Overdriven Nails Decking

WhiteWarrenGApril 17, 2014

First post on here so pardon me if this has already been discussed. We are in the process of a remodel and its our second project with the same contractor. The first project went well and except for a few issues we were happy overall and so we decided to use them again. We are adding a small side deck and a 12x20 screened in room. Instead of using square head or torx screws for the decking boards (flooring) they used galvanized nails. In my opinion the nails are overdriven but the project manager is assuring me that it is not a structural issue; only cosmetic in my mind. I disagree and from my research I believe it will cause the boards to deteriorate much faster over time. I went by there about 4-5 hours after a rain storm and each nail head was still full of rain water but the boards were dry. Each nails is between 1/8-3/8" deep; some possibly more.

What are your thoughts? I am having an inspector come by next week to do my own inspection because I am now questioning all of their work and I have not been happy with this crew. Plus, it will help me sleep at night since, you know, we want to use it with family and friends but still feel safe and all.


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Looks like pressure treated pine decking. If that's the case then don't worry about the decking rotting because of the water. Of course it would have been better to be screwed, but as your inspector should tell you it's acceptable.

If that had been cedar or redwood then yes it will cause the boards to rot faster. I've torn down hundreds of decks & the rot always starts at the nail/screw holes & butt splices.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:40AM
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@deckman22 Thanks for your comments. I am not a contractor so I appreciate some unbiased feedback. Now I just need to get over the heartburn of looking at those giant holes in the floors.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:19AM
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It's good to do the research before you have the work done.

A contractor is going to bid the job at the lowest cost for the work you specify. If the fastening system is not specified, the deck will be fastened with gun driven nails. The building code required the nails be galvanized, full round head, and 16D. The contractor built to code and to your specification.

Armed with more knowledge, you may have asked the contractor to bid the job differently. You may have asked for different bids for different fastening systems. Then you could have done a cost-value comparison and made a more informed decision. At least the contractor would be aware that you are concerned with overall value and lifetime performance of the project. He could have helped you make a more informed decision.

Lesson learned: do the research before you sign a contract. No honest contractor wants a customer to sign the contract before they understand what they are buying. It costs everyone more time and money to go back and justify the work is performed as contracted. It is costing you to hire another inspector, and the contractor is also spending time that could be better used bidding, planning, and performing.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 2:41PM
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@aidan_m Thank you for your comments and I hope that this helps others going through the same process. Hindsight is always 20/20 and even thought I gave them drawings, pictures and an in-home visit to a model this issue still occurred. Unfortunately as a home-owner, even after research, I never got a definitive answer as to which is better: square-drive or torx style screws vs galvanized nails. Since I am not armed with enough knowledge and experience I can't exactly demand that the fasteners are one type or another. In the end, I was fine with nails I just wish they weren't overdriven. Live and learn I guess, but hope I can at least help others with this forum.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:53AM
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Same thing happened to me. After the deck was installed, someone asked me why they used nails and not screws. Some are overdriven and some are not. I have pressure treated wood. I am not too worried as that stuff lasts forever even in the worst circumstances.

When I stained the deck, I made sure the nail holes got covered with stain. Now I am done worrying.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 4:33PM
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@garden77. Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking the same thing so hopefully once stained it won't be such an eyesore

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:23PM
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