Drywall Screw - versatile
I can't remember what we used before the drywall screw became so popular, but I know we used something. It seems today that this drywall fastener has taken over in popularity to the point where we don't use wood screws anymore.
I rarely do.
Screw type drywall fasteners are kind of like popcorn - they're everywhere in the toolbox and workshop.
Despite their popularity, they have limits that we need to respect.
If we apply them properly, they will serve us well. If we overuse them, we'll be sorry. Yes, they are handy, but sometimes a lag screw, carriage bolt, a nail or a wood screw is a better choice. It all depends on what you're trying to do.
The Drywall Screw - a little background
Many years ago, most drywall was installed using nails. The reason was simple - drywall was nailed through sheet rock and into the wooden studs of the wall. Then we moved to building more and more walls in office buildings with galvanized steel studs, and nails because useless.
Enter the drywall screw - it can be screwed through the sheet rock and into the metal stud wall supports because it had a very sharp point. It was an easy proposition, especially when using a gun designed to quickly drive the screws.
The screw could also be fastened to just the right depth in sheet rock, and it didn't leave hammer marks on the surface. All in all, a quicker and easier way to fasten sheet rock to metal or wooden studs.
One of the most appealing features of the screw is it's ability to countersink itself. If you're trying to get your screws flush with the wood surface, or just a bit beneath the surface, it's easy to do it with a drywall screw if you're using a softer wood like pine, spruce or fir.
Different Types of Screws for Drywall
The photo below shows the different types of screws that you might encounter if you ask for a screw for installing drywall. They aren't all the same.
As shown in the photo lower right, not all screws are the same length. Not only are the lengths different, but so are the diameters of the shafts. In addition, you can see threads that are fine and threads that are coarse.
Each has a different application based on factors such as:
- holding strength required
- material being fastened together
- depth of penetration necessary
Coarse threads and thicker shafts are best in fibrous material, but they also work well in high density material. Fine threads and thinner shafts are best for more dense materials, but they won't have the sheer strength that a thicker shaft offers.
As shown in the photo left, all of these type of screws have phillips heads on them. This makes them easy to grab with a screwdriver, more capable of accepting torque (twist), and it also helps keep you from slipping off.
Drawbacks of the Drywall Screw
They say that everything has it's price, and that holds true for the drywall screw. It's not the perfect fastener, but its popularity is well deserved.
Here are the weaknesses of this type of screw:
- It's brittle, and so it tends to break off under pressure. If your wooden structure is going to move a bit, perhaps nails are a better choice.
- They will rust. Intended for indoor use only, or in cases where you don't care if the screw head rusts.
- Threads are all the way up the shaft of the screw. This means that you can't pull one piece of wood into the other, you have to have both pieces pressed together before you use the screw to fasten them.
There you have it - the drywall screw. Another tool in your frugal living toolbox that will help you be more self reliant when it comes to fixing things and creating things of your own.
Done with Drywall Screw, take me back to Do It Yourself