Hidden Deck Fasteners - Continued
Tebo's connector looks like an unused stainless-steel staple,
with a third leg projecting from the crown at a 45-degree
angle. The Tebo has little in common with other edge-fastening
systems. And it's the only system that's likely to challenge
the speed of traditional nailing. A $300 proprietary tool
— essentially an upright, mallet-driven flooring nailer
— is used to install the Tebo connector. The connectors
aren't collated, which could make tool-loading tedious, but
installation is fast and simple. A mallet blow simultaneously
drives the connector into the joist and the edge of the decking
at a 45-degree angle. The third spur on the Tebo connector
sticks out at 90 degrees to the edge, ready to spear the back
edge of the next board in line. The installer drives the board
onto these spurs, working down the length of the board with a
heavy maul (using a beater-board to protect the decking edge
from hammer dents). There's some body English involved, using
the balls of your feet to hold the board down while you sledge
it into position.
The oddly shaped
Tebo connector stacks in a special driving tool for
rapid-fire installation that rivals face-nailing for
The Tebo fastener can be used as a self-gapping system
— the shank is a skinny 1/8 inch at its widest section
— but with softer decking materials like redwood and
cedar, you could have problems. The use of temporary gapping
shims, such as tapered cedar shingles, is advised to maintain
even spacing between boards. Because the connecting spur is
only 9/16 inch long, though, you have to be careful not to make
the gap between the boards too wide.
The Tebo connector is designed on the assumption that most
installers work from left to right. According to the
manufacturer, installation is awkward but manageable for
To fasten deck boards at butt joints, Tebo connectors may be
driven into either face of the joist into each respective butt
end. However, a Tebo connector driven from the left side of the
joist will have to have its spur manually bent over after
installation in order to project at a 90-degree angle.
Alternatively, that spur may be hammered over flat to get it
out of the way.
The Tebo system can be used to install decking on the
diagonal, but you'll need to bend the prong back to 90 degrees
to the decking edge after installation, using a proprietary
Although the manufacturer is working on an alternative
inverted point that will cut into dense, tropical lumber, at
the present time, hardwood like Ipe spells trouble for the
system. Unless, that is, you want to use Tebo's optional pilot
hole drill fixture.
Also, pressure-treated lumber, if not kiln-dried after
treatment, may be too wet for these connectors to be effective.
Excessive shrinkage could allow the board to pull free of the
connecting spur. The connectors come in boxes of 120 for $50,
or about 42¢ each.