hammer and wrench
20/02/2019

Impact Tools for Screws – Wrong Tool for the Job!

Screw design adapts to changing needs.
Having been in the industry for more years than I’d like to count, I have had my share of conversations with contractors and purchasing agents. If I simply do the math, well over a half a million calls during my career. So, saying that, I’ve had a pretty good finger on the pulse of the changes that have been made over the years in the designs of screws to adapt to the changing needs of contractors throughout the recent decades. For instance, changing the standard head size on larger size diameter screws for the gutter and roofing contractors from the 5/16 and 3/8 hex heads to a one size fits all ¼ tall high hat to save them time from having to constantly change their drivers while working. One thing that has never changed, however, is using anything other than screw guns to drive in screws.

Not everyone on YouTube is an expert.
With the growing popularity of do-it-yourself videos, everyone with a camera phone and an idea has the resources to reach a larger-than-life audience. This can be good or, in some cases, not so good. Not everyone is an expert. If you are not sure what tools are best to use with your fasteners, ask your fastener representative. If they don’t know the answer, a good representative should be able to find out the answer for you.

In the fastener industry, we have seen the not-so-good side of these types of do-it-yourself videos. I’ve seen videos that were directed to contractors and do-it-yourself guys, encouraging them to use impact tools to drive their screws in order to make the job quicker and easier. If you have already tried this, you would think that this was the case. At first. Until, months later, when your gutters are falling from the eaves, and you have the additional cost of labor and materials returning to restore them. The old saying ‘pinch a penny to lose a pound’ becomes a reality.

NO IMPACT TOOLS WITH SCREWS!
The impact wrench was designed to drive large wheel nuts into wheels. When you think of the way that a screw was designed to work, the motion of ‘impacting’ a small screw in the same way, doesn’t at all make sense. Screws being installed with this improper tool can be fractured or otherwise compromised in their ability to do the job they were designed to do because the impact tool is adding stress to the fastener which can be dangerous as well as costly. The damage that these improper tools are causing is creating enough concern among manufacturers and distributors that there have been discussions of stamping ‘NO IMPACT TOOLS’ on the boxes of screws in order to get the word out.

Chipped paint?
Using an impact tool with your painted and powder coated screws can also cause your paint to chip. After spending the extra money to make sure that your screws match your metal roof or gutters, who needs chipped paint?

It’s the wrong tool for the job.
Although initially, an impact drill may drive your screws in quicker, in the long run it could be the biggest headache you’ve ever created for yourself.