Screws vs nails

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Forum topic by birdman007 posted 03-05-2013 11:49 PM 2753 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1950 days

03-05-2013 11:49 PM

I am going to build a shop soon and have been told the going thing now is to use
impact driver and screws instead of nails.
On what parts of building can screws be used, floor joist, subfloor, wall studs, siding etc?

9 replies so far

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1989 days

#1 posted 03-05-2013 11:56 PM

On a small scale remodel screws are ok, but on a new build nothing beats a good frame gun. If you’re doing a complete build, the only place I’d consider screws is the subfloor but I prefer ring shank nails using the same frame gun.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3183 days

#2 posted 03-06-2013 12:09 AM

Ditto and +1 Samurai.

-- jay,

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4843 posts in 2434 days

#3 posted 03-06-2013 12:12 AM

For the inside walls I have built and seen others build the walls with 1/2 plywood screwed in to accomodate upgrades and ease of installing the odd outlet and such. Turned on the side these come to 4×8. Above them 1/4 inch pegboard to accomodate all kinds of hanging hardware withoutn having to drill holes or look for studs because the holes allow you to see them. Using 5/8 screws for the pegboard also allows upgrades and such for future changes. Just an idea, but one I have used and that has worked well for me through the years.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View kdc68's profile


2658 posts in 2301 days

#4 posted 03-06-2013 12:13 AM

+1 screws or ring shank for subfloor. Use subfloor adhesive with screws or ring shanks to prevent squeeks. Nails are cheaper than screws. And as Samurai said get yourself a framing nail gun for your framing If your using vinyl siding use roofing nails and a hammer to control how far you drive the nails. Never nail any piece tightly. Drive nails straight (in the center of the slot) and leave about 1/16” space between the head of the nail and the panel. You should be able to slide the panels back and forth when nailed.

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2855 days

#5 posted 03-06-2013 12:45 AM

Mike Holmes like to parade with the “screws only” theme on everything but it’s unreasonable for the massive amount of extra time it would take. I use a Senco Duraspin or a QuikDrive for floor sheeting but everything else is air nails with the occasional hand nail here and there…lol. Of course the appropriate style and type of nail for the situation. There are codes pertaining what nails for what and at what spacing.
As said, screws for some aspects of remodeling sometimes makes more sense than nails.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


708 posts in 3298 days

#6 posted 03-06-2013 02:24 AM

I won’t repeat what has already been recommended above, especially since I agree with them. But another point to add: check with your build codes department. Your local building code may prevent the “general use” of screws.

When folks talk about using screws for construction, they are normally considering the use of drywall screws, or at best “gold-coat deck screws” rather than true wood screws due to cost. Drywall screws, being of a significantly thinner cross section, as well as the type of style from which they are manufactured, have nary the shear strength of framing nails.

For this reason, they will often not meet the fastener requirements required by your local code. This is the argument in many jurisdictions between clip-head nails and full-head nails in pneumatic framing nail guns.

They simply will not withstand they wind shear forces and you will have potential if not catastrophic problems over time. Best of luck.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29393 posts in 2363 days

#7 posted 03-06-2013 02:30 AM

Ring shsnks. Nail gun because my accuracy sucks with a hammer.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View kdc68's profile


2658 posts in 2301 days

#8 posted 03-06-2013 02:37 AM

+1 one checking codes in your area. Before you build check with your city or county for all building and zoning codes….

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View C_Philhower's profile


13 posts in 2415 days

#9 posted 03-06-2013 02:45 AM

+1 on the nail gun. Expanding on Dave’s comments; for framing, screws are great for pulling framing together, but they are not good in shear conditions; they’ll snap off as they begin to bend. When using an impact driver, I can snap heads off easily with cheap screws. As for sheet goods, glue and screws all day long.

If you’re building the shop yourself, make friends with the building department. They are there to make sure the building stays standing, not just give you a hard time. In the end you have to do what they say anyway to get a C.O. but it makes it less stressful staying on their good side.

-- If you would not be forgotten, As soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worthy reading, Or do things worth the writing. -Ben Franklin

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