Drywall Screws vs Nails: Which Should I Use?

Screws and nails might serve the very same general function, but seldom is there a time when the selection among the two doesn’t matter. Finding the improper fastener can gradual down your project and result in efficiency problems above time. It violates creating codes in several instances, and no matter what, it opens the prospective for costly repairs and safety pitfalls.

Drywall is one particular location in which screws have a distinct benefit over nails. Each can operate in specified scenarios, but screws supply a much better keep with considerably less work. We’ll assess drywall screws vs . nails to give perspective on making the very best selection for your following task.

Overview of Drywall Screws

Drywall screws bear a exclusive sort ideal for attaching drywall and hiding the head for a clean paint application. They are self-tapping, making use of a sharp level that is straightforward to stick into drywall for a controlled set up. The Phillip’s head has a bugle form. It tapers to avoid hurt to the fragile gypsum and paper surface layer of the drywall, enabling you to countersink the head flush with the wall and pin it in spot.

Most drywall screws have a black phosphate coating. One particular minimal benefit of phosphate is its corrosion resistance, which assists it stand up to rusting as the moist joint compound dries on prime of it. The main purpose is to minimize friction as the screw enters the stud. The phosphate coating permits the screw to slide simply and stops galling, which can lead to the screw and stud to adhere to a friction weld, creating it tough to take away.

black drywall screws
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Types of Drywall Screws

You will usually discover drywall screws in #6 or #8 widths and numerous lengths, normally among one ¼ inch and two inches, though you can find some screws up to three inches lengthy. Longer screws can maintain a lot more excess weight and are usually practical when fastening multiple pieces of drywall for extra fire resistance and sound dampening. They often function a bare segment between the head and thread to maintain the screw from likely too much into the drywall.

Along with the minor selection of lengths and thicknesses to match different drywall and stud profiles, there are two standard varieties of drywall screws — coarse and fantastic-thread drywall screws.

Coarse-thread screws have a broader gap between the thread than fantastic-thread screws. The thread you pick will depend on whether you have a metallic or wooden stud.

Coarse-Thread Drywall Screws

Coarse-thread drywall screws (or “W-type” screws) work for wood studs. The broad thread enables far more wooden to fill the gap, generating a sturdy hold. The coarse thread also produces a more compact path to follow than a fine thread drywall screw, permitting you set up it more rapidly.

Fantastic-Thread Drywall Screws

Fantastic-thread drywall screws (or “S-type” screws) have a lengthier thread that spirals in a restricted sample around the screw shaft. These self-threading screws are perfect for keeping drywall in opposition to metallic studs, as they will not chew by way of the metallic like a coarse-thread screw. They consider for a longer time to screw in than coarse-thread screws, and the more compact gap amongst the threads results in a weaker keep in wooden, so it’s best to use wonderful-thread screws only on metal.

Overview of Nails

nails and hammer on wooden surface
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Like drywall screws, nails function a flat head and a sharp stage for driving. The shaft is sleek, making it possible for you to tap them into place with a hammer.

Drywall nails come in the identical lengths and widths as drywall screws. They activity a phosphate coating for additional rust resistance and friction reduction. A cupped head allows the nail to sink beneath the drywall’s area, and it will normally utilize a ring shank design. The minute grooves running down the shaft offer a greater grip inside the underlying wooden stud.

Why Are Drywall Screws Better Than Nails?

Screws are a better alternative than nails in practically every drywall situation. Threading materials the most tensile energy and generates a restricted grip that resists loosening more than time and prevents two objects from pulling apart. With the appropriate equipment, drywall screws are also less difficult to countersink and significantly faster to install.

In some instances, such as drywalling the ceiling or mounting to metal studs, screws are the only practical option. No matter what, choosing screws will help save you time and provide more attractive, longer-long lasting results.

a black drywall screw
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Drywall Screws Provide Better Grip

Tensile toughness is essential to avoid the frustrating nail pops that generate blatant blemishes on an or else clean area. As gravity pulls on the drywall, it can steadily wiggle nails out of their holes. The drywall attachment will loosen, and the slightest strain will expose the nail head. Ceiling drywall can be notably problematic, as it’s a lot more most likely to pull away from the joists and towards the flooring.

Drywall Screws Are Easier and Faster to Install

With the correct instruments, drywall screws are less difficult and more quickly to insert than nails. You could think a nail gun with drywall nails will pace factors up, but the lack of depth control helps make them woefully impractical.

