What are the best fixings for wooden deck boards?
When fixing Deck Boards we need to ensure they are securely fastened down and that they cannot be easily removed by vandals.
However we also need to make it possible for the deck boards to be lifted (by authorized people) in order to inspect the bridge at regular intervals and if necessary to be able to repair or maintain it.
Wooden deck boards are invariably fastened to timber. This will either be wooden beams or wooden Stringers fastened to the top of steel beams. It is important that these stringers are not damaged by the fixing.
Over time deck boards weather and wear. The heads of fixings must not create trip hazards as this occurs. The preferred way to achieve this is to place the fixing with its head set below the top surface.
Achieving a balance between vandal resistance and access for inspection will vary with site. The cheapest option is to use nails. Your bridge designer will never countenance this. The length of the nail required will lead to a large diameter and this will split both the deck board and the stringer permitting access to the core of the material for rot or insect attack.
Screws are stronger than nails but more expensive but can be removed and re-fitted. With recessed heads they deter most vandals
The kind of head used should be considered. Slotted head screws can fill with dirt which is demanding to remove. A hexagonal head coach screw is ideal.
The material the screw is made from is crucial. Most finishes, on steel, will quickly fail and make the screws difficult or impossible to remove. The best solution is stainless steel.
It is this level of attention to detail which shows a good bridge manufacturer. Cheap and cheerful is usually poor long term value.