• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains how to install a composite deck.


    1 Measure the deck for the first decking plank.
    2 Cut the plank to length with a circular saw or power miter saw.
    3 If necessary, use a jigsaw to cut a hole in the plank for the downspout.
    4 Set the plank onto the deck, and use a putty knife to slip it under any existing metal flashing.
    5 Measure to ensure the first deck board is parallel with the outer edge of the deck.
    6 Fasten the deck board with composite decking screws along the edge closest to house; drive one screw into each joist.
    7 Install a hidden fastener into the edge of the deck plank, placing one at each joist.
    8 Use plastic tapping block and hammer to drive the sharpened spikes of the fasteners into the edge of the plank.
    9 Use drill/driver to drive one screw through each hidden fastener and into the joists.
    10 Cut the second decking plank to length and set it against the hidden fasteners in the first plank.
    11 Use the 2x4 tapping block and sledgehammer to drive the second plank into the sharpened spikes protruding from the hidden fasteners in the first plank.
    12 Continue laying planks in this manner across the deck.
    13 At outer end of deck, notch the decking, as necessary, to fit around the railing posts.
    14 To install last plank, used end nippers to remove the spikes from one side of hidden fasteners.
    15 Install last plank with composite decking screws.
    16 Snap chalk line across deck boards.
    17 Screw a straight-edged board to deck to act as a saw guide.
    18 Guide a circular saw along the straight-edge board to trim deck boards to length.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Composite lumber is relatively heavy, and spending all day on your knees is never pleasant
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • drill
        used to drive decking screws
      • 30-foot tape measure
        Tape measure
      • hammer
      • circular saw
        Circular saw
      • jigsaw
        for notching deck boards
      • putty knife
        Putty knife,
        used to help slide decking under flashing
      • sledge hammer
        for pounding decking into hidden fasteners
      • framing square
        Framing square
      • bolt cutter
        End nippers,
        used to trim hidden fasteners when attaching last plank
      • chalk line
        Chalk line,
        used to snap cut line across decking

      Shopping List

      1. Composite decking

      2. 6-foot-long 2x4,

      used as a tapping block when installing hidden deck fasteners

      3. Composite decking screws