The Taming of the Screw

Screws are used today for a number of the fastening tasks once performed by nails. If a nail is set on a job nowadays, it’s generally done with a nail gun. Nail guns are fast, however if you are performing a DIY job, you might be unable to justify the cost for specialty nail guns for framing, finish work, roof and more.

Many home DIYers look to screws to satisfy fastening needs. 1 driver, a pair of hints and a couple of distinct screws may solve many problems around the home. But which screw to utilize? Learn here.

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Find the Ideal Screw for the Work

Have a stroll down the fastener aisle at the hardware store and you’ll encounter a dizzying array of screws. Flat head and pan head, Phillips, Robertson and Torx. Black, gray, blue and green. Brassy and silver #6, #8. What does it all mean? Begin with the simplest questions:

What exactly are you trying to connect? Wood to wood is a frequent task. What thickness is each bit of timber? If you want to fasten a 3/4-inch-thick bit of wood to some 11/2-inch-thick slice, you’re going to require a screw that’s at least 11/2 inches long (long enough to experience the 3/4-inch slice and also be embedded 3/4 inch in the other slice). Use a screw longer than two⅛ inches, though, and it may go directly through both materials.

Screws can pull into the wood also, so a two⅛-inch thread could actually pop out another side of two1/4 inches of timber.


What tools do you have? A cordless drill or driver is a helpful instrument. You may use it to drill pilot holes (a hole slightly smaller than the shaft of the screw which makes it a lot easier to push in the screw). Placing a magnetic drive guide and tip into the throw (the part that bites onto the drill bit or push manual) will help you screw in the fastener of your choice.

Even if you are pushing the screw by hand with a screwdriver, then it still helps to drill a pilot hole. If you’re using a driver or drill, try not to twist it too quickly — you may strip the screw head, and also the tip of this driver will not grip. This is particularly common with metal and stainless steel screws. Look for a setting in your driver which will keep the chuck from spinning when too much torque is needed, or get an effect driver.

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Types of Screws

Phillips screws. The most common and most useful screw thread is the flat-head Phillips outside screw, shown here.

“Phillips” refers to the the cross-shaped indentation from the flat head. It’s simpler to maintain the drill bit in a Phillips head than at a slotted head. The angled underside of the flat head means the screw thread will pull in the wood until the head is flush with the surface or slightly under (countersunk).

The gray color comes out of a coating which makes it an outdoor twist. If you are buying screws for several purposes, catch these. If you know the job is indoors, try Phillips matte black shingles; they have exactly the same form but no coating for weather resistance.

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Coated screws. At times the color of the screw comes from the metal it is made from, like a brass screw (great for things like hinges, where the screws are seen, however soft, so push them carefully). But on occasion the twist’s color comes out of a coating.

There are various screw coatings which should be used for various applications — as with the majority of construction materials, it pays to read the instructions. Screwing cement board to a shower wall? There is a coating for that. Attaching composite decking to pressure-treated joists? There is a coating for that. There are ceramic coatings, epoxy coatings and glorified paint coatings.

If you drive a screw with a inexpensive coating into wood and then draw it out, you will see the coat will have worn off. This may lead to rust stains, like those shown in this picture. It doesn’t hurt the rustic, unfinished vibe of this rain screen with untreated wood, however when the coating wore off on pressure-treated timber, the compounds in the wood could cause the fastener to fail in a short time.

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Square-drive and stainless screws. If you’re afraid of failure from pressure-treated substances, play it safe and use stainless steel screws. Stainless Appliances are now easily available and worth the added cost for outdoor jobs which need to last. Many stainless screws have what is referred to as a square drive instead of a Phillips head. This is what it sounds like: The pit the piece goes into is square shaped. To avoid stripping the screw, guarantee that the piece has a comfortable fit. Often there will be a bit from the box of screws so dig around for this.

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Pan-head screws. If you want to produce a wonderful finished appearance with a visible screw, use a pan-head screw thread. The head of the screws is rounded on the top and flat on the underside, so it doesn’t pull in the wood. You can also utilize a finishing washer with a flat-head screw, as shown in this picture. The screw fits into the washer, which keeps the fastener over the material. If you’re using stainless screws out, ensure that the washer is stainless also.

Trim-head screws. If you want your fastener to make a small influence in your complete work, use a trimming head screw. These will be square drive and also have a small head that’s just a bit wider than the screw. This lets it pull farther into the wood and leave a small hole and dimple from the timber.

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Blue screws. In the old times, when we desired to attach something to masonry, we needed to bang thick-cut masonry nails into the mortar or utilize a powder-actuated nail gun. These are not like nail guns powered by air — a frightening but comparatively quiet experience. All these are similar to real guns, together with gunpowder.

But today there’s another solution: blue screws. These screws are hard enough to be driven into molds without even breaking. Be sure to use the included masonry bit to drill the pilot hole (you will need a hammer drill to make the hole, which vibrates back and forth as it spins).


You can do virtually anything with a screw — even hang your coat on one! Remember that forcing a thread takes more time than hammering a nail, therefore if the job involves many screws, then you might choose to decide on a different fastening way of the occupation. But if you’re looking for exceptional holding power, a screw can’t be beat.

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