trio of ap tek screws

What are Tek Screws?



The term TEK Screw has become a proprietary eponym, similar to Kleenex, Clorox, and Xerox. These screws, known by the brand name TEK®, have become the generic term for self-drilling screws. They offer a convenient solution for various projects, saving time and effort.

TEK® screws are available in different shank lengths and diameters. The diameter is indicated by a numeric size ranging from #6 to #14, with #6 being the thinnest and #14 being the thickest. The commonly used sizes are #8 and #10 TEK® screws.

The tip size of TEK® screws is designated with a value from 1 to 5, indicating the thickness of the sheet metal the screw can penetrate. The thinnest metal is represented by 1, while 5 is for the thickest. The TEK® 3 screw tip is the most common and is suitable for various projects. TEK® 4 and 5 screws are popular choices when dealing with thicker metals.

TEK® 1 screws are specifically designed for roofing applications that involve metal-to-wood connections. These screws include a small drill bit, creating a hole with a diameter significantly smaller than the external threads on the rest of the screw. This design allows the threads to securely grip the material for a reliable hold.

Tek screws are widely used due to their self-drilling capabilities. They feature a drill bit tip, eliminating the need for a pilot hole before fastening. This self-drilling capability saves time and ensures efficient progress in your work. While commonly used in the HVAC and electrical industries, Tek screws are versatile and can be applied to almost any metal to metal application where self-drilling is beneficial.

When selecting Tek screws for your project, consider factors such as shank length, diameter, and tip size. Understanding the specific requirements of your project will help you choose the right type of Tek screws and make your work more efficient.

How to Use TEK Screws

You can use a drill or an electric screwdriver to drive TEK® screws. One of the benefits of self-drilling TEK® screws is that you do not need to drill a pilot hole to use them, so many people choose not to. Drive the TEK® screw in slowly to ensure it goes in straight. Once it is in, tighten it firmly but without using excess force. Overtightening can cause head stripping, which makes it difficult to remove the screw in the future. Even though many tend to use impact tools to install tek screws because it’s faster, it’s highly recommended that you do not because the impact could compromise the ability of the fastener to hold in place or cause the heads to pop. 

You want to make sure that the metal thickness of the piece you are drilling into is thinner than the length of the drill point on your screw. The screw will snap if its threads make contact with the metal’s surface before the tip has bored through, as this will result in the tip and the head of the screw moving at different speeds and generate stress in the middle.


How to Use TEK Screws


Benefits of Tek Screws

These screws are very popular since they offer so many benefits, such as:

  • Time savings: Tek® self-tapping screws cut back on the number of steps necessary to complete projects.
  • Corrosion resistance: TEK® screws can also be made from corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel.
  • Versatile: With their wide range of types and sizes, these screws can serve well in almost any metal to metal project.
  • No pilot hole drilling: The drill bit provides a starting point for the screw to drill into, eliminating the need to pre-drill or wait for the thread to catch.
  • Consistent performance: You can expect the same high performance every time.
  • Self-drilling screws are mainly meant for metal-to-metal applications.  However, the #1, or reduced point, tek points used in roofing are for thin metal to wood projects  The ReamerTek® screw is designed exclusively for applications that are wood to metal.

What You Should Know When Buying Tek Screws

There are many features to consider when buying Tek screws. Before you buy, determine

  • Head style: This aspect will determine how the screw distributes stress and what the finished surface will look like. 
    • Hex washer head: Features a built-in washer to better distribute weights and loads over a wide area. This style is ideal for roofing projects and other heavy-duty applications.
    • Modified truss: Features an oversized dome head and a flange to create a larger area under the head for a greater bearing surface.
  • Shank size: Shank describes the thickness of the screw. A higher number shank means a thicker screw.  Think dress size.  A #12 is thicker than a #10 shank. You should use higher thicknesses for heavy-duty applications.
  • Length: On Hex heads, pan heads, modified truss heads and pancake head screws, screw length measures from right below the head to the screw tip. Choose this measurement based on how thick your materials are and how much grip you need. On countersinking screws, you would measure the entire screw since the full length of the screw will be embedded in the material.
  • Point type: Self-drilling screws, also known as tek screws, have four popular sizes – #2, #3, #4 and #5.  The higher the number, the thicker the metal the tek screw can penetrate. A #5 drill bit tip can drill through up to ½ inch steel.
  • Plating: Your screw’s outer coating affects its response to the surrounding environment. Zinc plating is standard but can also be found with ceramic coating.
  • Material:    The least expensive self-drilling tek type screws are manufactured in carbon steel.  They are also available in 410 stainless (magnetic) and 18-8 stainless (non-magnetic).  18-8 stainless and 300 series stainless are best used in aluminum.  410 stainless tek screws can be used in heavier gauges but can give you surface rust without compromising the integrity of the screw.  We even have bi-metal tek screws, where the drill bit tip is carbon steel but the body of the screw is non-magnetic stainless.  These screws are pricey but they do the job of drilling through steel but giving you the best in rust resistance.
  • Time: How many screws do you need, and when do you need them? Call us early enough, and we can ship the same day any items we have on the floor.  We offer painted screws for a cleaner look, however, custom paint colors will need time to prepare so don’t wait until the last minute to order!


Choose All Points for Your TEK Screw Needs

TEK screws are an invaluable tool for a wide range of projects and industries, offering self-drilling capabilities and versatility. With the time-saving benefits and reliable performance, they have become a go-to choice for service contractors and do-it-yourself enthusiasts alike.

If you still have some questions about TEK screws, check out our TEK screw FAQ page!

If you’re ready to purchase or have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Contact us today to explore our selection of TEK screws and get your questions answered!

Head Screw Lady Since 1986! Specializing in breaking down the language barrier between suppliers and end users. During her 35 years working in the fastener industry, MaryLouise has worked directly with end users, contractor’s, OEM’S and DIY, as well working within the import industry, working with fastener manufacturers and distributors. This has given her the unique perspective of having the technical knowledge needed to perform in the fastener world but also be familiar with the needs of end users who don’t necessarily know the fastener jargon or applications to know exactly what they need for their jobs.