How to Install Deck Boards Easily (Fastener Free and Without Gaps)

Marksman EdgeMaybe easy isn’t the right word, but there are a variety of tools available to make more efficient work of deck board installation while providing superior fastener-free results. CAMO makes many of these tools, but their newest one, the Marksman Edge is different from the rest.

The CAMO Marksman Edge tool not only gives you a fastener free surface, but it also gives you a zero gap surface–without splitting, cracking, and without a high price tag. The Marksman Edge is designed specifically for pressure treated lumber.

To help you decide if this tool is for you, here’s a quick overview of how to use it.

What You Need

You’ll need a drill set to its highest speed, the CAMO Marksman Edge, CAMO Hidden fasteners (use 1-7/8″ for 3/4″ – 1-1/4″ deckboards; use 2-3/8″ for 1-1/2″-2″ deckboards), and optional secondary spacers if a gap is desired. Of course, you’ll need pressure treated lumber, too.

Installation Overview

Begin the installation with the board that abuts the structure and fasten the outside edge to the joist. You might need to face fasten or use an L bracket from beneath the structure to fasten the inside edge of the abutting board.

The CAMO Marksman Edge has a magnetized screw guide which holds the screw in place. When driving the screws into place, keep the tool face flat on the surface of the deck board and the screw guide tight to the edge of the deck board.

You’ll use both hands, gripping the driver drill in one hand and holding the Marksman Edge in the other. Keep the Marksman Edge tight to the board to maintain the screw angle and run the drill at full RPM. The screw will spin and auger the surface–do not force it–after a moment the screw will pull into the board.

Repeat this process down the length of the board to secure the deck boards to the joists and create a gap-free, fastener-free deck surface. You’ll be impressed with the results.

We think this is a great tool for efficiently getting a gap- and fastener-free deck surface, so we’re making sure that we have plenty in stock for the upcoming deck season. Get your CAMO Edge now at DIY Home Center.

CAMO Fasteners Approved for use with DuraLife Decking

DuraLife has approved CAMO for use with their high quality decking products.

We like the CAMO Hidden Fastening System because it’s easy to work with and produces great results. CAMO’s Marksman Pro–and their high quality screws–help fasten deck boards quickly and efficiently. DuraLife is another outstanding product known for it’s durability and strength.

With CAMO being approved for use with DuraLife, that means that not only is the product compatible, but that DuraLife thinks the results are so good that they recommend CAMO to be used with their product. So, if you’re considering a deck using DuraLife, you should also consider hiding your fasteners using the CAMO Hidden Fastening System.

When it comes time to selecting the correct CAMO fastener, CAMO has you covered with this guide (pdf).

Check out our selection of CAMO products at DIY Home Center.

CAMO Installation Tip: Install from the Outside Edge

A fastener-free deck surface looks great, and the CAMO Marksman Pro makes this look simple to achieve. That’s why it’s so popular. But like every good tool, there are some tips to follow to make sure you use it correctly and get the result you want.
Camo Deck Fasteners
Here’s a tip that was recently covered in CAMO’s newsletter: When you’re using the CAMO Marksman Pro, Marksman-X1, or Marksman-NB, make sure you install from the outside edge first.

This is the process:

  1. Secure the deck board(s) that abut the structure.
  2. Position the next deck board parallel to the secured board and clamp your Marksman tool over the board at the joist.
  3. Holding onto the tool, push firmly against the secured deck board. If you’re using the Marksman Pro-X1, make sure the spacer is set for the desired gap and that it’s between the boards.
  4. Fasten the deck board from the outside edge. Fastening the outside edge first reduces board movement and ensures even spacing over the length of the board. (See image A)
  5. After fastening the outside edge, then fasten the inside edge. (See image B)
  6. Continue this process for the length of the deck board.

By following this process over the length of the deck board, you should have a perfectly even deck gap–and a beautiful fastener-free deck surface.

Looking for a simple straightforward way to achieve a fastener-free deck surface? Look no further than the CAMO Marksman Pro, Marksman Pro-NB, or Marksman Pro-X1–in stock now at DIY Home Center.

Why You Should Install Your Deck Boards “Frown Down”

CAMO MarksmanIn a recent newsletter from CAMO, their Tips and Tricks section had a recommendation for installing deck boards when using CAMO products, particularly when you’re using pressure treated lumber. The recommendation? Install your deck boards “frown down.”

