What Is the Best Screw for My Wood Deck?

A drill is being used to install decking screws into a piece of wood.

Installing a wood­en deck onto a home, whether yours or your client’s, is a major project, but a ful­fill­ing one. A beau­ti­ful place to relax out­side, a gath­er­ing place for fam­i­ly and friends to make mem­o­ries and a gor­geous exten­sion of the home, you can’t go wrong with installing a wood­en deck. But, you can go wrong with deck screws and deck­ing mate­r­i­al if you don’t do some research. 

To ensure the wood deck you build is durable and beau­ti­ful, we’ll cov­er the most com­mon types of mate­ri­als, their pros and cons and which screw is best for each material.

Most Common Wood Deck Materials

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pres­sure-treat­ed wood is one of the most com­mon wood deck­ing mate­ri­als on the mar­ket. This wood is the result of a process that uses extreme­ly high pres­sure to inject a preser­v­a­tive into the wood, mak­ing it rot and insect resistant. 

Anoth­er great ben­e­fit is its price: Pres­sure-treat­ed wood is on the cheap­er side of the pric­ing spec­trum com­pared to red­wood or cedar, and it is often more wide­ly avail­able due to its popularity.

The prob­lem with this type of wood is that it can be unsta­ble, espe­cial­ly when you choose the low­est price over qual­i­ty. Less­er grade pres­sure-treat­ed wood can some­times shrink, warp or twist. If it’s pos­si­ble with your bud­get, we rec­om­mend you pay a high­er price for high­er-grade lum­ber and opt for a pre-stained product.


Just like the name sug­gests, red­wood wood deck­ing mate­r­i­al is prized for its red­dish-brown hues and tones that seem to sparkle in the sun­light. The aes­thet­ic of this wood is high­ly sought after as the col­or cre­ates a dra­mat­ic effect, offers a warm tonal range and gives flare with­out the aid of a sat­u­rat­ed stain.

Nat­u­ral­ly robust Cal­i­for­nia Red­wood is a sus­tain­able wood when sourced eth­i­cal­ly, and it’s resis­tant to warp­ing. Redwood’s durable sta­bil­i­ty keeps your deck look­ing great for longer. 

Poten­tial down­sides are that red­wood needs to be main­tained by apply­ing a seal­er, and it requires rou­tine main­te­nance to reseal it every few years. The far­ther you are away from the Cal­i­for­nia coast, the more mon­ey you’ll spend. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many red­wood forests have been over-sourced, and only 1% of the old-growth red­wood trees remain glob­al­ly.


Cedar wood is con­sid­ered soft­wood and has been used as a reli­able deck­ing mate­r­i­al for gen­er­a­tions. Much like red­wood, it has a nat­ur­al resis­tance to rot and pests, mak­ing it a high­ly desir­able deck option. Cedar also gives off a pleas­ing, calm­ing smell with a rec­og­niz­able scent, giv­ing your home a com­fort­ing, famil­iar feeling. 

How­ev­er, some builders find cedar to be too soft for deck­ing and it has a high­er inten­si­ty of splin­ter­ing if you for­go a skilled pro­fes­sion­al as your installer. Hire a builder skilled in fas­ten­ing cedar deck boards, uti­lize the best screws for cedar and build your deck with the best fas­ten­ers for cedar — then, you’re good to go. Sim­i­lar to red­wood, old-growth cedars are some­times har­vest­ed too often, so try to find a rep­utable, eth­i­cal­ly sourced sup­pli­er to pur­chase from if you can.


Mahogany wood gives your deck a beau­ti­ful and long-last­ing look. It comes from hard, red­dish-brown tim­ber in trop­i­cal trees and is often used in high-qual­i­ty fur­ni­ture. With the right builder, it can absolute­ly be used for a deck build.

Because of its beau­ty and longevi­ty, mahogany is an extreme­ly pricey option. If you’re look­ing for a large deck job, your cost will be sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er than oth­er mate­ri­als. Due to this dras­tic price dif­fer­ence and grow­ing demand, there are more and more sup­pli­ers who are log­ging and ship­ping mahogany to the Unit­ed States ille­gal­ly. So it’s impor­tant to ensure you know where your wood orig­i­nates from.


Ipe, also known as Brazil­ian wal­nut, comes from the forests of Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca. It is par­tic­u­lar­ly durable due to its den­si­ty. Buy­ers rave that it weath­ers fan­tas­ti­cal­ly and looks gor­geous. If you’re in an area prone to wild­fires, Ipe has the same Class A fire rat­ing as con­crete or steel, mak­ing it a safer choice.

How­ev­er, Ipe is rare, so it’s both hard to find and expen­sive. It’s also dif­fi­cult to cut, due to its den­si­ty. You have to pre-drill the holes in order to install it, which is time-consuming. 

The Best Screw Type for Each Wood Deck Material

2 LedgerLOK Flat Head structural wood screws are laid crisscrossing each other over a white background.

The Ledger­LOK Flat Head is a code-com­pli­ant struc­tur­al wood screw engi­neered to fas­ten a deck ledger board to the rim joist of a house with no pre-drilling. It replaces lag screws and through-bolts and has been coat­ed with a pro­pri­etary three-step coat­ing process that includes epoxy-coat­ed steel that pro­tects against cor­ro­sion. This makes it a suit­able screw for hard­wood, soft­wood and pres­sure-treat­ed wood decks.

Two GuardDog exterior wood screws, colored light brown, are displayed horizontally on a white background.

Guard­Dog screws are anoth­er great solu­tion for all types of wood decks — from red­wood to cedar to ipe. It’s ver­sa­tile and great for just about any deck project. These screws come with a TORX® ttap® Dri­ve Sys­tem that helps deliv­er a stick-fit, wob­ble-free instal­la­tion, as well as nibs under the head for a clean, fin­ished look. And they install quick­ly thanks to the sharp type 17 point. We sug­gest using Guard­Dog for pres­sure-treat­ed, red­wood and cedar deck screws.

An Ipe/Hardwood Autofeed Deck Screw on a white background is displayed above.

Aut­ofeed Deck Screws are fan­tas­tic for ipe and any hard­wood decks. Since it’s made of stain­less steel, it’s also great for use on decks near salt or fresh­wa­ter and any type of wet’ envi­ron­ment. It has a patent­ed X point that elim­i­nates the need for pre-drilling. 

How FastenMaster Can Help

When seek­ing out what screws to use for cedar deck­ing, red­wood deck­ing, mahogany deck­ing, ipe deck­ing or pres­sure-treat­ed wood deck­ing, we hope you come back to our guide and con­sid­er us at Fas­ten­Mas­ter as your trust­ed sup­pli­er for your deck project. 

Thanks to our wide range of fas­ten­ing prod­ucts, you can find the per­fect fas­ten­er for any type of wood deck­ing project, regard­less of your mate­r­i­al of choice. 

If you’re a home­own­er, we can’t wait to help guide you through your next ren­o­va­tion project. If you’re a pro­fes­sion­al con­trac­tor, con­sid­er becom­ing a PROStar mem­ber to join our com­mu­ni­ty and receive a month­ly eNewslet­ter, month­ly free prod­uct offers and invi­ta­tions to exclu­sive indus­try events.