I'm watching Holmes. In many cases, his crew is screwing studs where other shows
I watch use nails. Is that a Canadian thing, personal preference, better, worse,
or what? They're building a wall, and they're screwing the studs into the header
and the plate (or whatever they're called.)
I tried nailing by hand, that does not work. Everything shifts. A nail gun
should work. I find screwing fairly easy, and also easy to remove, just in
case! Check codes. If your going into treated lumber, use the right screws.
A short 2X4 (about 14 1/2", +/-) to set between the already nailed
stud and the stud you are nailing sets the proper 16" on-center
spacing and prevents the stud from walking away on you as you drive
Here's a very short thread on the subject:
Framing screws have been around for a few years now.
It's something that's constantly debated in construction forums.
Nails are more ductile - meaning they can bend quite a bit before they
break. But nails can be pulled out easily.
Screws tend to be more brittle, meaning that they can break more easily
when a bending or shear force is applied to them.
That said, there are apparently framing screws designed to meet a lot of
When you're doing low-volume or custom work, or as a home-owner, a good
argument can be made for screws and a power driver (cost/benefit, etc)
vs swinging a hammer.
When you're a contractor or framer, you're interested in speed, and a
power nailer and compressor are expensive but give you speed.
I use screws for all the out-door projects I have. Sure makes it
easier to take them apart when they've served their purpose.
I had a contractor build build an elevated deck and stairs at my place 2
years ago. Canada, so the deck takes abuse from the weather. He used
nails. i asked why not deck screws and he simply told me that the
coated screws do not work as advertised and that he could use screws but
would not honour a 5 year warranty on workmanship.
He only gives a warranty if he can use nails. And it's just plain old
green pressure treated lumber.
Nails were always used since the beginning of home building. It'sd just
in the last few decades that screws are being used for darn near
everything. Heck, back in the 60's screws were only used to hang door
hinges and build furniture. I'm not really sure why screws have become
so popular, but I attribute it more to advertising than need. Screws
cost more so they make more money for the sellers. I also think that
our current young generation is lazy and cant do anything without power.
There are a few instances that I see an advantage to screws. Drywall,
and pole barn steel. Mainly because drywall dont have nail pops are
often, and the barn steel stays tight, so thus water dont leak around
the neoprene washers. I have mixed feelings about using them for
decking. They do hold better, but they do often leave a deep indent in
the wood, which holds water, causes rot and icy spots. They can also be
a big pain to remove, especially the phillips heads.
As for framing studs and most any dimentional lumber, use nails.....
Who in their right mind wants to drive screws into the side of a wall
being framed, lauing on the ground. And I can put in a nail much faster
than a screw, considering that you need to grab the screw, then the
power driver, get the bit in the head, and hopefully get the screw in
without stripping out the head or tip. The hell with that. Give me a
framing hammer and some common or coated sinker nails.
If you cant get the boards lined up while using a hammer and nails, it's
time you learn how. Carpenters have done it for centuries, but it takes
skill and practice. Yea, you will hit your thumb once and awhile, but
the more you practice the less you'll do that, plus you learn how to not
hit the nail as hard when you start it, and your fingers are under the
hammer. But hey, I'd much rather hit my thumb a few times a year than
get shot with a nail gun. Myself, I have no use for nail guns. Not
only are they dangerous, but clumbsy, awkward, they often jam up, a slow
air compressor can make you wait for enough pressure, and if your board
is not prefectly in line, that nail is all the way driven in on one
shot. (With a hammer, you can back the nail out and adjust things).
So, in the end, I like a plain old hammer and nails the best and I can
build just as fast as with all that power stuff.
One last thing. If you insist on screws, DO NOT use those goddamn
brittle drywall screws that crack from side pressure. About 10 years
ago, I was building a lean to on one of my sheds. It was small, so I
decided to frame the whole roof on the ground and lift it up on the
walls. Since the "trend" seemed to be screws. I decided to give them a
try. I built the whole 12 x 10 foot 2x4 roof frame on the ground using
3 to 4 inch drywall screws. It looked good when it was done. I leaned
it against the original building and as I lifted it, I heard a few pops
and noticed a couple 2x4s were loose. I added a few screws, and as I
liften the roof frame up on the walls, the entire frame fell apart, with
a few boards falling on my head. Needless to say, I was pissed!
What happened was the frame twisted (which is normal when you lift a
wall or roof frame into place). The twisting just snapped almost every
screw. I ended up taking all the pieces of wood and starting all over
on the ground. This time I used nails, and had to piss around mailing
in between the busted off screws. That was the last time I ever used
screws for framing. I guess they make some less brittle screws, but I
dont need the hassle. Nails are a soft metal that will flex and give.
Even if they bend a little while lifting a frame, a few taps with a
hammer and they are set. Those drywall screws just break. If you still
insist on screws, find out what kind are made for framing. I cant tell
you what kind, I have no use for any screws when I frame. A 16 or 20
common nail or sinker is just fine.
And just so you know. Some of these advertisers claim screws are
stronger and hold better. Well, all homes up until the 80's or so were
built with nails, and there are 100+ year old homes that are still
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