wood screw
30/01/2012

Self-Tapping Sheet Metal Screw, Wood Screw or Lag Screw?

When you’re choosing your screws for a project, it’s important to know what you need for the job. That decision isn’t always straightforward, though — you might be surprised which options work with your applications. From stainless self-tapping sheet metal screws to wood screws to lag screws, you have a lot of options. You want to make sure you pick the best tool for the material you’re working with on each specific job. To help you choose, you’ll want to consider how you’ll be using the screws in the project and what they’ll need to do.

At All Points Fasteners, we’re here to help you find the best solutions for your work, so we want to help you source the perfect fastener. Read on for some tips on the differences between screws and how to choose the one that works best with your materials.

wood screw

What’s the Difference Between the Screw Types?

Even pros are confused at times on which fastener they are using on a job. They often wonder, what’s the difference between a wood screw vs. a metal screw and which do I need. When you are putting screws into wood, then they have to be wood screws right? Well, possibly…….One good clue to spot the difference between a wood screw vs. sheet metal screw is to check underneath the head of the screws.

If the screw is fully threaded with a sharp point, you most likely have a sheet metal screw.

If the screw only is about 2/3 threaded with a smooth shank underneath the head, you are looking at a wood screw. Typically in the past, wood screws were not case-hardened like sheet metal screws and, unlike sheet metal screws, were plain steel and not plated.

But these days, there are many more options available. Some companies carry case-hardened wood screws and many are now zinc plated which gives them more protection from corrosion. The purpose of the smooth shank underneath the head was so that the two pieces of wood being fastened would draw together once the threads past through the first piece of wood.

Then there is the lag screw which is also used in wood. Frequently a customer will ask for a lag screw when, in fact, he is wanting a #14×3 self-tapping Hex Washer Head Sheet Metal Type A screw.

How to Decide Whether You Need Self-Tapping Sheet Metal Screws, Wood Screws or Lag Screws

When you’re making the decision, how do you decide which option works best for your project?

A quick way to figure out which one you want is to ask:

1. Does it have a smooth shank underneath the head? and …

2. Does it have an attached washer on the hex head.

As you can tell from the pictures above, lag screws and sheet metal screws look quite different. If you pay attention to these two key features, you can probably figure out which option goes with which type of screw pretty quickly. As you start paying attention to these subtle differences, you’ll be able to recognize the distinction more and more readily.

If you need self-tapping capabilities for your project, your best bet is probably stainless self-tapping sheet metal screws. Wood screws, meanwhile, will work particularly well with materials like plywood and lumber.

Work With All Points Fasteners to Get the Right Screws for Your Project

Do you need additional information to make sure you’re using the right tools and supplies for the job? At All Points Fasteners, we’re here to help contractors with HVAC, roofing and gutter applications across industries. Partner with us for trusted services to help you move forward. Whether you need specialized screws or other supplies for your work, we have you covered with a broad inventory of products. Have questions or concerns? Our helpful, knowledgeable team offers superior customer support to handle all your requirements.

Reach out to us for online chat support addressing product selection and use assistance or any other needs you may have. When you work with us, you can be confident you’ll get trusted resources to help you know exactly what you need for your project. We’re committed to providing live-person assistance and expertise to help you handle your next job. To get more information about our products, feel free to get in touch with us and request a product quote today.