Even if screws were to make a wall stronger, I doubt it's by much.
Otherwise, it would be common practice for load bearing walls. The
main purpose of whatever fastener would seem to be to keep the studs
from moving out of place, eg a vertical stud is carrying the real
In any case, for the typical wall nails are cheaper, easier and a lot
faster, especially with a nail gun.
Use a pilot hole for the first screw in the joint, all ther way
through the first member so the threads only bite the second member.
Then it will hold together tight when you run subsequent screws that
will not need any pre drilling.
Depends how hard the wood is, and how experienced you are shooting
screws. On the fifty-year-old (since made into lumber) doug fir (I
think) in this place, I would definitely do pilots, since they can bend
a 16d nail in a circle. I usually go a little way into the second piece
of wood to assist in lining the holes up, and to avoid the problem of
the screw snugging up in the first piece before the gap is drawn up
tight. Standard warning about NOT using drywall screws for this,
applies. Too Brittle. Don't make the pilot too big, or you will lose
most of the holding power. It should be a tight fit on the shaft
diameter between the screw treads. Putting beeswax or even candle-stub
wax on the screw makes it go in a lot easier. I used to use soap, but
sometimes had stains come through later, if screw is through a finish
Why are you using screws instead of nails, anyway? I usually only do
that where an old wall is part of the assembly, to avoid nail pops in
finish wall of next room. Nail new wall together on the ground, tilt it
up, and pin to the old structure with screws. Nothing wrong with screws,
and they are reversible if you make a boo-boo. They just take longer. In
a DIY where you are working by yourself and double-checking every
measurement anyway, that probably does not matter.
A good answer depends on what kind of wall you;re building, where it
is & what materials you are using.
But typically walls are banged together with nails & (horrors) a
hammer. Unless you're setting a whole bunch of studs I doubt its
worth dragged out the compressor and nail gun.
I have an NR83A but unless the project involves new timber (MC ~18%)
or nailing off plywood it doesn't get used.
But nails guns are cool in that they make setting single studs a
simple process. Hold it in place & shoot it.
As another poster mentioned,
if this is a DIY you'll be doing so much checking, measuring fitting,
the time wasted drilling and screwing wont really make all that much
difference in the job.
What screws are you using? Not drywall screws I hope.
I would recommend #10 screws
a "clearance hole" of 3/16" through the "fastened" item
a 3/32" "pilot hole" in the "receiving" member
(if you're using that is timber is old & hard..... like 80 year old
DF, 7/64 or 1/8)
Over drilling the pilot too deep with have little negative effect, so
dont sweat it.
The idea of a pilot is to prevent splitting.
A screw in split wood has greatly reduced strength.
I posted the dissertation on screws because that what the OP's
original question, if he's going to use them at least he can do it
My suggestion is nails. If the timber is old might need to
If its HDepot barely dry framing lumber, get out the hammer
I suggest max nail dia of .148.
Yes, hand nailed framing is supposed to be done with 16 commons (.162)
but they kinda big and depending on the condition of the timber can
generate a lot of splitting.
Nail gun framing is done with 16d sinkers? (.131?) and seems to work
Again larger nails that split the wood create connections that are
weaker than smaller nails that do not.
If you timber is semi-green, 16d commons & a hammer will work fine.
except in special situations, forget the screws
Do what the pros are doing, use construction screws. These are not
common 'wood' screws, they are made for framing. Further, they are
almost always Torx or star drive because philips and even square drive
cam out too easily. You will also need to be really brave and buy an
impact driver, such as the top rated Makita. With that combination the
screws simply seem to melt into the wood and it takes care and finesse
at first to keep from setting them too far below the surface. I have
used many pounds of these screws on my projects, and found that they
are real time savers. To keep costs down, though, do not overlook the
framing gun and ring shank nails in places where conventional
assemblies are being put together. Keep in mind that construction
screws can be had in lengths over 4".
To get a fair view of pros in action with these techniques, check out
HGTV's 'Holmes on Homes' and see how easy it is to get the really
tricky work done with the impact diver and the right screws. If he
didn't have DeWalt sponsorship I'll bet he'd use a Makita driver, but
that's just my own opinion.
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