No matter if you are a DIY-selfer, or you just have the occasional home project to do, using the right screws for the job can make the difference between making the job easier or more difficult. It can also play a role in the finished look of the project. Many people may not know much about screws, mainly, how many types there really all. Most people tend to just choose a screw to work with as a one-screw-fits-all type of thinking, but the truth is, that if you know the different types of screws available today, you could be saving yourself a lot of time and trouble when it comes to tackling those home projects. To help give you a little heads-up (no pun intended) on some common screws you should keep on hand at your home, here is a list of ten of the most common types of screws you use in your home.
1. Wood screws
Most homeowners will more than likely encounter at least one or two projects that require working with wood, and when you do, this is the primary type of screw you’d want around to use. Wood screws are just that, screws that join pieces of wood together. They are designed with thread that takes up a good portion of the screw with a smooth shank above. Most wood screws are made with a Phillips head and you can find them in a variety of diameters and head shapes so that you can choose the perfect one for your project.
2. Internal Hex screws
In order to use the Internal Hex screws, you’ll need an Allen wrench to install or remove them, but if you have ever purchased pieces of furniture that you have to completely assemble, or at least partially assemble, this is the screw you’ll want. These screws are designed so that you have to use the Allen wrench, but this is what you will want in order to preserve the integrity of your furniture since you will not likely have any slippage incidents that are common with other types of screws and could cause damage to the furniture.
3. Flange screws
Flange screws are designed with a circular or hexed head and just below the head, is a circular flange area that will act as a washer if you need one for some of your projects. Like a washer, the flange is designed to help keep the screw in place and not budge. It’s a great screw to have on hand at home so that you don’t always have to search for, and deal with added pieces – the washers.
4. Star (Torx) Drive screws
Here’s a high quality screw that are increasingly becoming more popular in the U.S. One of the biggest reasons for the increase in popularity in this screw is the fact that the head is a star shape which means that while using the driver, which you will typically find it comes with a box of these screws, won’t slip out of the head, no matter the amount of torque you use. While other screws may have their head snap if you tighten it too much, or you experience slippage with your driver and damage your wood or other material, this screw allows you to tighten it all you want and you still retain your grip and connection with the screw.
5. Drywall screws
Here’s an inexpensive screw that is very popular among contractors and homeowners. You can find them just about anywhere, and a lot of people will try to use them for woodworking projects due to their convenience and easy to use design. That being said, professionals that use all types of screws on a regular basis will tell you they don’t recommend using this type of screw for wood work due to the fact that they are thinner than wood screws and have the ability to snap. For drywall, they work very well due to their bugle shape heads that decrease the risk of them tearing the drywall as it goes in.
6. Multi-purpose screws
The multi-purpose screw is a favorite of a lot of people. They’re made of hardened steel, which makes them incredibly strong to work with in a wide variety of projects. If you hate having to pre-drill holes, you’ll love working with multi-purpose screws because they are designed with self-drilling points which means that pilot hole is one step you get to eliminate. That being said, some will say that you may still want to do that if you are working near the end of a board. Pre-drilling a pilot hole can help prevent the board from splitting.
7. Exterior Decking screws
Most homes today, come with a back deck of some sort, and if they don’t, many homeowners will add one. If you have a deck or plan to build one, this is the type of screw you’ll want to do the job. Deck screws are designed with coarse threads and smooth shank. They’re also rust and corrosion resistant, which means they’ll stay in good shape for many years. The unique features of the decking screws were designed so that the head of the screw plunges just beneath the surface of the wood, or at the very least, it lays flush with the wood so that there aren’t nail tops left above to trip on while walking across the deck. For pressure treated wood, it’s recommeded that you use ACQ-compatible wood decking screws.
8. Sheet Metal screws
The sheet metal screws may primarily be for metal work, but they can actually be used for multiple purposes. The screws have very sharp threads and tips and can be used to work with metal, plastic and wood, which makes them a popular type of screw to have at home. The majority of types of sheet metal screws are self-tapping and will only require a pre-drilled hole to get the screw-in going. Self-drilling screws don’t require a pre-drilled hole due to the sharpness of their tip. They are designed to cut through tough metal easily without.
9. MDF screws
One of the most common home projects homeowners take on, is adding or changing molding and baseboards, or perhaps just fixing these elements. Interior trim is a dainty thing to work with and having the right screws is important. Regular wood screws are too big and can easily tear or damage trim, which is why MDF screws are recommended. These are self-tapping screws and come in a variety of sizes, typically the same as wood screws, but these feature star-drive heads and eliminate the risk of splitting trim wood. You can also use these screws for bookcases and shelving projects.
10. Pocket screws
Are you working with cabinets or have other wood projects around the house that require tight joints? Typical screws are not capable of creating those tight joints in certain projects, which is why pocket screws are used for these types of projects. They have the ability to hold tight joints together without damaging wood and that is because pocket screws are self-drilling screws. They have a wide head that grabs the flat shoulder that is made by drilling pocket holes into the wood. It is not recommended that you use a regular wood screw along with pocket holes due to the risk of the the screw being driven all the way through the hole and damaging or splitting the wood. If you haven’t had much experience using these types of screws, it might be a good idea to get a little familiar with the techniques of using them so that your projects come out as close to perfection as you can get them.