Concealed Fixing Decking System


Falls are one of the most common accidents around the home. One of the most common causes of falls are uneven flooring surfaces. We have large areas of decking in the Universal Design project. Decking has a tendency to warp and cup over time, due to uneven weathering.

I was looking for a solution to this problem when I met Peter Lloyd the inventor of the Deck-Max concealed fixing decking system. He had invented a pretty simple system that allowed decking boards to be laid using a biscuit joining process. The system used a plastic biscuit that also screwed down to the deck joists.

Deck-Max has developed an innovative stainless steel screw and biscuit fixing system that enables an entire deck to be laid without penetrating the top surface of the timber. The biscuit is screwed to the joist and then fits nto a lateral cut made on the edge of each board. This very clever design holds the boards tightly in place and creates perfect 3mm spacing.

Here is a photo of the biscuit and how it works.

    Deck-Max Biscuit

Using this method of fixing had a couple of benefits for our job.

1. The process provided a rigid fixing system that reduced the incidence of the decking boards cupping or warping when in position.

2. It provided a nail free surface. The advantage here is that often decking boards that are nailed come loose and either need re-nailing or replacing. This leads to an uneven surface, a potential trip hazard that we wanted to eliminate. In addition we could run a belt sander over the finished deck to ensure a completely even surface.

So we decided to use the Deck-Maxsystem. We had about 105 square metres of decking to lay. The timber we were using was an Australian stringybark. This timber is milled locally and was provided by Boral Timber, one of our other partners.

Here is an indication of the costs:

Decking Boards $3,900
DeckMax $1,320
Total $5,220

What we learned fairly quickly was that it would have been a great cost saving measure to order the decking boards pre-grooved to accept the Deck-Max biscuit. This would have probably saved us a considerable time in laying the deck. The total decking job took about 105 man hours. This is considerably more than we would have done if the fixing system was a typical nail down job. This added another $4,500 to the job cost. This means the total cost was about $95 per square metre.

So was it worth it? – No doubt yes!

Here are some photos of the job as it progressed.

Deck strips  Front deck  Back deck no nails  Back deck complete

Side deck  Back deck view  Front deck

Click on the above to see larger images.