I think screws are popular for two reasons.
First, most people can't drive a nail anymore. I have carpenters that
work for me from time to time that think their hammers are just
adjustment tools. Without airtools, they beat the crap out of
material, can't get joints to line up, and it in some cases they
simply can't get the job done at all. I am now at an age where many
younger "carpenters" have never worked solely with hammer and nails
all day for any reason. I always make sure we have pneumatic
equipment on the job now, and have for years.
Second, with the differences in today's materials screws are an
important part of different aspects of construction. They are
invaluable in my repairs as I don't vibrate or move things around like
I do when driving large nails. Also, when using mdf, crappy plywood,
etc., nails simply won't hold. Some mdf is too hard to nail together,
and the nails won't hold if you get them in at all.
I still use a lot of nails. I use pneumatic and hand nails, and my
stuff doesn't fall apart. Just think how many old houses aren't
screwed together <anywhere>, from framing to cabinets and trim, and
they are still standing...
I cannot explain that to my idiot neighbor. He spend an untold amount
of money and time screwing fence boards onto his new fence. He was
out there forever, thinking his fence would last as well as The
Pyramids if it was screwed together. He had something like $275 bucks
in screws, when he could have borrowed my utility nailer and bought a
box of ring shanked galvanized nails for $55 and been through in a
It took him four weekends, working both days to attach with screws. I
could only surmise he was just doing it for the fun.