Lumber and Trex Market Update: 1/29/2022
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Fasteners for Composite Decking: What Do We Use?

Over the years, we’ve tested all kinds of fasteners for composite decking. Some were good, some not so much. And over time, we’ve found what styles and brands work the best.

After all, you want your deck’s surface to stand the test of time and be gentle on your feet. And with the fasteners we use, you can count on all of that, plus be confident it will be a beautiful addition to your backyard. 

Let’s get into the specifics.

Fasteners & Composite Decking Profiles

Before we go on, know that capped composite decking (such as Trex) comes in two profiles. These determine which type of fastener we can use; here’s a quick overview of them both:

Side Grooved Boards

The grooved profile is your main decking board, and as the name suggests, they have a groove on both sides, allowing space to install hidden fasteners.

We don’t recommend using them as perimeter boards, such as a picture frame or stair tread. You’ll want to use a square edge board profile in those cases: 

Square Edge Boards

Square edge boards (also known as solid boards) don’t have grooves. Instead, the color wraps around both sides, making them great for a picture frame, stair tread, or cocktail board. 

But, considering there are no grooves on the boards, this profile can’t be installed using hidden fasteners. The only option is to use screws fixed directly into the face of the board.

Types of Fasteners for Composite Decking

Now that we have that covered, know that it’s a standard for us to use hidden fasteners on every deck we design and build. Here are our primary choice of fasteners:

Hidden Fasteners

For the main decking boards (grooved profile), we use CAMO Edge Clips. They’re a 304 stainless steel fastener with a 410 stainless steel screw, and they bite down into the side grooves of the composite decking. In our experience, they have a solid hold, are easy to use, and make installed decking much more secure than the alternatives.

But these types of composite deck fasteners aren’t always the standard. It’s common for other builders to use friction-only plastic clips that aren’t as strong. Why do they do that? Because it’s cheaper to use plastic than steel. It’s an unfortunate truth, but now you know to ask about it!

Plugged Screw System

When we can’t use side-installed hidden fasteners (for example on the perimeter picture frame boards), Custom Deck Creations and other reputable builders will use a plugged screw system. How this works is after installing a screw, we install a plug made from the same material and color of the decking board to plug the hole left by the screw. 

The specific system we use is called Cortex by FastenMaster. They are more expensive than visible, color-matched screws. But, FastenMaster offers Cortex specifically for Trex, so you get a higher-quality install that blends in nicely with your deck. 

A Few Exceptions…

Trex Enhance
There are instances where a visible, color-matched face screw will be the only option. For example, the Trex Enhance Basics and Enhance Naturals line of decking is manufactured with a scalloped bottom (opposed to flat). And unfortunately, there just isn’t enough “meat” on these boards to use the plugged screw system.

Fascia is another exception. It’s much thinner, about half as thick as a deck board. So for a proper install, using color-matched face screws is the only practical solution. 

PRO TIP: Ask Your Contractor

It’s not uncommon for builders to opt for the color-matched face screws as fasteners for every composite deck, even if they can use Cortex. Often it’s another case of trying to save money and be a cheaper “bid” for your work. Remember to ask your contractor about using a plugged screw system wherever possible!

The Bottom Line

Building a quality composite deck that looks amazing and lasts for decades is important. That’s why we use durable, stainless steel hidden fasteners whenever we’re installing grooved boards. And when that’s not an option, we always choose a high-quality alternative like Cortex or color-matched face screws where necessary. 

Let’s Start Building!

If you’re ready for a brand new composite deck, we’d love to chat!

At Custom Deck Creations, we help clients across Southeast Michigan design and build their dream decks. We’ll work with you to make sure your deck meets your vision, is practical for your needs, and stays within your budget. 

Feel free to check out some of our most recent builds or get in touch for a free, over-the-phone estimate. 

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About Custom Deck Creations

From design to installation, Custom Deck Creations combines beautiful decks with fair pricing and unparalleled customer service. Our designs stand out, while our install processes exceeds expectations. We are a certified TrexPro Platinum builder. Custom Deck Creations is located in and serves Southeast Michigan. 

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Lumber and Trex Market Costs Update

Last Updated: 1/29/2022
Custom Deck Creations

A brief look into the current and expected inflation

Quick Summary

Lumber rose +28% locally from November 2021 to January 2022, and is expected for another significant double-digit increase impacting us in June 2022. We’re also anticipating a cost increase  from Trex around that  same time frame. Depending on size and material selection, decks are anticipated to increase in cost an average of $2,000 to $4,000 come June 2022. Custom Deck Creations is currently scheduling projects for April/May, before we feel these cost increases. Schedule a quote with us today to lock in today’s costs.

For a more detailed look into the market, please continue reading:


The lumber market continues to see pressure on the supply side. Canadian truck drivers are protesting COVID vaccine mandates, threatening to disrupt deliveries in Canada and possibly into the US. Fuel prices are also increasing. Overall demand for Southern Yellow Pine (pressure treated lumber used here in MI) remains steady. Mills are not sitting on a lot of inventory. Lead times from mills to dealers are getting extended.

Pressure treated lumber costs increased locally +28% from November 2021 to January 2022.

Lumber is expected to increase another ~+40% in June 2022. 

Custom Deck Creations is currently scheduling projects for April & May 2022, before we’re impacted by these increased costs.


Data from Trex distributors nationwide are seeing a steady growth in purchases even through winter.

Trex continues to see huge demand increases nationwide. 

Our Interpretation

Lumber will continue to rise in price throughout 2022. We don’t believe we’ll see pre-2022 lumber pricing any time soon.

In 2021 Trex put out 4 separate approximately +10% price increases. We believe more are to be expected in 2022. We do not expect Trex to ever lower their pricing.

No Inflationary Clause

Custom Deck Creations does not have an inflationary clause. Lock in today’s lumber and Trex costs with a signed agreement which puts you on our schedule. We will not charge you more even if our costs go up.

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