Different Types of Screw Threads and Terminology
From professional contractors to the DIYers at home, virtually every individual performing a construction, remodeling or decorating project will use screws and fasteners. These small tools come in many shapes and sizes, typically labeled using terminology that the average homeowner or novice repair servicer may not be familiar with.
At All Points Fasteners, we understand that learning and memorizing the different types of screw threads can be confusing. To help you identify the type and use of various screws, we’ve created this helpful screw thread terminology guide that you can quickly reference any time you need to select a specific screw and screw thread measurement.
What Are the Different Types of Screws?
If you’ve ever felt lost walking down the fastener aisle of the hardware store, you’re not alone. The types of screws you need for a woodworking project like building a table are different from the screw types and sizes you would use when building a deck. Refer to our list of the different types of screws to help you identify which is the right fastener for your job:
- Woodworking: Woodworking screws are some of the most common types of screws. Used for connecting two or more wooden objects, woodworking screws feature a tapered shank with sharp threading to dig into the wood.
- Drywall: Although they can be used for woodworking, drywall screws are designed for use on drywall projects. However, the wrong-sized drywall anchor screw could damage pure plaster walls. The drywall screw size, length and weight must match the type of wall or ceiling drywall being used. Many drywall screws as twinfast screws which feature two threads.
- Machine: Similar to woodworking screws, machine screws are a common type of screw used in machining applications to connect two or more metal objects.
- Lag: Also known as coach screws, a lab screw is a type of screw that forms its own thread in pre-drilled holes and is usually used to fasten metal to wood.
- Gutters and siding: Screws used for gutters and siding are designed to provide a stronger hold, typically coated with a weather-resistant material and available in finishes to match the gutter or siding color.
- Security: Security screws are unique in that they do not have an operable head like other screws, which protects them from being removed or tampered with. To install or remove these screws, special tools are required.
- Self-drilling: Self-drilling screws are available as “magnetic” and “non-magnetic” stainless steel varieties that are used for metal-to-metal and wood-to-metal applications. Roofing screws are an example of self-drilling screws.
- Self-piercing: Self-piercing screws have powerful penetration capabilities because their threads are machined down to the end of the point.
- Self-tapping: Self-tapping screws are threaded to create their own holes when installed. They form a matching thread in whatever material they are installed into. Self-tapping screws like sheet metal screws may be used in HVAC applications. Self-tapping deck screws are often coated with a corrosive-resistant material, such as ceramic.
- Thread-forming: Used with plastic materials, thread-forming screws feature two separate threads: one high and one low. This makes the pullout strength higher while also ensuring plastic does not crack or otherwise break.
- Type U: Type U screws have a unique spiral thread, and they are typically fastened into a plastic or metal casing material via a hammer instead of a screwdriver.
Screw Thread Terminology
Knowing the different screw types and sizes is helpful, but to accurately select the right screw for your project, you’ll likely need to know a little about how screw threads work, as well. So, how do screw threads work? Like the screws themselves, screw threads are designed to meet the needs of specific applications.
You can try to find a screw thread chart that outlines all of your different options, but what you really need is a guide to screw thread terminology that answers all your questions and provides a comprehensive rundown of threads and why they matter.
To help you make the best investments in fasteners for your next project, here’s a thorough guide to screw thread terminology:
- External Threads: External threads (ie: male threads) mean the threads are on the bolts or screws. Threads are sometimes on the nuts rather than the bolts or screws.
- Internal Threads: Internal threads (ie: female threads) mean the threads are on the nuts rather than the bolts or screws.
- Machine Screw Threads: Machine screw threads are unique in that they are specially designed to mate with threads on nuts or threads present in tapped holes. Not self-tapping threads.
- Spaced Threads: Spaced threads are designed to form their own threads in pre-drilled holes. You’ll most often find spaced threads on self-tapping, wood and coach screws.
- Lag Screws: Lag screws are just one example of screws that form their own thread in pre-drilled holes. Typically, coach screws are used to fasten metal to wood.
- Self-Tapping Screws: Self-tapping screws are threaded to create their own holes when installed. They form a matching thread in whatever material they are installed into. This makes using self-tapping screws incredibly efficient.
- Thread-Forming Screws: Used with plastic materials, thread-forming screws feature two separate threads: one high and one low. This makes the pullout strength higher while also ensuring plastic does not crack or otherwise break.
