Cedar is an excellent decking building material. It’s regarded as a premium type material…which is why it’s somewhat fascinating to discover other contractors working with it using the wrong fasteners. There are three good fastener options for cedar decking in my opinion:
1) Hot-dipped galvanized (Maze) nail– most common and least expensive. Make sure (read the box) that the layer of galvanization is correct for cedar.
2) Collated stainless steel deck screw– I really recommend the one made by Pam screws. There are several different types of collated screws but I recommend the one that’s designed for IPE. This screw is 2 ½” # 10 and has a self drilling point to start the screw easily and without any splitting while penetrating the decking. Also, on the bottom side of the screw heads there are small cutter knifes which countersink the head of the screw. It gives a nice, clean look and prevents splinting or splintering.
3) Hidden fastener– Cedar is a very stable material. As such, you can take a slightly more cosmetic approach and go with hidden fasteners. In particular, I like the hidden fasteners put out by Deck Master System. It too gives a nice, clean look. You’ll have to mind your pocketbook though with this option as it tends to be about $3/square foot more (as well as taking longer to install).
So determine the right fastener for you and have fun with your cedar!