People in the fittings industry often talk about products assuming their customers know exactly what they are and what they do. But for the average DIY-er, there are still many things that may need clearing up. Screws, for instance, although seemingly simple, are very easy to get wrong. And using the wrong type of screw can lead to problems down the road. With experience, you’ll notice that different screws have different functions and purposes. Not all screws are made for every job, and in order to understand which screw is right for your job, it’s best you get familiar with the parts that make them up.
Parts of a Screw
This is the part where the tip of the screwdriver meets the screw (the top part of the screw). The shape and size of the drive will vary based on the type of screw you’re using.
The head of the screw is located between the drive and the shank of the screw. It can be domed, flat, raised, bevelled, etc. The shape and size of the screw head have a lot to do with the type of project you’re working on, the functionality and the aesthetic.
The shank of the screw is located between the head and the thread. Think of it as the screw’s neck. Shanks can be of different shapes and sizes, depending on their intended use. Some are the same diameter along their length, whereas others are sloped or angled. Some shanks are threaded for extra holding power.
The thread is the spiral that determines how securely the screw can hold the object in place. Some screws feature larger or smaller gaps depending on their purpose and size.
The tip of the screw is the point that helps guide it into the material. Tips can be pointed, split pointed, or feature no point, depending on the purpose of the screw.
Types of Screws Based on Use
As their name implies, concrete screws are used in masonry applications. They’re one of the strongest types of screws, typically made of a strong metal, because they require quite a lot of holding power. Typically, concrete screws in Australia feature the longest body, as they need to be drilled through tough materials. They usually come with a hex head or a pan head. You’ll find concrete screws in Australia stores in many different sizes, made for a wide range of masonry applications.
Wood screws are mainly used in furniture building. They’re thick and made of soft metal, making them less likely to snap when screwed. They generally come with a tapered head and a partially threaded shank. These screws are mainly used to connect two pieces of wood together. Wood screws are available with flathead and Phillips heads and are used in interior or exterior projects.
Pocket Hole Screws
These screws are made for pocket holes. A pocket hole is ideal for assembling cabinets, furniture and other casework. Similarly to wood screws, pocket hole screws join wood together at an intersection where two pieces of lumber meet. The key difference between conventional wood screws and pocket hole screws is that pocket hole screws are only threaded at the bottom half of the body. This makes sure the threads are mainly in the second piece of wood.
These are the standard fastener for securing drywall to ceiling joists or wall studs. Drywall screws are thinner than wood screws, which makes them more prone to snapping. This is why an anchor is recommended for hanging heavier items on drywall. Drywall screws are available in a range of lengths, heads, points, thread types and compositions. Most drywall screws are fully threaded and feature a bugle-shaped head. It’s recommended you use these screws for indoor projects or light-duty projects.
Deck screws are the strongest screws in terms of holding strength. They’re made from hardened or stainless steel, and feature corrosion-resistant coating, making them perfect for outdoor applications. They provide great retention of boards against deck frames, and they can prevent squeaks that occur when nails are used.
Machine screws are specialised screws meant for securing machinery parts in construction sites or electrical components such as outlets, light switches and light fixture boxes. They feature threads along the shaft that are much finer than other screws. Further, they don’t feature a point at the tip. This type of screw is used in pre-drilled holes or with nuts to fasten the metal parts. When choosing a screw and nut, you have to make sure both have a matching thread style. For that reason, they’re typically sold together.
The Final Word
This doesn’t even begin to touch on all the different combinations of screws available, but it should give you a general idea of how to choose the right ones for your project based on their purpose. Using the right screw for the job can go a long way in ensuring whatever it is you’re trying to secure stays secure for as long as possible.