When you guys do wood repairs, do you use nails or screws? Obviously I'm
not talking about trim molding but rather things like hanging drywall,
repairing damaged boards, mounting fixtures to framing, heck even building
shelving and bookcases??
I'm one of those screw kinds of guys, mostly because my skill with a hammer
sucks pretty badly. Its simple to put in a screw and in my mind a lot more
secure and reversable with minimal damage to the wood. Again that might be
based on my sucky stills with the ol' hammer but give me a power drill and I
can hang drywall all day. Give me a hammer and I can break my thumb on the
first hit, the second hit breaks the drywall, the third hit puts the nail
just inside of the stud and bends the head.
I'm just like you. Last home job I did was flooring the attic space and
I used hammer and nails and must have bent and trashed more than I put in!
I did use screws on the deck I built outside because, like you said, I
think they are stronger and hold better (not to mention the thumb
thing). But I must say that I sometimes think that they hold too well.
Much of the decking is relatively long runs (say 10-12ft) and with the
temperature and moisture expansion of the wood I seem to have a lot of
splits and more open grain then I would like. I think that may be from
the screws binding up the wood too much but I don't know for sure.
If you have a nail gun, that's probably the way to go. I rented one for
a fence project and that made all the difference.
Hope that helps.
I usually use drywall screws and keep a collection on hand. I also
keep a selection of exterior screws on hand. These types of screws
have a sharp point which is self-starting. Cordless drivers have made
driving screws fast and easy. I usually just pound them in but it is
worth it to learn how to correctly install a screw.
For example, when attaching some plywood (or solid wood) you can drill
a 3/16" hole in the plywood to accept the shank of the screw and this
will make things easier. Then you can pound them into the substrate
without having to worry about starting the hole. It also makes a
better connection. Drilling pilots in the substrate is usually only
necessary when building or repairing furniture and the like.
If the screw is splitting the material then it is better to drill the
shank and the pilot. The shank is drilled to the diameter of the screw
(3/16") and the pilot is drilled slightly smalller than the diameter of
the screw threads. You can also counter-sink the screw head. There
are drill bits which will drill it all in one pass. It is the correct
way to install a screw even though I don't usually bother if I don't
I also use nails for some things. They can be quite a lot faster than
screws esp for rough work and framing. I have air nailers I use and
rarely hand nail. I do keep a hammer and a selection of nails on hand
nevertheless for the occasional situation which requires them.
Well, screw removal IS preferable to nail removal IF the head is
intact and not countersunk. We refurbed a wood ramp skinned in plywood
that had been screwed down. Due to rust and roundout during
installation, many heads could not be turned or broke off due to rust.
It took a long time to work out each screw individually...could not
just drive the remnant deeper as would be possible with a nail.
Now for drywall, bring out the screwgun and drywall screws to avoid
nail pops later on. Everything else is from a nailgun.
It really does depend on the job for me.
For drywall, yeah, screws are the only way to go. In fact, I've
discovered the joys of drywall screws for so many repairs and jobs.
There are times when nails are simpler to deal with than the drill and
screw bit. And there are times when I don't want to see a screw head
and must use finishing nails. If someone could come up with finishing
screws, I'd probably be there in a second.
In fact, I was replacing baseboards the other day, and because the
plaster wall is warped the finishing nails wouldn't hold properly. I
resorted to Liquid Nails and some heavy objects to brace the 1x4, but
"finishing screws" would have been the perfect thing.
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