IPE decking fastener question

brnelsonMay 18, 2012

Have any of you IPE deck experts used the Camo Hidden Fastener system to install IPE or other hardwood decking material? I am considering it for my new decking. I wonder if it makes any difference if I were to use 1x6 or 5/4 x6 deck boards? With the 5/4 material you would get more of the deck board toe nailed to the joist which might help it to hold better when the boards expand and contracts during the seasonal changes.

Would toenailing the boards with this system minimize potential cupping?

One potential downside to this system is the automatic board spacing of 3/16" which seems a bit wide but maybe isn't so bad with wider boards.

I live about 1/4 mile from salt water so expect I should use SS screws with this system.

Any advice would be appreciated.

In the Camo Fastener website, the video section shows installation with hardwood decking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camo Fastener link:

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Stainless steel screws are required with IPE regardless of where you live! IPE reacts with zinc in galvanized products causing a bleeding stain. In addition, the toughness of the wood requires the extra strength. Even with stainless, predrilling of IPE and waxing of screws is needed to prevent snapping of screws. If your screws do not penetrate the IPE, but only the fastener, then these arguments do not apply.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Lots of questions here so I'll try to give my answers based on my experience in playing with both biscuit types and CAMO, as well as my customer feedback.

I'm now leaning towards preferring CAMO as a hidden fastener because I think it gives you the best stability possible out of all types of hidden fasteners. With CAMO, you are putting two screws into each joist at a 55-degree angle. With a biscuit system, only one screw. I also like the fact that if you do have problems with a board, you can remove the CAMO fastener and remove the board and replace. It's much harder to do with a clip system and even then you have to plug the replacement board on one end according their own instructions.

The gap is a little wider but I don't think you will be able to tell much of a difference with a 6" board. They have a 4" jig out now. How much airflow do you have under the deck? How high is it off the ground? These factors are important if you ware worried about cupping. Most cupping I've seen is due to no airflow underneath and the deck is low to the ground with a moisture imbalance. A thicker and narrower board helps prevent this, so 5/4 thickness would offer more stability than 4/4 if it works for your budget, but I've seen CAMO used numerous times on 1x6. The screw hole will ride a little higher on the eased edge of a 5/4 board but still very minimal aesthetic. You can see the screw holes if you re looking at them from an angle, but over the top they are barely noticable. Since Ipe is darker, especially if put a finish on it, I don't even think you'd notice them.

CAMO's stainless steel screws are 316 stainless (vs. 305) which is what you would want for a salt environment. They are more expensive, but if you do the math with CAMO vs. clip system, CAMO comes out less expensive and I think it's more secure.

Finally, PRE-DRILL your holes. Stainless Steel is soft and you will strip out more scews than you care to if you don't pre-drill...and let the screw do the work, don't push down on it. CAMO says you don't have to pre-drill but they do recommend that you do for hardwoods. I concur on this with my testing, especially when you are close to the end of the board. I was able to set the stainless screws without pre-drilling, but I stripped out or broke the head off of 1/3 of them and the boards cracked where I tried to fasten them at the ends. On my pre-drilling tests, they set perfectly.

Also, if you decide to go with the CAMO, get the PRO jigs since they have screw guides on both sides, making it easier to install without moving the jig. And get two jigs so you can properly space your boards, as well as a BoWrench to make sure they are snug when you are fastening. Start with the outside part of the board (pushing back inwards to your boards already laid), then fasten the inside edge to keep them snug.

I built a little 2x2 sample deck out of Garapa using the CAMO sytem that I can send you some pictures of if you want to see them.

If CAMO was available when I built my dad's Ipe deck, I would have used it (we face-screwed and plugged it).

Every person I have talked to who has used CAMO has loved it, even an installer I know that hates clip style hidden fasteners but now uses CAMO on every job. I've only had one installer say that he didn't like it, I think becuase he was pretty set in his ways and did't want to take the time to get used to it. So I recommend that you practice on some scrap pieces before you use it on your main boards.

I think CAMO just cut a deal with Lowe's so you may see them in the store soon. There are plenty of online retailers to buy from, so maybe buy one jig and a small 100pc package to play with them to see if you like it. If not, keep the jig packaging, clean it off and send it back. Minimal investment to test it out.

Sorry this is long but it's my .02. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:02PM
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efloor, I tend to agree and until recently have never been a fan of "deck fasteners". I would be very interested in seeing a picture of the deck sample you made using the "Camo" fasteners. My email is on my page or in my signature if you would rather send it that way.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:30AM
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yes correct, always use stainless steel screws, bleeding means that around the screws your wood will become black, this is especially true for chrome screws.
The decking you refer to is also called clip system deck, below a link and picture for your reference for the clip system

Here is a link that might be useful: deck designs, under which clip system

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 1:51PM
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Good Afternoon Everyone.

I came across this thread and thought that I would weigh in. Currently I work for an online retailer of stainless steel fasteners called Manasquan Fasteners. Prior to this positions, I served as the Deck Products Specialist for Starborn Industries which is the deck fastener manufacturer of products such as Headcote, Deckfast, Pro Plug, and Smart-Bit.

During my time at Starborn Industries, I had the oppurtunity to test the Camo product extensively. I am personally skepticial of the product. All the testing that I performed showed poor performance with regard to pull through values and holding power when compared to a face fastener.

It has always been my stance that top-down fastening is by far the most reliable way to fasten a deck.

The two leading methods of top-down fastening are face fastening the boards, and plugging the boards.

The company that I now work for, Manasquan Fasteners, offers a full selection of stainless steel fasteners including a wide range deck fasteners.

Should you have any questions about fastening decks, you can checkout our website at http://www.manasquanfasteners.com or you can contact me directly at ryan@manasquanfasteners.com

Best Regards,
Ryan Unick
Manasquan Premium Fasteners
Phone: 800-542-1979

Here is a link that might be useful: Manasquan Fasteners

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:17AM
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You are not allowed to promote your business on this site. You'd best edit your post and remove all such promotions ASAP or risk being banned by the GW mods.

Oh, and you'll also get the opprobrium of all of us GW-ers.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:12PM
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In regards to eFloor I wanted to give a balanced viewpoint of CAMO fasteners. You can not use the Camo in tight areas and most other hidden deck fasteners are not hard to put in by hand without a jig. The Camo screws can not be put in without the jig as the heads do not have a point, so you need something else to finish anyway.

I personally have found that the quality of the Camo screws to be "unreliable", lots of them break on the way in. And if you lose your bit..... you are screwed since it's a non standard bit. Thats one of the reasons I switched back to the Tiger Claw ones. When dealing with decks in tight spaces with intricate turns the CAMO's quickly become a nightmare.

Anybody else have problems with the CAMO's?

Here is a link that might be useful: TigerClaw fasteners

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:09PM
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