How to Install TimberTech AZEK® Decking With TOPLoc Color-Matched Screws
Our project experts take you step-by-step. When you’re ready to build, download the free project guide.
Looking for guidance on how to install TimberTech AZEK® decking with TOPLoc™? You’ve come to the right place.
Please ensure that the decking products are stored in a cool, dry place, with packaging on if possible. Keep decking as cool as possible during attachment. Full, direct sun exposure will increase board temperature, board length, and can lead to increased gapping at the ends.
What To Know Before You Build
This guide assumes the use of grooved 5.5″ deck boards and 1/8″ spacing in a straight, edge-to-edge pattern.
Install any railing on top of the deck boards after the decking is installed.
TimberTech AZEK Decking Installation Tips
Estimated based on a 12′ x 12′ deck; time will vary depending on the size of deck and complexity of the build.
ESTIMATED TIME: 1 Hour
RECOMMENDED MAN-POWER: 1 Person
PREREQUISITES: Secured framing, properly attached to the house, and a confirmed deck design
- Step 1: Use Best Practices for Cutting AZEK Deck Boards
- Step 2: Use Best Practices for Fastening AZEK Deck Boards
- Step 3: Confirm Your Spacing & Deck Size
- Step 4: Determine Where to Start Laying Boards
- Step 5: Install TimberTech AZEK Decking
- Step 6: Prolong the Aesthetics of Your Deck
Tools You’ll Need
- Safety glasses
- Power miter saw
- Jig saw
- Cordless driver
- Measuring tape
- Carpenter square
- Deck spacer or spacing tool (optional)
- Recommended color-matched TOPLoc screws or an alternative that meets the specifications below:
- Stainless steel
- Minimum screw size: #7
- Face screws at minimum length of 2 1/4″
Many other tools are available that can be used for installation. All tools should be used per applicable manufacturers’ instructions.
Step 1: Best Practices for Cutting AZEK Deck Boards
For cutting TimberTech AZEK deck boards, make sure to use an appropriate saw.
NOTE: Do not use cordless saws.
Sliding Power Miter Saw
BEST FOR CUTTING AZEK BOARDS:
Use a miter saw with a fine-toothed, carbide-tipped finish trim blade (12” 100-tooth or 10” 90-tooth minimum).
FOR NOTCHING AROUND RAIL POSTS:
Use a fine-tooth finish blade.
Electric Circular Saw
OTHER METHOD FOR CUTTING AZEK BOARDS:
Use a minimum 60-tooth finish blade.
Cutting The Decking Boards
- Use proper saw and blade.
- Cut boards one at a time.
- Cut deck boards with the grain facing upward.
- While using any saw, use slow cuts or chipping can occur.
- Do not use battery-powered saws, as chipping can occur.
- As with any wood or alternative decking product, always be sure to cut the factory ends of your board for a clean and square finish.
- Make sure the face of the deck board is protected from the bottom of the saw during cutting with a circular saw or a jig saw.
- If using a circular saw, be sure to use a saw guide for clean, square cuts.
- For best results, cut boards before installing / fastening or chipping can occur.
- As always, measure twice and cut once.
Fasten the deck boards as soon after cutting as possible. Do not leave boards unattached for long periods of time or overnight, as the board length will change with temperature changes.
Step 2: Best Practices for Fastening AZEK Deck Boards
Due to the durability of TimberTech AZEK deck products, we recommended color-matched TOPLoc screws. You may also use a high-quality fastener that meets the following specifications:
- Stainless steel
- Minimum screw size: #7
- Face screws should be a minimum length of 2 1/4″
For salt water coastal applications, we suggest using the above minimum fastener requirements in 316 stainless steel. Avoid using flathead screws. Trim head screws typically provide a better result.
As always, you should try the fastener in a sample board before using on your deck.
TimberTech does not recommend any fastener that is not explicitly stated in the TimberTech Decking Installation Guide. Use of any alternative fastener does not void the TimberTech warranty; however, if a decking failure is caused by using one of these alternative fastening methods, any corresponding claims will be denied.
DO NOT PRE-DRILL
When fastening TimberTech AZEK deck boards with screws, NO PRE-DRILLING IS REQUIRED.
