Drywall screws are the normal fasteners used for securing full or partial drywall sheets to ceiling joists or wall studs. They are available in various sizes, gauges, with different points, heads, thread types and compositions. But if you are planning a Do-It-yourself home improvement task, you can narrow down the wide range of choices to drywall screws that work for most types of uses. You just need to know the main features of drywall screws – screw length, thread, and gauge.
The standard phosphate-coated, coarse thread 1 ¼ inch or 1 ⅝ inch drywall screw is usually the best for most works including pinning a ½ inch drywall on wood studs. This type of drywall is inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk quantities. You will require multiple drywall fasteners for drywall installation. The 1 ⅝ inch drywall screw can be a little difficult to sink in, since a lot of shaft area remains after the initial ½ inch thickness has been covered.
If you cut down on the length of the screw, it can drive it easily inside, but then it could also lead to reducing the strength. The last ⅛ inch of sink is important. This is just where the bulge head of the screw needs to start creasing but not tear the outer paper layer. A shorter screw is easier to calibrate for that last ⅛ inch of drive.
Drywall Screw Lengths:
- ¼ inch drywall – Use 1 inch to 1 ¼ inch drywall screws
- ½ inch drywall – Use 1 ¼ inch or 1 ⅝ inch drywall screws
- ⅝ inch drywall – Use ⅝ inch or 2 inch drywall screws
The ideal drywall screw lengths intended for construction is usually between 1 inch to 8 inches long. This is because building materials can have different thicknesses – right from sheet metal to 4×4 posts and sometimes even thicker. But most drywalls installed in homes are ½ inches thick. This thickness can sometimes increase or decrease marginally.
In rare occasions, a do-it-yourself home owner might have to install a thicker drywall with a type-x drywall or a fire code. The Type-X drywall is typically ⅝ inches thick and is made thicker to counter the spread of flames. This type of drywall is used in garages or in walls facing furnace rooms. A ¼ inches drywall is generally used for ceilings or walls. This kind is flexible and can be used to form curves. But, these are exceptions, else the standard drywall thickness is ½ inches.
Drywall Screw Threads:
These are available in two kinds – coarse and fine. The coarse-threaded drywall screws are ideal for wood studs, while the fine-thread drywall screws are self-threading and usually work for metal studs. The coarse-thread screws work best for drywall and wood studs. These are good at gripping into the wood and securing the drywall against the studs.
The only problem working with coarse-threaded screws is the metal blur that gets embedded in the fingers. You should wear gloves while working with these. The fine-threaded drywall screws are used for installing drywalls into metal studs. The coarse-threaded can chew through the metal and not provide a proper traction, but the fine-threaded screws are self-threading and hence ideal for metal studs.
Drywall Screw Gauges:
Gauge is the diameter of the screw. The standard ones are #6 or #8. With increase in the gauge, the size of the screw also increases. A #6 drywall screw is thinner than a #8. The #6 drywall screw is 0.1380 inches while the #8 drywall screw is 0.1640 inches.
Drywall Screw Uses:
The main use of drywall screws is to secure full or partial sheets of drywall into wood or metal studs. These screws are good to use in place of nail pops. Houses that are old often have circular bumps, which are nothing but nail pops. Initially, drywalls were nailed into place using wide-head nails, but these often popped. Later, drywall screws were invented to attach drywall into studs precisely.
Sometimes, drywall screws are also used for building projects. These are brittle. They do not bend, but snap. The screw heads easily break off leaving the length of the screw embedded into the wood. This headless screw cannot be removed by any screw extractor. Hence, drywall screws cannot be used for fine building constructions. These should be avoided in heavy or moderate building tasks, especially for outdoor projects like building decks or fences. Drywall screws are excellent for light building projects when you do not have to worry much about safety.
How to Drive Drywall Screws?
If you are a casual drywall installer, you will not need a drywall screwgun. This is a special tool for hanging drywall. This gun is compact and lightweight. It gives lower torque than the traditional cordless drilling tools. These screwguns are good for driving drywall screws, but they are not needed for homeowners as their use is very limited.
You can easily use a cordless drill on low speed and clutch so as to give less torque. A good cordless drilling tool having the ability to lower the torque with the clutch is an excellent tool for driving drywall screws as this feature prevents the driller from snapping the screwhead.
If you want to drive a drywall screw properly, pierce the paper with the screw’s sharp point. Place the drill-driver on the screw, turn the drill to on and let the screw drive itself into the drywall and stud. Just when you reach three-quarters of the way inside, put in more pressure, else the head will snap away. Stop just when then head and paper are even or at a uniform level. At this point, add just a little pressure on the screw to make it sink in just below the paper level, ensuring that you do not tear the paper.