Concrete nails and screws are the most popular types of fasteners used in securing objects to concrete walls and blocks. These two types both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things to remember when choosing which to use for your project.
The nail is made of case-hardened steel that has a spiral built into the shaft. This spiral gives it holding power when driven into the concrete.
A concrete nail is best used when you are joining wood to a concrete surface. This is mostly found when finishing off a basement, building, or garage on a poured slab. The nails can be driven through the lumber plate and into the concrete.
It should be noted that concrete nails are not to be used to hang things like shelves, brackets, or frames. The concrete screw is better-suited for this job as long as anchors are used.
In the event that you need to attach some lumber to concrete, the nail can be driven into the concrete with a heavy construction hammer. However, one possible disadvantage is if the nail is not hit straight on, it can bend to one side. This will loosen the entire shaft and cause it to slide out of the hole easily. A special concrete nail gun can also be used to securely attach concrete nails by "shooting" them into the slab or wall.
The concrete screw is also hardened, but it has tighter spirals in order to dig into the concrete.
Screws are better used with other materials such as plastic, metal, and aluminum.
When working with concrete screws, you need two items to install them correctly. A hammer drill is essential to the process, as it is needed to pre-drill a hole for the screw. Unlike drilling into wood, the screw cannot be driven into the concrete and expected to hold. If the area around the concrete chips, the screw can become loose.
Also important for installing a concrete screw is a concrete anchor. This piece acts as a sleeve that the screw can tighten and press against the concrete to a secure hold.