T-Tap Driver Bit
TOPLoc Color-Matched Fasteners
NAIL THE PROJECT, NOT YOUR DECK
Do not use nails to fasten TimberTech AZEK deck boards.
Capped Polymer Board Fastening Best Practices
Fasten ¾” from a given side’s edge and within ½” (3/8″ recommended) from the end of the board (no pre-drilling required). Fasten all ends of boards, splices, or abutments securely into the framing structure using two fasteners.
Drive fasteners perpendicular to the deck board straight into the joist. Do not install fasteners at an angle.
Spacing Between Boards
Spacing between boards should be 1/8” to 1/4”. The use of a spacer can add efficiency and help maintain proper spacing.
For butt joints, be sure to trim cut factory ends to ensure squareness. Keep butt joints tight. Do not leave a gap at butt joints, splices or miters. Install fasteners within 1/2″ from the ends of each board.
DO NOT SCARF-CUT BUTT JOINTS
Butt joints should be tight and secure, with all edges square.
Step 3: Confirm Your Spacing & Deck Size
Your actual width will need to incorporate both the deck board width AND the spacing.
Follow along to calculate the adjusted width and spacing of your full-width deck boards.
Determine Your Deck Size
- Estimate the width of your deck.
- Confirm the width of your deck board (in this project guide, we use 5.5″ boards).
- Choose your preferred spacing based on manufacturer requirements (in this project guide, we use 1/8″ spacing).
Calculate your Deck Width
|Estimated Deck Width||____ ft.|
|Number of Deck Boards||____ ft. / 0.46875*|
|Actual Deck Width||____ Deck Boards x 5.625|
*Round up or down as necessary to arrive at an accurate estimate.
Step 4: Determine Where to Start Laying Boards
The design and size of your deck will determine the number of boards required to install TimberTech AZEK decking.
Deck plan includes all full-width boards (no partial / cut / ripped down boards). You may want to start at the house and work outward for ease. See above calculation for help.
Deck plan will require cutting / ripping down a board or boards. You may want to start away from the home and work inward so the off-sized board is closer to the house / hidden.
RIPPING OF BOARDS MAY BE REQUIRED
Cutting a board along its horizontal edge, or “ripping”, may be required to achieve full coverage of the framing.
Step 5: Install TimberTech AZEK Decking
To House & Frame
- Measure from the edge of the deck board to the outer edge of the rim joist at each end of the deck board and strike a line.
- Attach the first deck board along the line to ensure that it is straight OR strike a chalk line on top of the joists at the desired position of the first board.
- Attach the first board along the line.
Best Practices For
Installing Deck Boards
- Drive the fasteners straight down into the deck boards.
- Be sure your deck boards are spaced appropriately.
We recommend leaving 1/8″- 1/4″ space between boards for proper drainage.
- Expansion/ contraction/ gapping will be most significant where extreme temperature change may exist.
How To Install TimberTech AZEK Deck Boards
1. Place Fastener
Install two fasteners per joist on each deck board. Drive fasteners straight down and do not angle fasteners toward the joist. Remember: fasten within 1/2″ from the end.
2. Drive Screw
Drive the fasteners to a minimum depth of 1 ¼” into solid wood framing below the bottom of the AZEK deck board. This will enhance holding power and uplift resistance.
Use the proper bit and drive the screw at a slower speed until it is flush or slightly below the deck surface.
The techniques shown should be used for best results. Results may vary, as expansion and contraction could still occur. AZEK Building Products Inc. claims no liability or responsibility for the improper installation of this product. Since all installations are unique, it is the sole responsibility of the installer to determine specific requirements in regard to each decking application. AZEK Building Products recommends that all designs be reviewed by a licensed architect, engineer or local building official before installation. Please contact AZEK Customer Service prior to installing if you have question or concerns.
Step 6: Prolong the Aesthetics of Your Deck
While TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking is specifically engineered for enduring beauty, it’s always wise to keep your backyard build free of dirt, debris, and spills. To maximize the aesthetics of your deck, we recommend using TimberTech® DeckCleaner™.
USE THE APPROPRIATE BRUSH
When cleaning your TimberTech AZEK decking with DeckCleaner, use a stiff, natural-fiber brush.
For full details on keeping your capped composite deck looking as great on day 1,000 as day 1, read more over on Care & Cleaning.