- Type U Screws: Type U screws include an unusual spiral thread that is most often driven with a hammer into materials like plastic and metal casings.
- Wood Screws: Wood screws feature a tapered shank with sharp threading.
Additional Fastener Terminology
Here are a few additional terms related to screws and threading that are helpful to know:
- Major Diameter: This refers to the diameter of a screw including the raised helix’s height. Measure using a slot gauge or a caliper rule. You can only measure major diameter with an external thread screw
- Minor Diameter: Minor diameter is a screw’s diameter measured at the base or root of the thread at the innermost part of the screw. You need specialized equipment to measure the minor diameter accurately.
- Effective Diameter: The effective diameter is essentially the average of the major and minor diameters. It is measured halfway up the raised helix, and, again, you need specialized equipment to get an accurate sense of a screw’s effective diameter.
- Pitch: The pitch is the distance between two threads on the same screw.
- Crest: The crest is the height of an external thread. Or, you can find the crest by subtracting minor diameter from major diameter. The crest is the difference between the two.
- Thread angles: The thread angle is the actual angle of both flanks of a screw. Symmetrical threads indicate that both sides of the thread are angled to the same degree. It’s common for thread angles to be referred to as simply “the flank.”
At All Points Fasteners, we offer an unmatched selection of different types of screw thread options, as well as different types of screw heads and other features. We often work with service contractors in the HVAC and gutter industries, as well as do-it-yourself enthusiasts who want to achieve professional-grade results with their projects. No matter why you need different types of screw threads, we want to offer access to exactly what you’re looking for.
Free High-Quality Fastener Samples From All Points Fasteners
Using our quick reference guide, you can effortlessly determine which screw thread is right for your application. If you’re still uncertain about which screw is right for you, we encourage you to request a free sample of our stocked items. We’re ready to go above and beyond to help your source the exact fasteners you need for your project. Browse our site today to discover the best high-quality fasteners in the industry and visit our blog for more helpful advice Call All Points Fasteners today to speak with a knowledgeable staff member who will be happy to answer all your questions.
How to Install Drywall Anchors
When hanging artwork, shelves, TVs or other heavier items on hollow walls, you can drastically increase their security with drywall anchors.
Anchors reduce the chance of the hung materials becoming too heavy for the screw to bear, and they also help to cut down the chances of damaging the surrounding wall. Once you sort out the details, installing drywall anchors and screws is an easy task anyone can accomplish with the appropriate tools.
What Types of Drywall Anchors Can You Choose From?
Before drilling headfirst into your wall, you’ll need to analyze the different types of drywall anchors to determine the best fit for your situation.
Some popular models include:
- Hollow Wall Anchor: Also called “Molly” anchors, hollow wall anchors will often see use in medium-duty applications. They’re formed using a machine screw that’s been threaded through a slotted metal sleeve. Tightening the screw will cause the sleeve to expand, and its spread will rest against the inside of the wall to disperse the screw’s load. These anchors can usually hold around 50 pounds in 1/2-inch drywall.
- Toggle Bolts: “Butterfly” anchors are a classic type, and they’re arguably the strongest type of drywall anchors. The metal sleeves utilize two spring-loaded wings that open inside the wall. You need to fold back the wings and then insert the unit into the wall, and it will then spread back out to create a sturdy hold. Different models give you different holding capacities. Slender bolts can hold up to 30 pounds, while thicker iterations can hold more than 50.
- Plastic Screw Anchors: You’ll most often see plastic anchors for light-to-medium usage, making them exceedingly common. Its cost-efficient hardware that gradually expands as you thread the screw.
Tips for Installing Drywall Anchors
Once you’ve decided what type of drywall anchor you’re using, you’re ready to get to work. Here are five tips to consider when going through the process.
1. Find the Right Spot
As opposed to other mounting jobs, you can avoid using studs and instead pick anywhere that you feel comfortable. If you’re hanging multiple items, measure out the distances accurately to avoid overcrowding. Mark the desired spots with a pencil, then break out your drill.
2. Use an Appropriately Sized Drill Bit
Think about drilling a pilot hole like playing the Price is Right — get the closest without going over.
Your drill bit should nearly mirror the diameter of the anchor, but try to keep it a tad smaller. That slight size disparity creates a better hold when compared to larger holes, which will be too loose for the anchor to grasp. If you’re feeling weary about the process, start at a reasonably small drill bit size, test the fit and move up to the next size until you find your proper match.
