What Is a Self-Piercing Screw?

What Is a Self-Piercing Screw?

Self-piercing screws, also known as “zip” screws, are a type of self-tapping screw that cuts its own threads. These screws come to a very sharp point, allowing them to work through materials like metal and wood.

A self-piercing screw can penetrate materials and create its threads simultaneously. They will ‘pierce’ through light gauge metal and do not require pre drilling.

There are two different types of self-tapping screws: 

  • Thread-forming: The threads push the material aside as they create the path for the screw’s body. They can resist loosening without washers or other devices. 
  • Thread-cutting: These cut and remove material to create threading. They require less force when drilling since they remove a portion of the substance they’re driven into. 

If you need piercing power and want to improve your project time, self-piercing screws might be right for you.

Are Self-Piercing and Self-Drilling Screws Interchangeable? 

Self-piercing screws and self-drilling screws should not be used interchangeably. Though they’re often compared to each other or mistakenly considered the same, these two types of screws are quite different, and using one in place of the other can create potential issues. When you are gathering materials for projects, getting the right kind of screw makes a significant difference. 

Self-drilling screws: 

  • Have a drill-shaped point at the tip.
  • Do not require a pilot hole.
  • Work well with metals up to 1/2″ thick, depending on the drill bit tip size.  The reduced tip roofing screw is good for use in metal to wood.

Self-piercing screws: 

  • Have a twinfast threaded body leading to a very sharp tip.
  • Self pierces up to 26 gauge metal. 
  • Work well with metals like light gauge steel, aluminum and copper. 

The critical difference between the two is the thickness of metal they are designed to be used with, as self-drilling screws can be installed quickly given their lack of need for a pilot hole in thicker metals. Overall, the two should not be used interchangeably, as they have different uses.

What Are Self-Piercing Screws Used For? 

Self-piercing screws are preferred in situations where you are using light gauge metal – 30 to 26 gauge. You can use self-piercing screws for sheet metal like steel, aluminum and metal alloys. Self-piercing screws create a tight connection since they make their own path and have a fine, twinfast thread. 

There are some self-piercing screws created explicitly for wood that minimize the chance of breakage. These have what’s called a Type 17 or auger point.  There is a cut in the tip of the screw that allows displaced material to escape which prevents splitting the grain and damaging the surrounding material.

Self-piercing screws are also ideal for projects that require regular maintenance or when you are fastening two types of material together.  

Shop for Self-Piercing Screws With All Points

Depending on your project, you want to find the screw that will give you the best results. Save yourself the effort and contact us for a free quote or to find out more about our complete inventory. We can help you find the perfect fasteners for any project.  

Strongest Screw

The Strongest Screws for Any Project

The strongest screw for a given project will vary based on whether you’re working with metal, wood or other materials. Each type of screw has different strengths that make it a capable fastener. Learn more about the different styles below.

Self-Tapping Screws

These screws create their own hole as they turn. Self-tapping screws are most often used when attaching multiple layers or sheets, as they usually require no pilot hole and are compatible with many materials, including wood, metal and brick.

Self-tapping screws come in various sizes, materials and styles. Thread-cutting screws do not displace any material, while thread-forming screws will. Generally speaking, the thicker the screw, the more weight it will hold.

Self-tapping screws can be made from carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon steel can be plated with zinc to improve their resistance to corrosion. You can also find self-tapping fasteners made from aluminum usually used with aluminum siding.

Wood Screws

Wood screws comprise a head, shank and threaded body, and they’re specifically designed to bring and hold together pieces of wood. Wood screws are typically thick and made of soft, snap-resistant metal.

The shank on a wood screw serves two purposes. First, when the shank enters the wood, the screw stops spinning, creating tension between the threaded body and the head without breaking the wood. This tension ensures a strong connection between the planks. The shank also helps prevent the screw from heating up from the friction of drilling.

Lag Screws

Lag screws are traditional screws used for heavy-duty projects, and they typically require more effort to install. They are ideal for applications where several heavy objects need to be joined together. Lag screws were originally used to fasten lags, or staves, to barrels, and they can support heavier loads than the average wood screw.

Lag screws are long and thick, with the head of the screw being thicker than the threads. To install a lag screw, you have to predrill a hole for the threading and then another opening to clear the shank.

These screws are readily available and easy to find, and they’re one of the strongest types of wood screws on the market.

Structural Screws

Structural screws are a recently introduced option that replaces thicker traditional screws. These fasteners are long, thin and sharp so they can pierce any material with ease. They come in three head styles, including the typical hex head, Torx drive (six contact points) and Spider head (eight contact points).

These screws are made from high-quality, heat-treated steel and meet numerous engineering standards. Additionally, their long, thin construction eliminates the need for predrilling, which can cut down on installation time. However, they are priced somewhat higher than other screws because of these features.

Find Your Screws With All Points Fasteners

We offer a wide variety of screws that will provide you with long-lasting fastening power, including numerous sizes, head shapes and colors to serve diverse applications in virtually any industry.

Browse our collection of screws and find the perfect match for your project. If you need any assistance, contact us for more information and to request a free quote.

How Does a Screw Work?

How Does a Screw Work?

The world of screws is vast, and you’ll find no shortage of different options when you shop for screws for your next project. How does a screw work, exactly, and what are different types of screws used for? Here’s a primer on the different types of screws available to you, as well as some key information as you evaluate what types of screws will work best to meet your needs.

What Is a Screw Used For?

Screws are fasteners for all sorts of construction projects, large and small. The reason there are so many different types of screws is that there are so many different ways objects and materials need to be fastened.

Sometimes screws are classified by the material they are used to fasten. For example, you might find you need concrete screws for fastening objects to concrete, wood screws for fastening objects to wood, or drywall screws for fastening objects to drywall. No one screw or fastening could possibly serve as a one-size-fits-all solution, because there are simply too many different needs and applications for screws and fasteners.

What Are the Different Types of Screws?

Because of how many different ways there are to use screws, you’ll find there are tons of different types of screws. Here are just a few of the different kinds you’ll find when searching for the right solution:

  • Wood
  • Machine
  • Sheet Metal
  • Self-Drilling
  • Hex
  • Carriage
  • Lag
  • Flange
  • Socket
  • Eye
  • Mating
  • Hanger
  • Set

This is just a few of the different types of screws. You may find that the screw you need is classified into one of the categories above, but it’s also categorized by its drive type (Phillips, slotted, combination, star, etc.) or by the shape of its head (oval, flat, button, round, pan, etc.). In some cases, you may find a screw is classified by a combination of terms. For example, you might find that you need a slotted flathead metal screw.

What Is the Difference Between a Self-Tapping Screw and a Normal Screw?

With most screws, you’ll need to drill a pilot hole that creates threads and helps guide the screw into a secure spot. That’s not the case with self-tapping (or self-drilling) screws. When you choose self-tapping screws, there’s no need for a pilot hole. The screw creates its own threads as it is installed.

What’s the benefit of self-tapping screws? They save tons of time when you’re working on a significant project. For example, if you’re working to fasten objects and you need to use several dozen screws to get the job done, choosing self-tapping screws can significantly decrease the amount of time the project takes you. This is incredibly important in large construction projects where getting the project done on time is of the utmost importance.

Get the Screws You Need at All Points Fasteners

At All Points Fasteners, we work each day with service contractors to ensure they have the screws they need to deliver outstanding results. We specialize in tracking down even the most difficult-to-find fastening solutions — so our clients always have access to exactly what they need.

You find nothing but products of the highest quality in our selection, as well as affordable pricing that helps your project stay under budget.

Browse our vast selection of screws.