When you really do not travel them to the proper depth, your fasteners will either stick previously mentioned the drywall floor, creating them extremely hard to conceal, or go too deep and rip the paper area. Keeping the drywall paper is vital to preserve the panel attached to the stud. Even the tiniest tear all around the head can ultimately open up and damage the relationship, usually causing the drywall to pop out and swallow the fastener.

A nail gun could be quick, but it’s not exact, so for drywall nails, the only useful choice is to hammer them. With drywall screws, you can really feel totally free to use a powered screw gun. Screw guns usually expense more than $a hundred, but they will allow you rattle off properly set screws every single time, sparing you tons of time and aggravation if you put in a great deal of drywall.

Screw guns attribute a Phillips bit that compresses (“dimples”) the wall close to the screw to make it simple to cover with mud. Most goods have a depth location that stops the screw from heading also considerably into the drywall. Several guns also consider collated screws for further pace, trying to keep you from manually reloading the bit.

Use a Regular Drill with a Drywall Bit

If you really do not have the funds to blow on a new screw gun, you can flip your regular drill into a drywall drill with a drywall screw environment bit. These Phillips bits have a ring that stops them from going too far into the drywall. Instead, they gently dimple the panel with no breaking the paper, leaving a firm maintain and a tiny indentation to easy more than with joint compound. A pack of four drywall bits only expenses about $5–$10 at a nearby components store.

man using DEWALT 20V MAX-XR Drywall Screw Gun

Save on Materials

Developing codes might differ, but you generally require far more nails than screws when installing drywall. Nails generally want a spacing of no more than eight inches to permit a firm keep on wall studs and no much more than 7 inches when put in into ceiling joists. By contrast, you can space drywall screws sixteen inches aside on the wall and twelve inches aside on the ceiling. As the venture scales up, it turns into even faster and a lot more price-efficient to use screws.

How to Choose the Right Drywall Screws

To choose the suitable drywall screws for your project, think about the stud materials and the thickness of the drywall. The drywall thickness will determine the screw length:

  • ¼” Drywall: 1 ¼” screws
  • ½” Drywall: 1 ¼”–1 ⅝” screws
  • ⅝” Drywall: 1 ⅝”–2” screws

You also need to have to pick between coarse and fantastic-thread screws.

drywall screws on concrete
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Why Does the Screw Thread Matter?

Although far more expensive than wooden studs, metal studs resist fire damage, mould, rot, and pests, creating them perfect in large-threat regions like loos and basements. They get the same standard outward form as wooden studs, but galvanized metal studs are hollow on the within. The steel is wafer-skinny, with regular thicknesses about .five mm for non-load-bearing frames and two mm for structural supports.

Given that the metallic is so shallow, a coarse thread screw would rip clean by means of it and leave a stripped hole. A fine thread screw can generate a thread in the sheet metal, supplying it one thing to grip. The two screw sorts can operate for wood studs, but coarse-thread screws will go in quicker and develop a somewhat firmer grip.

Benefits of Drywall Nails

There are two places to avoid employing drywall nails—ceilings and metal studs. Ceilings generate a downward power that requires tensile strength for keeping on to the joists. Meanwhile, steel studs lead to all sorts of issues for nails. The reverberating affect of the fastener going into the frame would be quickly problematic, and there would be nearly no grip between the clean shaft and the skinny metal stud.

For a wall, you can use possibly drywall nails or screws. Even though screws are still the ideal option, nails have a single minor edge here—cost. A pack of drywall nails is marginally less high-priced than a pack of screws, and if all you have is a hammer, a couple of bucks, and an urgent want to get this drywall up, then nails are the best decision.

Attempting to countersink screws without a dimpling little bit on your drill is very challenging. You’ll probably poke more than a number of holes in your drywall making an attempt to set them. 1 practical element of a hammer is that you can evenly depress the wall around the nail head without having detrimental the paper.


If you can pick amongst drywall screws and nails, make the straightforward determination. Drywall screws are more rapidly and easier to connect, and you won’t have aggravating nail pops and unfastened panels ruining your flawless installation. Nails will work, but if you have a drill, it only will take a small investment decision to make your lifestyle a good deal simpler.



Featured Image Credit history: (L) pryzmat, Shutterstock | (R) Digicam-guy, Pixabay