3. Prepare the Screw and Anchor
If you’re using toggle bolts or hollow wall anchors, begin threading the screw in before installing them to give it a good headstart.
4. Secure the Anchor
You can then firmly press the wall anchor into the wall. For toggle bolts, you should hear the wings snap into place. Molly anchors and plastic anchors should slide all the way in without any difficulties. If your plastic anchors need a push, you can lightly tap them with a hammer to get them flush with the wall. Be careful not to swing too hard, as you could damage the wall.
5. Drill the Screws
You can then drill the screws into place. Approach the screws from a 90-degree angle to ensure they go in straight, and drill slowly to prevent stipping the unit. The screw head should sit flush with the anchor head.
Find Your Drywall Anchors and Screws at All Points Fasteners
Now that you know how to install drywall anchors and screws, you can procure the best hardware for the job at All Points Fasteners. We offer free samples, monthly deals and custom requests to create a stress-free experience. Browse our different types of drywall anchors today and contact us to ask any questions you might have.
What Are Screws Made Of?
Screws are vital to the success of many different projects, whether you’re a do-it-yourself enthusiast or a service industry professional. However, you should ask some critical questions before you invest in screws for your next project. Like, what are screws made of? And, does it matter how screws are made?
Four Common Screw Materials
Screws can be made from all sorts of materials, but they are commonly made from one of these four:
- Steel: This is by far the most common material used for manufacturing screws, and there’s a simple explanation for why — steel is cheap. The only drawback to steel is that it isn’t as strong as some of the other options on this list.
- Copper: Copper screws are good for fighting against corrosion. If a screw is going to be exposed to the elements, copper helps to ensure the screw performs durably over the long-term.
- Aluminum: Aluminum isn’t as durable as other materials, but it does have one thing going for it — its weight. Aluminum is just about the lightest weight fastener you can find.
- Titanium: When you need a blend of strength and lightness, go with titanium. You’ll often pay a premium for titanium screws, but that extra cost pays off big time when you need a fastener that is robust but doesn’t weigh much.
What About Coatings?
Don’t forget that screws can also be coated, which opens up a vast number of possibilities when you’re seeking the right fastener for a specific situation. For example, screws can be coated in copper, ceramic, zinc and other materials, which can provide extra strength, extra protection against corrosion or even an aesthetic quality that might otherwise be missing.
For example, a zinc-plated steel screw will better fight corrosion than a steel screw on its own. Likewise, a copper-plated screw may look more attractive in a prominent place than a steel screw would.
Find High-Quality Screws at All Points Fasteners
Now that you know what screws are made of, it’s time to find the perfect screws for your next job. At All Points Fasteners, we pride ourselves on offering a vast and varied selection of screws made of different materials that match different specifications and feature different types of coatings. When you’re looking for something specific for a unique job at hand, we have the solution.
In addition to our wide selection, you’ll find competitive prices, fast shipping and outstanding customer service when you choose All Points. Are you ready to secure high-quality materials for your next job? Find them in our selection.
Browse our inventory of different screws today or contact our team with any questions you have.
How to Use Tek Screws
Tek screws are among the most popular screw types, and for a very good reason — they are a broad category that includes many different self-drilling screws. Tek screws are commonly used in the electrical industry and other service jobs where there’s a need to attach metal to metal or wood to wood. Tek screws are especially helpful when you are fastening in volume. Naturally, the self-drilling nature of Tek screws makes the work go much faster.
If you’re considering Tek screws for an upcoming job, here’s a look at what they are, how to use them, as well as the different types of Tek screws you can find.
What Are Tek Screws?
Tek screws are incredibly common due to their self-drilling or self-tapping nature. Whether you’re a service contractor or a do-it-yourself enthusiast, time is precious — and Tek screws help you save time.
Each Tek screw features a carving piece on its tip, which is what makes self-drilling possible. This means you don’t need to create a pilot hole before the fastener, and it also means your work moves forward efficiently.
Plus, Tek screws are versatile. While they are often used in the electrical industry, you can apply them to almost any project where a Tek screw’s self-drilling ability will be helpful.
The Ins and Outs of Using Tek Screws
The best way to use a Tek screw is with an electric screwdriver or drill. You can choose to create a pilot hole, which will ensure your Tek screw goes in straight. Just make sure your pilot hole is slightly smaller than the Tek screw, or else the screw’s grooves won’t be able to catch.
