Drywall screws have become the standard method for drywall installation in multi-family homes to save space. They penetrate without a pilot hole then form or cut mating threads as they are installed to attach drywall to cold-formed steel and wood framing.
However, because thicker drywall is available, the length of the screw is critical for a good grip on your frame. When compared to drywall nails, it requires fewer screws; installation time is reduced using a screw gun; erroneous nail dimpling is avoided, and pullout resistance is significantly stronger.
The primary types include Drywall Screw, Bugle Head, and Self Drilling, which are optimized for distinct applications: S, W, and G. Type S screws have fine threads and a sharp point and should secure drywall to steel studs with a thickness of less than 0.033 inch. Self-drilling drill point screws are used with thick gauge metals ranging from 0.033 to 0.112 “. Type W is used to attach drywall to wood studs and features coarse threads.
High-low thread drywall screws offer stronger holding strength in wood than coarse thread and can also be used with steel studs because of their alternating high and low threads. Type G screws attach drywall to drywall and have a coarse pitch and a high thread length. The standard material is low carbon steel, which is case hardened for Type S and W screws but not for Type G screws.
The typical finish is gray or black phosphate coatings coated with a dry-to-touch oil type compound and give modest corrosion protection against rust formation caused by joint compound and water-based paint before they cure. (Learn How To Remove Drywall Anchors)
However, what is the size of screw you need? In our guide, you can learn more about what size drywall screws you need to cut through the tough gypsum core.
By the end, you’ll know enough about all the drywall screws sizes, where you can use them, and where you can’t.
Standard Drywall Screw Size?
Comparatively, building screws are typically 1 inch to 8 inches long. Because building materials come in various thicknesses, from thin sheet metal to four-by-four posts and even thicker. But not drywall.
Most drywall is 1/2-inch thick. Thickness can change, but only a little and infrequently.
With fire code or type-x drywall, DIYers need to install thicker drywall. Type-x drywall is 5/8-inch thicker to slow the flames spread and is used in garages and walls adjacent to furnace rooms.
1/4-inch thick drywall is sometimes used as a wall and ceiling facing. Its flexibility allows it to form curves. Still, most DIY drywall put in kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces is 1/2-inch thick.
Coarse Thread Drywall Screws
Coarse-thread drywall screws work best for most applications involving drywall and wood studs. Wide threads hold wood and pull drywall against studs.
One downside of the coarse-thread screws: the metal burrs that can embed in your fingers. Be sure to wear gloves when working with coarse-thread drywall screws.
Fine Thread Drywall Screws
Because fine-thread drywall screws are self-threading, they are suitable for use with metal studs when installing drywall.
For drywall installation to metal studs, fine-thread drywall screws are recommended.
Coarse threads have a habit of chewing through metal and never establishing proper traction. Fine threads work well with metal because they self-thread. (Learn How to Screw Into Concrete)
Coarse-thread drywall screws hold in wood better than fine-thread screws.
Drywall Screw Gauges
The diameter of the drywall screw is measured in gauge. You’ll use drywall screws with a #6 or #8 head in most circumstances.
Keep in mind that as the gauge number increases, the screw diameter grows. As a result, a #6 drywall screw is smaller than a #8 drywall screw.
Actual drywall screw gauge sizes are:
- #6. (0.1380-inch)
- #8. (0.1640-inch)
After the length, the gauge is commonly stated as the second number. A 1 5/8-inch long screw with a #6 gauge, for example, might be written as “1 5/8 inch x 6.”
Drywall Screw Uses
Drywall screws are used to secure whole sheets of drywall (typically 4-foot by 8-foot for do-it-yourselfers) or partial sheets to wood or metal studs.
Nail pops can be repaired with drywall screws. If you have an older house, you have nail-pops and see mysterious circular bumps on the walls.
Before the widespread usage of drywall screws, drywall was nailed with short, wide-head nails.
While drywall nails are still in use and can be used to fix drywall to studs, drywall screws have developed as the preferred technique of attaching drywall to studs because of the nail-pop problem.
Can You Use Drywall Screws For Building?
Some DIYers use drywall screws for building projects. That’s because drywall screws are far less expensive than wood screws, and they drive and bite into wood exceptionally well, thanks to a specialty tool that generates lower torque than most cordless drills.
Few fine woodworkers would ever use drywall screws in their building. However, for moderate building tasks or outdoor projects such as fences and decking, avoiding drywall screws is essential.
Drywall screws resist corrosion, yet their construction, by comparison, is weak. In addition, they can snap instead of bending, so drywall screw heads are prone to breaking cleanly, leaving the shaft piece lodged in the wood.
However, some do-it-yourselfers have discovered that drywall screws are comparable to traditional wood screws in terms of strength after conducting informal tests.
