Three Tips For Picking The Best Screw For Your Next Project

Since its creation, the screw has become an integral part of any building project. The concept of the screw dates back to around 200 B.C. and in today’s modern world it’s a must-have. The screw, nut and bold industry employees more than 130,000 people and turned over more than $30 billion in revenue in 2017.

Early screws had to be handmade, so no two were ever alike. In 1928, the National Screw Thread Commission established a standard for screw threads for interchangeability. Today’s builders don’t have that sort of problem to worry about as there are dozens of screw types offered by the average screw manufacturer. From micro screws to custom screws to stainless steel screws, there’s no limit to the options available.

But for all the options available from the average screw manufacturer, there are three things to consider when deciding on the right kind of screws for your next project:

  • Which head?
  • Which material?
  • Which size?

A closer look at all three aspects will give you a good idea of which screws you might need to use.

  • Heads: Before the advent of the types of specialty screws found today, screws came down to two main options: Phillips or slotted. Today more than 200 billion fasteners are used each year in the U.S. and as the fastener market has expanded, so have the options. Now, anyone needing screws can choose from options such as the quadrex (a square head/Phillips combo), a star drive screw and a panhead screw. As you choose a screw head, keep in mind what type of project you’re working on. Fixing a fence would probably require wood screws with a tapered head for example.
  • Materials: Like the different head types, a screw manufacturer offers screws made of many types of material. Most screws are made out of materials like stainless steel or aluminum, but more specialized screws can also be made out of nylon or plastic. Again, it comes down to what your project needs are. For indoor projects, zinc screws can be used or chrome or brass-plated screws can be used to increase the look of a project. Outdoors, stainless steel screws are a good option for protection against temperature changes and corrosion.
  • Sizes: One of the most important aspects of a screw for a project is the length. For most projects, a good rule to follow is that the screw should enter at least half the thickness of whatever the bottom material. The other factor to keep in mind is gauge (or diameter) and gauges for screws range from two to 16. A No. 8 screw is usually a standard for most projects, but for heavier materials Nos. 12-14 are the best bets. For lighter projects such as woodworking, a No. 6 is a good choice.

Whatever the project is that you’re working on, a screw manufacturer offers many options to fit your needs. Consulting a screw guide can ultimately help you determine the best head shape, material and size to ensure your project is done right.

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