We have all heard the adage that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Most often the reason for deck failure is poor hardware. Saving money on fasteners is the wrong idea. Quality hardware is important for the longevity of your deck as well as safety.
Building a deck is a sizable investment. Today, more than ever, people are looking to long-lasting deck surfaces made from tropical hardwoods and plastic composites. These decking selections are often advertised as maintenance-free and they cost more than other less durable decking. Stainless steel is the best choice for these decking applications. Not only will stainless steel last the lifetime of the decking material without staining the surface, but they are also affordable. When one considers materials, joists, posts, railing and labor, fasteners account for less than 1% of the total job cost in most applications. This is inexpensive insurance. Stainless steel fasteners are more expensive, but the added cost is easily justified when one seeks long-term beauty and structural integrity.
Stainless steel is a nickel and chrome alloy. There are several different steel alloys, each offering different properties. The most common used in outdoor construction are AISI grades 302, 304, 305 and 316. Grades 302, 304 and 305 are considered to be in the 18-8 group of stainless steel. This means that they contain a minimum of 8% nickel and 18% chromium. Grade 316 steel contains approximately 12% nickel and 17% chromium, but it also contains approximately 2.5% molybdenum (moly). With the increased nickel and added moly, this alloy composition is better suited for high-chloride environments such as seaside and poolside building locations.