard with the screw’s head sometimes protruding above the wood’s surface. Hidden fasteners are a fantastic alternative method as they attach below the wood surface, making them much less noticeable. They also last longer than screws, as they do not face exposure to outdoor elements that cause rusting and corrosion.

Factors that Determine How Many Hidden Fasteners You Need

The amount of hidden fasteners you need depends on the size of the board you use, the width of the board, and the span between the joists. On a standard 5.5″ deck board, you could typically use three-row fasteners; these are installed every 16 inches. The fasteners come in plastic or steel, dimensions of 1/4″ and 1/8″ each. The smaller 1/8″ uses two per board side while the 1//4″ type uses only one. The diverse range of hidden fasteners available allows you to modify the number used to meet the specifications of your project.

How to Install Hidden Fasteners

Hidden fasteners can be installed with or without clips. Without clips, you would use a router to create a slot below the deckboard edges. Next, you slide the fastener in the slot and secure it with screws before sliding the deckboards over the joist. Installing with clips means creating a gap equal to that of the clip spacing recommended by its manufacturer prior to starting work. You then slide the hidden fasteners in the slot underneath the deckboard edges, secure them with screws, and then snap the clips onto the fasteners to hold the deckboards in place.

Choosing the Right Hidden Fastener

Choosing the right hidden fastener for your project comes down to the conditions it will face. This includes weather conditions, exposure to water, and other environmental factors. Manufacturers often make recommendations on the items by performance, only selecting fasteners that their tests prove to last longer.


Knowing the right hardware to use for your project will ensure it achieves the desired outcome. The number of hidden fasteners you need to install will vary depending on the application, the width of your board, and the span between your joists. It is essential to understand the principles behind hidden fasteners to make the right choice. With the right tools and techniques at your disposal, it's easy to create professional-looking outdoor spaces that stand the test of time. Build it right, and you'll get a beautiful outdoor space that you'll enjoy spending time in for years to come.


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