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.
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.
Zip Screws and Tek Screws
Self tapping screws, such as zip screws and tek screws, are perfect for jobs when you plan to connect materials that are of different varieties, such as wood to metal, metal to plastics and metal to metal. Self tapping screws are really versatile and simple to use since they will tap their own threads as you drive them into your materials, and this in turn will save you time and time equals money! There are many kinds of self tapping screws you can buy today and they each have their own purpose.
There are fundamentally two sorts of popular self tapping fasteners available, zip screws and tek screws. Type A screws are also self-tapping, as they tap their own threads, even so, they are not as popular as they normally need a pilot hole to get them started.
There are two kinds of tips for self-tapping screws and that they are the self piercing screw, also identified as zip screws, and the other is the drill bit tip, tek screw type.
Tek screws are intended for use in soft steel or other metals. The points are numbered from 1 through 5, The larger the number, the thicker metal it can go through without a pilot hole. For example, a # 5 tek point can drill a 0.5 in (12.7 mm) of steel. Contractors at times question the quality of their tek screws when the screws break, when the actual reason for breakage is the application for which they are being used. The following is a very simplified reason for heads of tek screws sometimes popping or screws twisting and breaking when drilled into steel too thick for the tek screw used. With a standard tek screw, the front of the fastener will be drilling in slower while the drill bit is drilling the pilot hole than when the threads of the tek screw catch the material being drilled. Once the threads catch, the screw will turn as fast as the TPI. In other words, if the screw is 16tpi, the screw will go in a 16th of an inch each time it turns. The problem becomes, if it is a thick piece of metal, the threads will catch before the drill bit is done drilling through the metal. The consequence is that the front of the fastener will be moving slower than the back of the screw and the screw will break. However, by having the drill bit of the screw longer up the shank of the screw and changing the threads per inch to a finer thread (24 threads per inch), the front and the back of the screw will move at the same time and the tek screws won’t break.
While self-piercing zip screws can pierce their own hole in to soft metals and create its own threads, this is usually done with thinner gauges of metal starting at 24 gauge. Needlepoint screws, are also commonly known as zip screws and are self-tapping in that they tap their own threads.
They are also sometimes referred to as self-piercing screws because they will ‘self start’ with soft metals when pressure is applied. #8 x1/2 Hex Washer Head Needlepoint screws (zip screws) have reportedly worked best when used in square duct with 30 and 28 gauge metals. Contractors state that they have better luck with a #7 needlepoint when doing round pipe with 24 and 26 gauge metals. Application is very important when choosing which fastener to use in your specific job, otherwise, the screws may not perform in the way that they were expected. Many screw ‘failures’ are actually misapplications. Although some say that they have been able to use #7 zip screws in up to 20 gauge metals, it has been our experience that when working with metal 22 gauges and thicker, drill bit tip (tek screw type) really does the job much easier.
Zip screws and tek screws are readily available to help save you time and money.