Screws are NOT made for Structural Construction

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Years ago, I build a large wall out of 2x4s and fastened them together with those black drywall screws. (About 3 inch long). I built it on the ground, and when it was complete, I began to lift it into place, like I had always dont with walls that I formerly put together with nails. Well, when lifting the wall, it flexed, and seconds later I had a pile of 2x4s laying all around me and several that were resting on top of my body. I quickly learned (the hard way), that those screws are NOT made for Structural Construction. They are very brittle and break as soon as they are stressed (such as lifting the wall in place).
After cussing a lot, I had to rebuild that entire wall, using nails. I have stuck with nails ever since. Over the years I've been reminded about NOT using those black screws for Structural Construction, while having to repair things built by other people who used them. In fact I bought a shed that was for sale and needed to be moved. I was preparing to move the shed, jacking it up, when the shed walls began coming off the shed floor. Sure enough, the builder had used those damn screws to attach the walls to the floor. We had to add lots of nails before moving the shed, or it would have been in pieces real soon.
Anyhow, recently my neighbor built a fairly large canopy to put over his door, and prebuilt the whole thing on the ground, complete with steel roofing. He got it done, and found it was too heavy for two men to lift above his door. So, he came to me, knowing I have a tractor with a loader. I took the tractor and lifted it above his door. He shot several of those gold colored deck screws into the house, and propped some 2x4's under it until the permanent posts could be placed. I lowered the tractor loader about 6 inches as the guys tried to raise the front edge of that canopy with the prop 2x4s because the front was too low.
It was fortunate I had not removed the tractor loader, or someone could have been hurt, not to mention damage to the canopy, because it fell right off the house wall. The cause was those deck screws snapped.
I was a little surprised myself. I thought deck screws were stronger than those black drywall screws. I guess I was wrong. While they probably are somewhat stronger, they are still brittle and they will break.
We got it back in place, but used 16D common nails the next time and everything worked perfectly. After that incident, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Screws are NOT made for Structural Construction. None of them. Nails may bend, but still hold the boards together. But screws break, and when they break, the boards do not stay together. In fact, they're dangerous.
Unless they make a screw specifically for structural construction, (which I am not aware of), I dont recommend using screws for any structural construction at all. Stick with nails.
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On 07/25/2013 07:08 AM, snipped-for-privacy@toolshed.com wrote:

they do, DAGS for framing screws.
Drywall screws are not right, as you found, they're not strong enough.
I'm surprised that deck screws didn't work for you, as I would expect them to be very similar to framing screws but either with better anti-rust coatings or (the very expensive ones) stainless.
With screws, however, you may have to predrill to prevent splitting. This doesn't happen so much with nails. Nails are in fact tried and true and work well. I'd expect proper framing screws to work better, but still.
When shopping for framing screws make sure you specify that you're using wood studs... "framing screws" can also refer to sheetmetal type screws used to hold metal studs together in commercial construction.
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Deck screws are not structural. All they are meant to do is to hold decking to the deck joists so they don't move. And deck screws can break or tear out if the decking twists enough.

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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OK, I've found structural wood screws, but haven't a clue what "DAGS" means. Explain, please. TIA
nb
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On Thursday, July 25, 2013 8:00:39 AM UTC-7, notbob wrote:

Same here. Tried a google and only got this:
http://www.daggerz.com/daggerz/Technical_files/Daggerz%20MSDS.pdf
Daggers seems to be a manufacturer's name vice a type of screw though.
Harry K
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Do A Google Search.......DAGS hth
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I did. nada....
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notbob wrote:

DAGS means:
D o A G oogle S earch
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I did as I already posted. Nothing.
Why not just tell us what it is?
Harry K
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On Thursday, July 25, 2013 8:59:12 PM UTC-7, Harry K wrote:

Okay, got it. Now if you would just tell us what to search FOR. To say that responding DAGS is far less than helpful is an understatement.
Harry K
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On 7/25/2013 8:00 AM, notbob wrote:

Do A Google Search
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I'm not foolish enough to use google.
https://duckduckgo.com/
nb
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double WHOOSH
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Three pages of google reveals zip about structural screws with DAGS ref. What's that make you? A dbl douche?
nb
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your question was not about screws, it was what DAGS stood for As Dan pointed out......
At the risk that you still don't get it:
_D_o A _G_oogle _S_earch.
The first letter of each word in the phrase "Do A Google Search".
No, DAGS didn't ring a bell with me either, but I did eventually get it.
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I think that makes you the douche :)




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At the risk that you still don't get it:
_D_o _A_ _G_oogle _S_earch.
The first letter of each word in the phrase "Do A Google Search".
No, DAGS didn't ring a bell with me either, but I did eventually get it.
--
Dan Espen

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People should be aware that drywall screws are classed as "low root" screws.
The screw "root" is the diameter of solid steel at the center of the screw once one eliminates the screw threads.
http://www.boltscience.com/images/screw3.gif
ALL screws that are meant to be driven into wood _without_predrilling_ will be low root screws. The requirement that the screw be driven into wood without predrilling necessitates that the screw have a small root diameter, but it also results in a screw that is physically weaker than a regular wood screw, which is meant to be driven into predrilled holes.
EVERY wood screw will hold better and be structurally stronger than a nail. Nails hold by friction, whereas wood screws have root diameters that are equal to or greater than those of nails, AND wood screws have threads that grip the surrounding wood much better than a nail ever could. Try pulling a screw out of wood with a claw hammer and you'll learn that first hand.
The issue with the title of this thread is that it suggests that screws, in general, don't work as well as nails, and that's just not true. If you want a STRONG joint, just use a STRONG screw, like a wood screw or sheet metal screw and predrill for the large root that screw will have. If you're doing work outdoors, use stainless steel screws instead.
What we have here is a situation where someone is using drywall screws in an application they were never intended for, and warning people away from them because they don't perform to his expectations. Really, the issue here should be to just use the right nail or screw for each job, and you won't have problems with either. If the OP had used 3 inch wood screws instead of 3" drywall screws, I'm sure his experience with them would have been totally different.
--
nestork


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On Thu, 25 Jul 2013 22:51:25 +0200, nestork

The BIG problem today is virtually all "construction screws" are manufactured in china of "mystery metal".
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Hah!! Got it.
I no doubt missed it due to the fact I'm the founding --and most likely only-- member of CRAP: Curmudgeons Resisting Acronym Propagation. ;)
nb
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Thanks for this valuble info. As a backyard handiman, I rebuilt the steps on my mom's deck. Seeing all the ppl using screws, I bought a DeWalt and jumped in, using 3-1/2" deck screws, my 8 mos of framing experience from 40 yrs before serving me fairly well. Discovered early I needed to pre-drill, but still used deck screws to secure cut strings to deck. When I replace the tread boards, I'll make sure I re-enforce the deck screws with framing screws or 16Ds. I think I may still have my late brother's framing gun. I know I have his framing hammer and am not too old to swing it. Being basically a mechanical type, I attached the baluster/spindles and handrail to strings using 3/8" SS nuts/bolts and fender washers. I know those will hold. ;)
nb
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