The Best Drywall Screws in 2018

A lot of people don’t put too much thought into the simple bits of hardware that makes their whole project work. Screws are screws, right?

To a certain extent this is true, but if you just grab a random box of cheap screws you might find yourself in a bind and it’s a good idea to actually figure out which ones are the best for your needs.

Here are the best screws currently on the market:

Harry , Homethods Author
Harry

the-best-drywall-screws-in-2016

Top 3 Best Drywall Screws

The Hillman Group 47113 6 x 1-5/8-Inch

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4.9/5 Rating

Not all framing is made out of wood, and that’s where hardened, self-drilling heads on screws becomes necessary. These are high-quality screws which will allow you to drive into metal framing.

The main thing to be aware of with metal framing is that you don’t need quite the penetrative depth that you do on wood, but it’s always good to have at least ¾” hanging through the metal. Metal framing should pull tight against the back of the board as the screw is driven.

This makes these screws a versatile piece of hardware and a great fastener. They can also be used on wood, but due to the nature of the thicker head they aren’t ideal for ceilings where they’ll have a low, but present, risk of pulling out.

If you’re working with wood or mixed framing then give these a shot, you won’t be disappointed. 

Pros

  • Versatile usage makes them great for metal framing
  • Self drilling head will penetrate most materials
  • High-quality metal holds together even under a lot of force.

Cons

  • Not really suitable for ceilings

South Main Hardware 330104 1-1/4 Inch

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4.8/5 Rating

For hanging walls, you don’t need the extra length that you do when it comes time to treat the ceiling. You’ll find that these screws from South Main Hardware are perfect.

The thick 8 gauge screws make for a firm, permanent hold and they’re constructed of high-quality metal that won’t strip out unless you really give it a go.

They’re in the standard drywall configuration, including a bugle head which will allow them to sit flush against the wall without having to countersink.

If these screws fail, it’ll only be through operator error. They’re a reliable fastener that you can trust with all of your wall hanging needs, but they’re not long enough for ceiling panels. 

Pros

  • Thick, high-quality metal
  • Go in without a countersink
  • Designed for drywall applications 

Cons

  • Too short to be reliable for ceiling panels 

Grip-Rite 158CDWS1 1-5/8-Inch

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4.5/5 Rating

If you’re looking to hang ceilings and make sure that they stay put, then these screws from Grip-Rite are exactly the right length and toughness to make sure you’re in business.

Ceilings pose too challenges to those who want to hang drywall: they’re constructed using heavier sheetrock and their weight is directly pulled down by gravity.

This means that you need at least an inch of screw going into the studs underneath in order to make sure that everything is completely safe for you and your family. These screws deliver.

Grip-Rite is probably the most common brand of drywall screw around, and for good reason. They’re made of good metal and they make for a permanent hold that you can trust. The only issue with them is that the heads occasionally strip out while being put in, but that can easily be solved with a little bit of care.

Use these screws, and no other, for your hanging ceilings in order to ensure that you don’t have to deal with a sudden collapse. 

Pros

  • Coarse threads hold extremely well in wood
  • Long enough to place 5/8” drywall securely
  • Trusted brand name

Cons

  • Heads sometimes strip with high powered screw guns.

NameSuitable ForAmountRating 
Grip-Rite 1-5/8-InchWooden Frames
5/8” Drywall
Roughly 2004.5
Grip-Rite 114DWS1 1-1/4-InchMetal Framing
½” Drywall
Roughly 2504.4
Grip-Rite 1-1/4-InchWooden Framing
½” Drywall
Roughly 2505.0
The Hillman Group 1-5/8-InchWooden or Metal Framing
½” to 5/8” Drywall
Roughly 2004.9
South Main Hardware 1-1/4 InchWooden framing
½” Drywall
Roughly 7504.8

Why Screws and Not Nails?

If you’ve never worked with drywall before, you’re probably inclined to wonder why nails are so rarely used.

The answers comes in a few different pieces, but the most important is that it saves time. You can’t use a nail gun on sheetrock, you’ll just break the panel you’re working with. Screw guns, on the other hand, are nearly everywhere and work just fine because they lack impact.

Hammers and drywall don’t mix well. A missed hit with a hammer can severely damage a panel, and hitting too hard in the right place will still indent it. The gypsum simply isn’t made to take that kind of concentrated blunt force.

The final reason: screws will nearly always drive straight. Even if they don’t, you can easily remove them and go through the same whole to correct matters. With nails a single badly placed hit can bend the nail, and if you finish the drive you’ll damage the drywall.

Screws will also allow you to work with both metal and wooden framing, while nails can only be driven into wood. This offers an additional level of versatility, especially when it comes to working in commercial settings.

