how to use trex hidden fasteners


Using Trex Hidden Fasteners for your Decking Project

If you're planning to build a deck, one of the important factors to consider is the way you will attach the deck boards to the framing. There are different methods to do this, but using hidden fasteners is a popular and effective choice. Hidden fasteners not only provide a clean and sleek look to your deck surface, but they also allow for better ventilation and reduce the risk of moisture buildup, which can lead to wood rot and decay.

Trex Hidden Fasteners is a proprietary system designed specifically for Trex composite decking boards. In this article, we'll guide you through the process of how to use Trex Hidden Fasteners for your deck project.

What Are Trex Hidden Fasteners?

Trex Hidden Fasteners are clips made of stainless steel that are screwed into the deck frame and hold the deck boards in place without any visible screws or nails on the surface. Trex offers two types of fasteners: Universal Hidden Fasteners and Cortex Hidden Fasteners.

Universal Hidden Fasteners are designed to work with all Trex grooved composite decking boards, including Transcend, Select, and Enhance. They come in boxes of 90 to cover 50 square feet, and each clip has a screw and a locking tab.

Cortex Hidden Fasteners, on the other hand, are designed to work with Trex Transcend composite decking boards only. They come in boxes of 224 to cover 100 square feet and include screws, plugs, and setting tools. Cortex Hidden Fasteners have color-matching plugs that cover the screws to create a seamless and polished finish.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Trex Hidden Fasteners

Installing Trex Hidden Fasteners requires some preparation and attention to detail, but it's a relatively straightforward process. Here are the basic steps:

1. Prepare the Deck Frame: Make sure the deck frame is structurally sound and level. Install joists and blocking as needed to create a stable and uniform surface for the deck boards.

2. Install the Starter Clips: Begin by installing the starter clips along the outer edge of the deck frame. The starter clips have a screw and a tab that attaches to the deck board groove. Use a drill and the provided screws to secure the clips to the frame.

3. Attach the First Deck Board: Slide the first deck board onto the starter clips and align it with the deck frame. Make sure the board overhangs the frame by about 1 inch to allow for expansion and contraction.

4. Install the Universal Fasteners: Using a drill and the provided screws, attach the Universal Hidden Fasteners to the deck frame at every joist, starting from the center of the board and working towards the edges. The fasteners should be spaced about 16 inches apart for optimal performance.

5. Secure the Deck Boards: Slide the next deck board onto the fasteners and align it with the previous board. Repeat this process until you reach the end of the deck. Use a rubber mallet to tap the boards onto the fasteners and ensure a tight fit.

6. Finish with Cortex Fasteners (Optional): If you're using Transcend decking boards, you can finish your deck with Cortex Hidden Fasteners. First, drill pilot holes using the Cortex setting tool, then drive the screws and plugs into the boards. Use a hammer and chisel to break off the plugs at the surface level.

Additional Tips for Using Trex Hidden Fasteners

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when using Trex Hidden Fasteners for your decking project:

- Make sure to use Trex grooved composite decking boards that are compatible with the Hidden Fasteners system.

- Allow for expansion and contraction by leaving a 1/8-inch gap between boards and at the ends of the deck.

- Check the alignment of the boards frequently as you go, and adjust if needed.

- Use a drill with a torque setting to avoid overdriving the screws and damaging the boards.

- Keep the clips and screws dry and clean before and during installation to prevent corrosion.


Using Trex Hidden Fasteners is a smart and practical way to install composite decking boards on your deck. It eliminates the need for visible fasteners, improves air flow and drainage, and enhances the overall appearance of your deck. By following the steps outlined in this article and the tips provided, you can enjoy a beautiful and durable deck surface for years to come.


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