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Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you want to support something on a wall and come across the only box of screws you have left in your garage – a leftover box of unused drywall screws from a prior project. Should you use them? Not all screws are the same, and drywall screws have many purposes, but holding weight is not one of them.
When you are using drywall screws, you want to make sure that you are using them for the actual task. Although a drywall screw has a few alternative uses, holding weight is typically not one of them. The only weight you should be using your drywall screws for is to adhere
It may seem like you can use most screws and nails interchangeably, but that is not the case. Let’s talk about why you should not use drywall screws to hold additional weight, and a few other ways they can be used.
Can Drywall Screws Hold Weight?
Drywall screws are genuinely intended for their name, drywall. While you may be able to screw one in a wall and hold your new frame, that is not what they are for. Using screws for a purpose other than their intended can result in damage to an item or to the wall you are placing the screw in. Drywall screws are meant to hold the drywall being put up to the studs in the wall. The weight of the sheet of drywall is the only weight you should be putting on these screws.
With that being said, there are a few reasons why you can use drywall screws other than simply putting up drywall. Most of these have to do with construction needs and less to do with decorating or interior design. Here are some of the most popular ways to use a drywall screw minus the drywall.
- Piloting a New Hole
- Space Wooden Boards or Planks
- Minimal Floor Repairs
- Clean Up
Another reason why you want to avoid drywall screws when trying to hang something is that they are
Differences in Drywall Screws
When it comes to any screw, they are often named for their function. The average drywall screw has a deeper thread than your ordinary screw. The deeper threads make them the ideal screw to attach something as substantial as drywall. When considering what drywall screw you need to use, there are three determining factors that set them apart. Some of these differences are better to be used on metal or wooden studs.
As we already mentioned, drywall rarely is more than 1/2 inch thick for residential homes. 1/2 drywall is best suited to drywall screws that are between 1 1/4 inch to 1 3/8 inch in length. For 5/8
When it comes to the thread of your drywall screw, there are two that are the most popular. Fine threaded screws are commonly used if you are adhering drywall to some sort of metal. The fine threading helps to reduce friction that may ruin the metal. A coarse thread is excellent if you are trying to attach your drywall to wood.
Lastly, consider the gauge of the drywall screw. The diameter of your screw is going to be the way you determine the gauge. Although screws come in many different sizes, the main two that are used for drywall are #6 and #8. When it comes to determining the size of the gauge, you should remember that the smaller the number, the smaller the size.
When choosing what type of drywall screw to use, you may also want to consider the coating that is on the screw itself. A phosphate coating is excellent if you want to reduce the risk of corrosion of the nail. A vinyl coating can actually reduce the risk further. It also makes it easier to remove from your wall since the coating is not as rough.
What Can You Use Drywall Screws For?
Although they are not made for holding weight, drywall screws do have a few purposes other than to hang drywall. Their size and variations make them ideal for many different home improvement projects, from fixing floors to using them as a quick writing tool. Here are some of the most popular ways drywall screws are used.
Piloting a New Hole: Starting a new hole can sometimes be challenging. Drywall screws create the perfect piloting tool because the end of them are very sharp. If you need a larger hole for something you plan on putting on the wall, a large gauge drywall screw will do the trick.
Space Wooden Boards or Planks: A lot of carpenters swear by using screws to space out wood planks. The large head of the screw can help make sure there is an even space between boards throughout a build. This is commonly used when building fences or decks.
Minimal Floor Repairs: Laying carpet can be a pain, and repairing carpet can be even worse. If you need to fix a bubble in your carpet or a wooden floorboard under the carpet, drywall screws are excellent. Since they are not too long, they should fit neatly under your carpet, or you can also cut the head off of the screw to make it even more inconspicuous.
Clean-Up: Since the end of the drywall screw is so sharp, they are great to clean out existing holes or to prepare a hole for an anchor. The threads also offer additional benefits to gather dirt, dust, or hair from areas.
How Can You Hang Something on Drywall?
A regular nail or screw in drywall is only going to hold up to 10 pounds. Drywall can flake and break apart, which is why it is recommended to hang items using an anchor. Hollow or drywall anchors are the best way to make sure your wall and object do not get damaged if you are hanging something without a stud.
These anchors grip onto the drywall better than a regular nail or screw would. They act as a sleeve to a screw, coming between the screw and the drywall itself. Drywall anchors also will help disperse the weight evenly to make sure your object is secure. To use an anchor, choose where you want to hang your object, hammer it into place, and then you can place your screw inside of the anchor as you would typically do.
Not all anchors are made for the same purpose. Some anchors are best on different surfaces, and many of them work best with a specific size or type of screw or nail. You also need to make sure that you have an anchor that is sufficient to hold the weight of the object you are using.
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.