There is one disadvantage inherent to screws: inevitably drywall fasteners will pop. This has to do with the shrinking and expanding which wood goes through during normal temperature and humidity changes.

This is completely natural, and nails will do it too. Even the best mudding job can’t always hold them in if you’re dealing with an extreme climate.

While you might be able to get away with simply bumping a nail back in with a rubber mallet or even a hammer if you’re careful, for screws you’ll be in for a longer task.

It’s not hard, just tedious, if you want to deal with popped screws chip away the plaster or mud above the head until you can see the thread and screw it back in.

They’re also harder to get off when you disassemble the wall, since you can’t just slip them with a claw on the back of a hammer.

As far as disadvantages go, they’re a very minor one. Many homes will never even see a fastener beginning to pop, or have to pull a full wall, and it just goes to show the superior holding power over screws over nails anyways.

  • Simply put screws are superior to drywall nails in every way that counts for your project.

What is a Drywall Screw?

While you can probably get away with using almost any screw that’s long enough with drywall, there’s some distinct qualities that set them apart from other hardware although the difference might not be readily visible to the layman.

The main difference is that all drywall screws are made to sit flush against the wall when properly inserted. This makes mudding and taping a lot easier when it comes time to finish the project.

Essentially, drywall screws have small heads and a long shaft and are made to tighten all the way against the wall.

What Different Types Are Available?

There’s a few different types of screws available, and some are best suited for different tasks.

  • Coarse threaded screws are by far the most common. They have large, wide threads which provide superior holding power and they’re best used to hold your panel to wooden framing. They’re fairly aggressive and can be put in even with hand tools in a pinch.
  • Fine threaded screws on the other hand are better suited for metal, as they’ll drive through thin steel much more easily provided that the screw gun you’re using has enough power. They’re definitely not used quite as commonly as the above type.
  • Self-drilling drywall screws are used very rarely in residential applications, but you should be aware of them if you ever want to attach your sheetrock to slightly thicker metal than a fine threaded screw will allow you to.

For the most part, once you know which kind of screw you’re planning on using the only important thing is going to be the length of the fastener itself. The gauge of the screws themselves is fairly standardized, although slightly thicker or thinner screws are available.

You’ll find that thicker screws are quite useful, especially for ceilings, but thinner ones shouldn’t be used unless you’re hanging one of the rarer types of drywall which are very thin like ¼” or 3/8”.

What are the Advantages of Drywall Screws?

The benefits of using drywall screws is pretty obvious: you can’t install drywall without them.

More than that, however, using screws specifically designed for this type of work can become quite important at the end of the day. Don’t use any screw you find laying around, just because it holds for the moment doesn’t mean it will hold indefinitely.

This is particularly true in wood, where the material itself will expand and contract with the temperature and has a constantly changing moisture content. A thin screw might rip out unexpectedly, causing a chain reaction which leaves your panel on the floor.

Don’t let that happen to you, use the right screws from the start.

Features to Compare

The main variables you’ll need to account for are the length and width of the screw, once you’ve figured that out you’ll be in good hands. Let’s face it, they aren’t rocket science and even the cheapest drywall screw is likely to hold for years to come without being damaged.

You’ll want about an inch of clearance after going through the panel to maintain the optimal hold. This is particularly important in wood, the deeper into the framing you plunge the better off you’ll be as long as you’re not coming out the other edge.

So, if you’re hanging ½” drywall, you want screws that measure 1 3/8” to 1 ½” in order to get the best possible hold. For 5/8” drywall, you’ll want to use 1 ½” to 1 5/8” screws and so on. It’s a pretty easy process to figure out.

  • All drywall screws should be at least 6 gauge in order to ensure a proper hold as well. If they’re smaller than that, you just bought a different type of screw entirely.

After you’ve found the length of screw you’re looking for, it’ll be time to determine how many screws you’ll need. This is relatively easy to figure out, even for those who aren’t inclined to math.

Calculate the area of the wall you’re looking to work on in feet. Length multiplied by width, if you can’t remember learning that one in school.

Afterwards, add roughly 20% to the number you’re working with, and you’ll have about the number of screws you’ll need. The extra 20% should help account for any that get lost.

For instance, if you’re replacing an area of hallway which is 8’ by 24’, the area in square footage will be 192ft². Round that up to 200 and adding 20% will leave you with a required 240 screws. You don’t need to be exact, just don’t round down or you might end up being just a couple of screws short.

References

  1. http://www.homedepot.com/c/how_to_install_drywall_with_right_nails_and_screws_HT_BG_BM
  2. http://homerenovations.about.com/od/toolsbuildingmaterials/tp/DrywallScrews.htm
  3. http://www.homeadvisor.com/r/video/diy-how-to-choose-the-right-size-screw/






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