Construction industries, HVAC companies, roofing contractors, gutter experts and even DIY enthusiasts need access to the right solutions — whether it be the right power tools or the best set of fasteners. But how do you know if sheet metal screws are your best bet compared to other types?
All Points Fasteners gives you a sheet metal screw definition, along with its different types and how to use them. We provide enough guidance to eliminate the guesswork when you’re deciding between sheet metal screws and what type matches your applications.
As suggested by its name, a sheet metal screw is often used for sheet metal applications. You can fasten metal pieces to other metal objects, or you can attach metal to another surface like plastic, aluminum, plywood, hard rubber or wood.
The fasteners are fully threaded to increase retention between materials. They have sharp tips and threads to help pierce solid metal surfaces and other sturdy resources.
Sheet metal screws are usually made of stainless steel, which aids in durability and long-term performance levels. This coating feature also helps prevent rust and corrosion from forming over time. You can even opt for zinc-plated fasteners or other coatings that are available, but stainless steel is the most common.
Sheet metal screws are categorized by three numbers that represent the screw’s diameter, length and thread count. The diameter, or size, is indicated with a number between zero and 24 to describe the shaft and head diameter. The length represents the measurement of the entire screw. Each fastener also has a pitch that indicates the number of threads per inch of a fastener’s length.
For example, a screw that reads 8-32 x 1 indicates it’s a size 8 with 32 threads per inch and is 1 inch long. Sheet metal screw sizes will vary depending on your project, material and whether you require a pre-drilled hole.
Like any hardware, fasteners are available in different materials, lengths and gauges. They also have different point, head and slot variations. The two main types of sheet metal screws are self-tapping and self-drilling, each having many features to choose from.
Self-tapping screws are ideal for jobs that have pre-drilled holes. The screws often have sharp tips to drive the screw through the metal. The technique of using a pilot hole helps prevent the splitting of the material, creating a more seamless finish.
Self-drilling sheet metal screws have a tip that’s more like a drill point to penetrate metal without the need for a pilot hole. It helps preserve the integrity of the material by avoiding denting. You can fit the screw to your drill bit and drive it into a surface.
Which type and features you need will depend on the task at hand. The point, head and slot type of sheet metal screws work for a variety of jobs in every industry.
Sheet metal screws are available in three point types.
Each sheet metal screw also has varying head types — flat, hex, hex washer, oval, pan and truss.
Based on the requirements of your job, do you need the screw to be flush against another surface? Or, will your project do well with a screw that sits above?
Depending on the tools you have available, you may be able to work with all three slots — cross, slotted and square.
Figure out which point, head and slot type best suit your projects, whether you work in the construction, gutter or roofing industries.
Uses of sheet metal screws can differ if you’re working with sheet metal one day and attaching metal to a plywood surface the next. Always start with the right protective gear for any hardware project. For example, eyewear will shield your eyes from metal shavings and other potential hazards.
Be careful not to over-tighten the screws because you can strip the heads or damage the material.
Once you have all the supplies you need, make sure to drill slowly with precision and caution. Operating too fast can split the sheet metal or cause other damage to the material. If you need further help understanding which is best for your jobs, rely on the professionals for advice.
All Points Fasteners is a fastener distributor that goes the extra mile to chase down what you need. We provide sheet metal screw solutions and even find uncommon fasteners when your projects rely on unique results. Our specialists will suggest what premium parts will work best for your applications to keep your operations running. We are American owned and operated, striving to build long-term relationships with your company.
Browse our inventory of sheet metal screws or reach out to our service team online for support. You can also call us at 800-483-6354. All Points offers a live chat to help you find the right part for the job, too.