Many choose not to drill pilot holes, though, as one of the significant benefits of using Tek screws is that you don’t need to. Still, drive Tek screws as slowly as possible, which will help them drive straight even without a pilot hole. Tighten the screw, but make sure it’s not too tight. Tightening too much can lead to the head stripping, which will make it difficult to remove the Tek screw if necessary.
Different Types of Tek Screw
You’ll find a wide range of diverse types of Tek screws. Your application is unique, which is why you need to find a Tek screw that’s well-suited for the job. Some of your options will include:
- Low-Profile Tek Screws: Low-profile Tek screws are perfect when you need to limit how far the screw’s head protrudes from its hole.
- Hex Head Tek Screws: Hex heads always provide greater stability during installation. Find Tek screws with hex heads when you’re engaged in roofing and other applications that require self-drilling through aluminum or other metals.
- Pan Head Tek Screws: Pan head Tek screws are perfect for light-duty applications, and they diminish the need to create a pilot hole.
This is just a sampling of the many types of Tek screws available on the market. Once you understand the job at hand, you’ll be able to identify the perfect Tek screw for completing the task effectively and efficiently.
Get the Tek Screws You Need at All Points Fasteners
Are you wondering: What is the use of a Tek screw? When using Tek screws, you enjoy speed, efficiency and stability that isn’t always available with other types of screws. Now that you know how to use Tek screws, it’s time to find the perfect products.
At All Points Fasteners, we carry a massive selection of fastening solutions — Tek screws included. When you choose All Points as your fastener supplier, you can always count on competitive pricing, high-quality products and industry-leading customer service and support.
Find the Tek screws you need for your next job today. Contact us if you have any questions.
Types Of Screw Heads
When you picture a screw, you might imagine a Phillips head or a slotted screw. Those are two common screw drive types, but there are so many other types of screw drives in the world — and each offers its own unique value and benefits. Here’s a look at different types of screw drives for you to consider as you search for the perfect fasteners to complete your work quickly and effectively:
- Slotted: Slotted drive screws are perhaps the simplest you’ll find. These types of screws are driven using flat head screwdrivers or drills with flat head bits. The challenge with slotted screws — common though they might be — is that it can sometimes be difficult to stabilize the screw during installation. That is, it’s easy for your screwdriver or drill to slip when driving a slotted screw. For that reason, slotted screws are still commonly used — but they’re generally on the decline. This is especially true for contractors and others who need to drive many screws as quickly as possible.
- Phillips: What is the best type of screw head? Many would say the Phillips head screw, which is commonly used and a lot more stable than a slotted screw. Most anyone has a Phillips-head screwdriver sitting around they can use to drive Phillips screws, and the sizing of Phillips drill bits and screwdrivers is relatively simple and straightforward. You’ll come across #1, #2 and #3 Phillips heads, though #2 is the most common size.
- Phillips Tamper-Resistant: A Phillips tamper-resistant screw is just like a Phillips drive screw with one big exception. It includes a small pin in the center of the screw head that prevents — you guessed it — tampering. Phillips tamper-resistant screw heads are a little more obscure because you have to have the right tools to install and remove them. Also, tamper-resistant screws aren’t nearly as strong as regular Phillips head screws, and they are difficult to use in high-torque applications
- Square Recess: Square recess screw heads are becoming more and more popular for a good reason — tools used to drive them very rarely slip out of place. If you’re interested in working as quickly as possible, square recess screw heads might be your best bet. They come in two standard sizes: #2 and #3.
- Square Recess Tamper-Resistant: This is just like the tamper-resistant Phillips head screws in that they are similar to regular square recess screws head with one key addition — a small pin in the center that prevents tampering.
- Quadrex: Quadrex screw heads are a unique amalgamation of Phillips heads and square recess heads. They are relatively rare, though they do provide a great deal of stability, allowing those using them to work quickly.
- Pozidriv: It’s rare to find Pozidriv screw heads in the United States, as they are much more commonly used in Europe. These types of screw heads are a lot like Phillips heads, though they have four additional contact points that provide greater stabilization.
- Torx: Torx screw heads are also gaining in popularity. This is an entirely new design that’s often used in the construction and manufacturing of electronic products.