Even when working with softwoods, drywall screws outperform wood screws. However, drywall screws will break before wood screws in hardwoods. (Read About Flat Head Screwdriver)
The bugle head of drywall screws is one reason they’re perfect for drywall. The curved head of a drywall screw creases the top paper layer of drywall rather than sink into the wood.
A substantial force is exerted when a drywall screw is driven into wall studs, which must be countered with drill force. Therefore, you can see why many drywall screw head accidents happen when driven into hardwood.
Finally, drywall screws are best for drywall, light building projects, or temporary construction where safety is not a building, such as anchoring to ceiling joists.
Drywall Screw Features
The screw head’s cone-like shape is called a bugle head (resembles a bell end of a bugle). This form makes the screw stay in place without completely breaking the outer paper layer.
Some drywall screws are marked as having a sharp point. The point makes it easy to start the screw by stabbing it into the drywall paper.
A #2 Phillips head drill-driver bit is typically used for drywall screws. While many construction screws are Torx, square, or other heads other than Phillips, Phillip’s head is still used on most drywall screws.
The phosphate coating on black drywall screws makes them corrosion-resistant. Another type of drywall screw has a thin vinyl coating that protects it against rust caused by joint compound or paint. In addition, because the shanks are slick, they are simpler to draw in.
What Screws To Use On Drywall?
The two most common drywall screws are S-type and W-type. S-type screws hold drywall to metal well. The S-type screws have fine threads and sharp tips for quicker surface penetration.
Longer and thinner W-type screws This screw is used to attach drywall to wood.
Drywall panel thickness varies. W-type screws are typically driven 0.63 inches into the wood, while S-type screws are driven 0.38 inches.
If there are many layers of drywall, the screw should be long enough to push through the second layer at least 0.5 inches.
Most installation instructions and resources list Type S and Type W drywall screws. Most drywall screws are identified by their thread type. Drywall screws come in two thread sizes: coarse and fine.
Drywall Screw Thread or Pitch
A drywall screw’s pitch is usually described as coarse or fine. A coarse threaded screw holds tighter. Because there are fewer threads, it is easier to screw it in. An example of a coarse-threaded drywall screw: 145 #8 x 2 Sheetrock Drywall Screws – Phillips Head with Coarse Thread
A drywall screw with a fine thread takes longer to insert but has sharper points.
When applying drywall on softwood studs, use drywall screws with coarse threads. Attaching drywall to light metal studs requires a fine threaded drywall screw.
Specialty screws are designed for specific uses. This is for hanging drywall on metal studs. Use self-drilling drywall screws here. Self-drilling screws remove pre-drilling.
The broad threads of coarse thread drywall screws grasp the wood well. This forces drywall against studs. This screw will chew through metal and not gain sufficient traction if used on metal. Fine thread screws are self-threading and function well with metal.
How Long Should Drywall Screws Be?
When dealing with 1/2 inch drywall on wood studs, a 1-1/4″ or 1-5/8″ drywall screw is recommended.
It would be easier to drive if the screw was shorter. However, a shorter screw length will diminish holding strength. (Read Capacitor Sizes Chart)
Use 1-1/4″ drywall screws for a 14″ drywall. Use 1-1/4″ or 1-5/8″ drywall screws for 1/2″ drywall. Use 1-5/8″ or 2″ drywall screws if the drywall is 5/8″.
Drywall panels usually are 1/2 inch thick; however, the drywall thickness can vary by a fraction of an inch.
If you install drywall in your garage and neighboring furnace rooms, you’ll need somewhat thicker panels to prevent flames from spreading in the event of a fire. You’ll need 5/8″ or type-x drywall in this situation.
The wall and ceiling facings are made of 14″ drywall. Because these walls are flexible, they can create curves. However, most drywall installed is 1/2 inch thick.
Drywall Screw Gauge
When we talk about drywall screw gauge, we’re talking about the screw’s diameter. Gauge is expressed in whole numbers.
#6, 7, 8, and 10 are the most popular numbers. The most common drywall screws used are #6 and #8. The gauge number rises as the diameter of the screw grows larger. As a result, a #6 drywall screw has a smaller diameter than a #8 drywall screw.
A #6 gauge is 0.1380 “, and a #8 gauge is 0.1640 ” for the actual size of the drywall screw gauge.
After the length, the gauge is commonly stated as the second number. So a 1-5/8″ length screw with a #6 gauge might be written 1-5/8-inch x 6.
|Drywall Screw Length Size Chart|
|¼ inch drywall||1 inch to 1 ¼ inch long screws|
|½ inch drywall||1 ¼ inch to 1 ⅝ inch long screws|
|⅝ inch drywall||1 ⅝ inch to 2 inch long screws|
Low carbon steel is the usual material for drywall screws. In addition, the screw is sometimes coated with gray or black phosphate to prevent corrosion. This suffices to prevent rust from forming due to water-based paint before it dries.