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Screw Heads Useful for Steel Framing Applications

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Now that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be slowing down, the construction industry is getting a new lease on life. Experts predict that the construction market will grow by at least 10% and hit AUD 163.97 million in 2022.

As the industry ramps up again, it is a good time to freshen up your knowledge on the different types of fasteners used for metal framing.

Knowing about different options is one thing, but knowing about compatibility between fasteners and materials is essential for sound design decisions. There are standards that govern screw threads that are specifically designed for safety and longevity.

Joints, fasteners, and materials in steel framing structures demand different types of screw heads. Hold-downs, shear-loading, friction, and tensile forces are a few reasons why there are different ways screws are made.

Do you need to know more about screw heads and the types of steel fasteners used with steel frames? Keep reading; we’ve got the information you need and more.

A Few Questions You Should Ask First

Each project is different, which means you need to properly understand the project before you can even think about which fasteners are going to work. The wrong choice could literally put the entire project in jeopardy if the screws you use don’t match the standards required.

What Materials Are You Working With?

The first thing you should know is what you’re working with. There’s a big difference between joining a steel frame track to something like plyboard and fastening steel to steel. Generally, for steel to steel applications, you will want something with a good bearing surface that will sit on top of the material.

What’s Your Total Thickness?

As you might expect, the total thickness of your project will influence the kind of screws you can use. The breakdown usually happens at 33mm or less and greater than 33mm.

At 33mm or less, you’re likely to use self-piercing screws. Self-piercing screws can pierce metal and form a sleeve by expanding the hole in the sheet. When you drive them, they make their own mating threads, similar to self-tapping screws.

If your application is thicker than 33mm, a self-drilling screw is probably your best bet. These screws have a point that’s quite like a drill bit. This allows them to drill their own hole. The portion after the point works to create its own internal threads.

What Type of Construction Is This?

The type of construction has a bearing mostly on the type of screw head you’ll use. For example, if you’re responsible for creating only the frame and no drywall, you can use hex-head screws.

If, however, drywall will be going on the steel studs, you’ll want something that will sit flush with the drywall board, so a bugle-head screw will provide a better finish.

Different Types of Screw Heads

Now that we’ve gone over some of the important questions to ask, let’s look at the different screw heads, how they perform and where they would be most useful.

Screw heads are essentially divided into two main categories – countersunk and non-countersunk. Let’s explore the heads that fit into each category.


Countersinking provides a near perfect flat profile for the obejct being installed. As we talked about earlier, you would most likely use countersunk screws when you want a smooth finish or when you have to worry about drywall or other coverings being added later.

Flat Head

The flat head screw usually has an angle of 82 degrees, though you can get them in variations of 90 and 100 degrees. The flat head can be challenging to work with as it’s harder to stabilise during installation.

Raised Head

These screws are typically used for decoration than utility. The raised, oval head of the screw doesn’t make any real difference to strength or torque tolerance. Use these screws if you prefer a decorative look.

Bugle Head

Bugle head screws are more commonly used to attach drywall to steel studs. Their head is gently curved to prevent damage to the surface of the drywall ore board. They’re usually self-drilling, so they can be used without going through the hassle of pilot holes. The shape helps to distribute stresses over a greater surface area.


Non-countersunk steel framing screws usually have no angle and are intended to sit outside the surface. This makes installation a little easier however you have to be cautious where you’re using them as they prevent unsightly bumps.

Domed Head

Domed head screws are visually appealing. When you want your project to show off the fasteners, a dome head screw is what you need. As a bonus, the flat portion of the dome helps to keep the screw at the surface and not push inwards.

Flanged Head

When working with metal studs, a flanged head screw (or frame screw) provides extra clamping force. The flange helps to keep the screw where it should be and replaces the use of a washer.

Truss Head

Truss heads are usually wider than other screws and are very slightly rounded. When you work with sheet metal and anything that requires large holes, a truss head screw can prove useful as the large head stops the screw from going through the hole.

Get The Right Steel Framing Screws for The Job

Many construction companies would be tempted to opt for the cheapest possible materials and fasteners to get the job done under budget. However, this almost always leads to shoddy construction and client problems down the line.

You’re only as good as your last job, and you need to make sure you’re using quality materials that you can rely on to last for the years to come. Now that you know a little more about the types of screw heads available, you can feel comfortable while working on your next project.

Contact us now with any questions you may have on fasteners, and our experts will be more than happy to help

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