- Torx Plus: Torx plus screws are much like Torx screws, but their design creates a larger contact area between the screw head and the tool being used to drive it. This produces greater torque and greater ease in driving the screw.
- Torx Tamper-Resistant: This means you get a Torx-style screw that includes the small pin to prevent tampering.
- Torx Plus Tamper Resistant: With a Torx plus tamper-resistant, you get the greater contact area for greater torque, plus the small pin in the center of the head that prevents tampering.
- Tri-Wing: Tri-Wing screw types are somewhere between a slotted and Phillips head. They have three grooves that are slightly curved and come in #1, #2 and #3 sizes, though this type of screw head is exceedingly rare.
- Spanner: Spanner screws features two holes or two slots that are used to look into a screwdriver or drill bit for installation.
At All Points Fasteners, we offer a vast selection of screw heads with varying shapes, dimensions and specifications — all so you enjoy fast, easy access to the fasteners you need for the project at hand. We even specialize in helping our customers track down unusual and hard-to-find fasteners. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our selection, get in touch with our customer service team for assistance.
Browse our selection of different screw head shapes to find your perfect fastening solution today.
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:
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.
Self-Tapping Screws – Sharp Point or Drill Point
Since starting this fastener blog several years ago, one of the most common requests we hear is “I want self-tapping screws”. “I want self tappers”. We hear this more often than not. We have written several articles on what is the best terminology to use when ordering your screws to make sure you get the right parts and not have to go through the time and expense of returning them to your supplier.
Summer is here and the building season is booming so this would be a great time to go over this again. Even some employees at fastener supplier houses are confused as to the correct usage of ‘self-tapping screw’ Self-tapping is referring to the threads and NOT the point of the screw. For a more detailed description of fasteners that are often referred to as ‘self-tapping’, please click here to watch our informative video.
Most of the time, when we hear someone ask for a self tapping screw, they really are looking for a self-drilling screw. One that has a point sometimes described as looking like a shovel, but in fact, is actually a small drill bit. The confusion comes with so many different names describing the same screw. Some are brand names that have just been used for so long that they have become synonymous with the part. Some names have just been used incorrectly for so long, that you kinda have to give in an say ok. Like “dove” which is now commonly referred to as “dived”.
Here are the most commonly used terms for the screw that looks like this:
• Tek Screws
• Self-Drilling Screws
• Self-Tapping Screws
• Bit Tip Screws
Here is a really helpful Self-Drilling Screw Chart that can be used for submittals.
Please feel free to contact us with your questions regarding self-drilling screws, often called tek screws. If we don’t have the information you need, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction!
Zip Screws, Tek Screws – Why Do We Ask So Many Questions?
I work for All Points Fasteners, a distributor/importer of zip screws and tek screws.
On that note, I call contractors all day long. I leave a lot of messages, and send out a lot of emails. But, when I AM able to connect with a potential customer, it makes all of the leg work worth it. I’ve found that I can build a rapport with most contractors that I get contact. However, I do experience a high volume of “information” gathering, due to the type of work I do. But every now and then, I encounter someone who seems to believe that my phone call is a waste of their time from the very beginning of that phone call.
Therefore, I thought I’d address this issue, and I hope to shed some light on what it is I’m trying to accomplish with the first phone call.
What are we losing in NOT giving a qualified sales person, who has access to a quality product you use on a regular basis, the time of day?
Let’s explore this question.
Qualifying questions help me determine, quickly and efficiently, whether or not my call will either waste your time or greatly benefit you and your business.
- Do you have a need for the sheet metal screws or fasteners we distribute?
- How is your current supplier treating your needs?
- What are the risks for your company, in developing a relationship with a NEW supplier?
- What are the benefits?
- How can our product elevate your business?
- WILL it elevate or benefit your business?
- Are there any complications your company consistently deals with, with your current supplier’s product or mode of conduct?
- Will our product help you get over those “bumps”?
- Have you had bad experiences with purchasing outside of your current supplier, before?
- What would you need to know, in order to be comfortable with taking a step in a different direction?
I’ve realized that companies that are interested in how they can better their company and THEIR services offered, will always keep one ear open for opportunity. These are the people I try to connect with, on a daily basis.
Let me help us both determine how our company can link up with yours and make you stronger. We want to be a part of your company’s growth, and feel secure in knowing that we are constantly striving to anticipate your company’s need for not only quality zip screws, tek screws, and fasteners… but for good customer service, as well.