4 Popular Types of Screws

a pile of different kinds of screws

There are a wide variety of different types of screws that can be used for several different DIY projects, so when you're purchasing screws, it's important to know what you'll be using them for. If have questions about the DIY project you're tackling, you can always ask an expert at your local hardware store.

Wood Screws

Wood screws, the most common type of screw, are used to attach wood pieces together, or to affix hardware to a wooden surface. Often used in large projects like constructing decks, sheds, doors, and frames, wood screws can be used to strengthen joints as well. If you need to hang something on a wall, a wood screw attached to a stud can support around one hundred pounds.

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a pile of brass colored wood screws

Concrete Screws

Concrete screws are used to mount objects onto concrete slabs fiberboard. These screws are made of steel and are built to be tough—some can even hold two slabs of concrete together—and feature strong points so they don't damage the materials they're connecting. In order to use concrete screws, you often need to drill a hole, which can be done with a carbide-tipped masonry bit. If you're purchasing concrete screws, ask a hardware store worker the best way to use the particular brand that you buy.

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bright metal bolt screws

Galvanized Screws

Galvanized screws are coated in zinc to make them resistant to rust. Accordingly, they're usually used for outdoor objects like fences, gates, and decks. Galvanized screws are comparable to stainless steel screws, but while stainless steel screws are stronger, galvanized screws are more cost-effective.

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Sheet Metal Screws

Designed to withstand piercing into very hard surfaces, sheet metal screws are used in metal fabrication projects. Some sheet metal screws are self-drilling, others are not, so ask a hardware store attendant for details if you're not sure which you're looking at.

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screws in corrugated metal

Screw Length

Screws also come in a wide variety of lengths. In order to determine the appropriate screw length for your project, you'll need to pull out a measuring tape. Measure your project to assess the depth that the screw will need to be. If the screw is too short, you won't be able to use it and the project could quite literally fall apart. On the flip side, if the screw is too long, the screw will likely poke out of the back. Not only is that an aesthetic uh-oh, it's potentially dangerous.

If you're replacing an old screw with a new one, it's smart to still measure the depth you need the screw to go. Trying to guess by eyeballing can be deceptive, since old screws can rust and warp.

When you're ready to tackle your next DIY that requires screws, make sure to gather up all your supplies first. You'll need to determine whether you need a screwdriver or a drill. If the project requires a screwdriver, make sure you have the proper type on hand. Make sure to build, construct, and craft in a safe area, and always wear eye protection when drilling.