These days, hidden fasteners are used about 50% of the time on synthetic decking and about 25% of the time when all types of decking are considered. To accommodate hidden fastener systems, most manufacturers of synthetic decking now sell boards with grooved edges. While there are differences among the various systems, they all automatically space the boards, and they keep fasteners completely out of sight on a completed deck.

Still, there are plenty of builders who face-screw decking or even nail it in place. They haven’t bought into hidden fasteners, either because these systems are more labor intensive and more expensive to install, or because customers aren’t demanding them, or because these builders are looking for a more robust connection between decking and framing. For them, manufacturers continue to refine their designs to make deck screws easier to install, with a cleaner entry that reduces the buildup of material around the screw head.

Flashing and metal-connector options continue to evolve, too, making it easier to properly detail ledgers and other framing members to prevent rot and meet building codes. The result? Safer, longer-lasting decks.