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Different Types of Screws and Their Uses

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What caused dozens of Amazon Ring smart doorbells to catch fire? The wrong screw.

There are different types of screws that can make life much easier – or much more difficult, depending on the purpose.

There are over 30 different types of screws, each with a very specific purposes. It’s important for every professional and DIYér alike to know which types of screws to use for various projects; otherwise, the final product may not meet expectations. Keep reading to find the best type of screw for your project.


What Is a Screw?

A screw is a type of fastener. In simple terms, it is a nail with a spiral groove running up its length. This groove is known as a helix and allows the screw to be inserted into materials such as wood, plastic or metal, by using a screwdriver or drill.

The main difference between screws and nails is that screws are typically removable and reusable, whereas nails are not. This is because the design of the head of the screw allows the application of torque for removal by unscrewing.

Now let’s look at some of the most popular types of screws, and when it’s best to use them.


Coach Screws (Lag Screws)

These are large wood screws with sharp points and coarse threads. They’re used to secure heavy objects like beams or posts into place. The head is typically hexagonal, which allows for the use of more torque, making them ideal for outdoor applications.

You can use lag screws for various purposes, including attaching a trellis to brick walls, anchoring outdoor furniture, and more.


Concrete Screws

If you’re looking for a screw that can stand up to some serious abuse, look no further than the concrete screw. As the name suggests, these screws are used in concrete, brick, and mortar. They’re also great for attaching metal hardware to masonry.

Concrete screws are heat-treated carbon steel and have a special hardened tip that cuts its own threads as it’s driven into concrete.

When using concrete screws, be sure to to ensure that the screw is driven all the way into the material for maximum loads.


Machine Screws

Machine screws are small fasteners with a variety of uses. They’re used to secure panels and components in electronic equipment, and also in woodworking and other applications, though not as common.

Machine screws are available in a variety of materials, including brass, stainless steel, and zinc-plated steel. They’re also available in a variety of sizes, from tiny screws measuring just a few millimetres in length to longer screws that are many centimeters long.

When selecting a machine screw, it’s important to choose one that’s the right size, thread pitch and head type for the application. Otherwise, the screw may not stay in place or may strip the threads when you try to tighten it.


Self-Tapping Screws

As the name suggests, these screws can tap their own threads as they’re driven into materials like wood or plastic. They have sharp points and cutting threads, which makes them ideal for soft materials that would otherwise strip out when using a regular screw.

Use these screws in applications where you need a fast, easy way to secure two pieces of material together. They’re commonly used in woodworking and with construction equipment.


Sheet Metal Screws

These metal screws have blunt points and course threads. As the name suggests, they’re designed for use in sheet metal. They can also be used in wood and plastic, but they’re not as common.


Drywall Screws

There are different types of screws for drywall. Using the wrong type of screw can cause serious damage or can cause poor installation of the drywall to the material behind.

Drywall screws attach drywall to wood or metal studs. They have sharp points and threads that cut into the material, making them easy to install. The heads of these screws are flat or slightly countersunk, which makes them easy to cover with putty or plaster.

Choose a drywall screw that’s long enough to penetrate the studs behind the drywall, but not so long that it sticks out on the other side. The most important thing to remember when working with drywall screws is to not overtighten them. This can cause the drywall to crack or break.


Wood Screws

These screws have sharp points and course threads. They’re designed for use in wood, but can also be used in plastic. The head can be round or flat to allow for a flush surface.


Deck Screws

These screws are similar to wood screws in that they have sharp points and course threads. They’re designed for use in decks as the name suggests. They are typically available in a countersunk head or a small head to minimize their visual presence on your deck.


Security Screws

These screws have unique heads that are not removable with a regular screwdriver. They’re designed for use in applications where tamper resistance is required. Typical applications include being used on number plates of your car or in community parks.


Socket Screws

These screws have internal hexagonal heads and are used with a socket wrench. They’re often used in machinery and electronic equipment. Use them in tight spaces where a regular screwdriver can’t reach. They are typically manufactured from high tensile steels.


Types of Screw Heads

The head of a screw is the part that protrudes from the material when the screw is installed. It’s important to choose a screw with the right head for the application. Otherwise, the head may not stay in place or may strip out the material when you try to drive it in.

There are four main types of screw heads: Phillips®, Pozidrive®,flat, hex, and Torx®.

Phillips® screws have a cross-shaped head. The tip of the screwdriver fits into the centre of the head and turns the screw. Pozidrive® screws look very similar to Phillips® however the line that is etched on the top of the screw is different. The benefit of Pozidrive® screws is that they allow for greater torque to be applied before the screwdriver cams out.

Flat screws have a flat head that can be turned with a regular screwdriver.

Hex screws have a hexagonal head. They’re used with a wrench or socket driver. Torx® screws have a star-shaped head. The tips of the screwdriver fit into the indentations in the head and turn the screw.


Get the Right Types of Screws for the Job

Now that you know the different types of screws and their uses, you might be wondering where to get high-quality screws for the job.

Konnect Fastening Systems supplies a wide range of screws for all applications. We have screws in different materials, sizes, and finishes to suit your needs. Browse our selection here.

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