Installing your deck boards frown down “helps minimize cupping, where the face of the board warps up like the letter U.” If a deck board “cups,” a tripping hazard can develop, moisture will be retained on the deck, and rotting might occur. All this will increase the cost of maintenance on your deck and cost you more money over time.

An advantage to CAMO products is that their fasteners provide resistance against the natural inclination of the wood’s drying process and helps reduce splinting and checking on the deck’s surface. These advantages of the CAMO system, in addition to following the “frown down” recommendation, can help maintain the quality of your deck over time.

Keep in mind, however, that all woods are different and that “frown down” is just a best practice.

Check out our supply of CAMO fasteners at DIY Home Center.

CAMO Marksman Pro X1 For Soft Wood Decks

CAMO Marksman Pro X1 Tool

With 1/16″ Spacing the NEW CAMO Marksman Pro – X1 is Perfect for Soft Wood

This is the one we’ve been waiting for! CAMO’s new Marksman Pro – X1 can install boards with a 1/16″ gap, making it a great hidden fastening system for softwoods like cedar, redwood, and pine.

Previous versions of the CAMO Marksman have provided automatic 3/16″ deck board spacing. This is great for composites, but not for softwoods which are typically wet when installed and can shrink up to 1/8″, leaving a large, unsightly gap between deck boards.

Installing the deck boards with 1/16″ spacing means that when the wood inevitably shrinks, you’ll be left with picture-perfect gaps between boards.

The Marksman Pro – X1 fits deck boards from 5-1/4″ to 5-3/4″ and provides both 1/16″ and 3/16″ board spacing, depending on which side of the tool you use.

As with other tools in CAMO’s line, dual screw guides streamline installation by letting you fasten both sides of the board with a single tool placement, without pre-drilling. This simple, straightforward installation makes the X1 a natural choice for DIYers who want to create a beautiful, fastener-free deck surface with softwoods.

The heavy-duty, contractor-grade Marksman Pro – X1 is also a great choice for pros who appreciate speedy installation and high quality results.

The CAMO Hidden Fastening System is an affordable choice that offers a beautiful fastener-free deck surface, straightforward installation, ease of use, and a rust and corrosion guarantee that’s good for the life of the project. What more could you ask for?

Make sure to get your CAMO Marksman Pro X1 from DIY Home Center.

How to Install Deck Boards at a 45 Degree Angle with the CAMO Marksman Pro

You might think that installing your deck boards at 45 degrees isn’t possible with the CAMO Marksman Pro and the CAMO Hidden Fastener system–but it is. And, thankfully, it’s a project that an intrepid DIYer such as yourself is capable of tackling.

As CAMO explains in their how to video below, it’s a straightforward process to create a deck with 45-degree deck boards.

But before you check out the installation video, a quick note: Unlike a traditional installation where you can use both ends of the CAMO Marksman Pro to drive in the fasteners, with a 45-degree installation, you can only use one side at a time. (A minor inconvenience when you consider the end result!)

Don’t forget, DIY Home Center has the Marksman, the Marksman Pro, the Marksman Pro NB, and all the CAMO fasteners you could ever need to create your dream deck. Check out our wide selection at DIY Home Center.

Which CAMO Marksman Install Tool Should I Buy?

CAMO Deck Tool Review

CAMO Marksman Tools

Considering the CAMO hidden fastening system? If you’ve been following our blog, you already know that we think it’s a great system, but what you might not know is which tool you should buy: the Marksman, Marksman Pro, or the Marksman Pro NB.

The short version is that it all comes down to deck board width and product durability:

  • CAMO Marksman – Works with 6” (nominal) deck boards. This tool is a lightweight, non-professional grade that only has one screw guide. You’ll have to continuously rotate the tool during the install process. We don’t recommend this one.
  • CAMO Marksman Pro – Works with 6” (nominal) deck boards. This tool is a durable, contractor grade that has dual screw guides which makes for faster installation. Strongly recommended.
  •  CAMO Marksman Pro NB – Adjustable – works with 3 ¼” to 5” (nominal) deck boards. Like the Pro, this narrow board tool is a durable, contractor grade and has dual screw guides to make for faster installation. Strongly recommended.

Knowing the difference will help you make sure you select the right tool for the job.

If you’re looking for more information, we put together a great page on our website that explains the differences among the CAMO Marksman tools, our recommendations, and how many CAMO deck fasteners you need. It’s a great place to get information before your deck project.

Of course, we have all the CAMO installation tools available now at DIY Home Center.