7 Types of Screws Every Homeowner Should Know

As if trying to make IKEA furniture according to the brand’s instructions is hard enough, it’s next to impossible when you don’t know what the material is. Sure, you know what a wood dowel is, but what little slack has a hex bolt? Do you need nuts? All of these questions add unnecessary stress to an already difficult situation. Now this confusion is over. Popular Mechanics Senior Editor Roy Berendson shares a quick tutorial on fasteners. According to Roy, here’s a breakdown of the seven most common types of screws and bolts that every homeowner will come across at some point in their lives.
Hex bolts or hex head screws are large hex bolts (hex!), used to fasten wood to wood or metal to wood. “Unlike carriage bolts, they tend to twist when tightened, so you’ll need a wrench or socket to hold the head of the bolt and a second wrench to tighten (or loosen) the nut,” says Roy. Hex bolts have small threads and smooth shank and can be plain steel for interior use or stainless steel or galvanized for exterior use.
Wood screws have a threaded shank and are used to fasten wood to wood. These screws can have several different multiple threads. Screws with fewer threads per inch are best for soft woods such as pine and spruce, according to Roy. On the other hand, fine pitch screws should be used when joining hardwoods. Screws come in many types with heads, but the most common are round and flat. “The head of a round head screw is completely above the workpiece. The head of a flat head screw is recessed into the workpiece,” explains Roy. Wood screws can be plain steel, brass, stainless steel, or weathered steel.
Sheet metal screws are used to fasten two pieces of sheet metal together, or to connect sheet metal to other types of metal such as pipes. These screws usually have a round, flat or even hex head. “One thing to remember about sheet metal screws is that they cut threads,” Roy said. “The shape of the screw tip cuts a thread in the host metal that drives the screw,” he explained, adding that they are often referred to as self-tapping screws. They are almost always plain steel, weather-coated plain steel, aluminum or stainless steel for maximum weather resistance.
Machine screws are a hybrid of small bolts and screws used to fasten metal to metal or metal to plastic. At home, they are used to attach electrical components, such as connecting lighting fixtures to electrical boxes. In such cases, the machine screw is screwed into a hole into which the appropriate thread is tapped or “cut”. According to Roy, if the hole is not threaded, then the machine screw needs a nut.
The socket head screw is a machine screw with a socket head for installing a hex key. In most cases, these screws are used to join metal to metal and must be tightened securely to ensure a secure connection. They are typically used when items are likely to be taken apart and reassembled over time.
Draw bolts, more commonly known as draw screws, are usually large in diameter and long enough to penetrate deep into the wood, creating a strong connection with little chance of coming loose once the screw is tightened. Common places where you can find these screws are decks, piers, and wooden retaining walls. Due to the corrosive nature of pressure treated outdoor wood, the screws are coated with an anti-corrosion coating. “They are hot-dip galvanized or made of stainless steel,” explains Roy.
Carriage bolts, which can be considered the cousin of pinch screws, are large bolts used with washers and nuts to hold thick pieces of wood together. Under the round head of the bolt is a cube-shaped extension that cuts into the wood and prevents the bolt from turning when the nut is tightened. This makes it easier to turn the nut (no need to unscrew the bolt head) and prevents unauthorized access. “The nut is almost always on the back of the component. So when it’s tight, the mount can’t come loose easily because the head of the carriage bolt is round like an old-fashioned rivet and you can’t get a hold of it. easy with pliers Hold it or unscrew it,” Roy explained.
Alissa is Senior Content Strategy Editor at House Beautiful covering home décor, design trends and news. She is a self-proclaimed sleep expert and pop culture junkie.
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Post time: Jun-02-2023