Fastener Types

Types of Fasteners

Fasteners play a critical role in the construction of all sorts of everyday objects. If you’ve done any DIY projects, you’ve likely used fasteners to help get the job done. At All Points Fasteners, we’re passionate about the role quality fasteners can play for handy homeowners and professionals alike. Let’s take a moment to define fasteners and overview some of the different types, as well as the various uses for them.

What Is a Fastener?

Let’s start by defining what a fastener is. The term fasteners encompasses a fairly broad category of tools, such as screws, nuts and bolts,  that share a common purpose: to hold objects together. Of course, things like glue can fulfill this function, but glue is not a type of fastener. Therefore, we need to add to our definition. Hardware fasteners mechanically hold objects together.

Typically, fasteners form a non-permanent joint. In other words, when you use a fastener to connect two components, you can remove it, and the separate pieces should come apart without suffering any damage. The same wouldn’t be the case with a welded joint, for instance. The one exception to this rule are rivets, which fall under the category of fasteners, but create permanent joints.

Though most fasteners form a non-permanent joint, this does not mean you only use fasteners when you want to be able to take something apart, and it doesn’t mean the joint is weak by any means. Fasteners can reliably hold together objects that can experience a great degree of stress.

Different Types of Fasteners

Mechanical fasteners come in many forms, including screws, nails, nuts, bolts, washers, anchors and rivets. Each of these different types of fasteners is a category unto itself, with many types to choose from. If you’ve ever been in a fastener aisle at a hardware store, you know how many different types of fasteners are out there. Let’s look at each of these common examples of fasteners and break them down a bit further.

1. Screws

For many people, when they think of fasteners, screws are the first thing to come to mind. Screw fasteners are one of the most versatile types of fasteners out there. Their threaded shafts give them durable holding power, and unlike a bolt, they don’t require anything to hold them in place. Typically, you use a drill to make a pilot hole in a material and then use a screwdriver to drive the screw in place. Screws come in a wide variety of types and sizes. Some of the most common types of screws include:

  • Wood screws
  • Deck screws
  • Drywall screws
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Machine screws
  • Masonry screws
  • MDF screws

2. Nails

Nails have been in use since ancient times, and they are still an everyday household item. You can easily spot the difference between a screw and a nail because a nail doesn’t have threading. While a nail doesn’t provide the same holding power a screw does, it has greater shear strength, making it the better choice for some applications. Many types of nails take their names from their applications, which can make it a snap to find the right variety of nail for a job. Some common kinds include:

  • Common nails
  • Box nails
  • Brad nails
  • Finishing nails
  • Drywall nails
  • Flooring nails
  • Framing nails
  • Roofing nails

3. Bolts, Nuts and Washers

Nuts and bolts are another common type of fastener. These two pieces work in tandem to hold components together. You insert the bolt through the two parts you want to join, then fasten it in place with a nut on the end. Some of the most common types of bolts you’ll use are:

  • Carriage bolts
  • Flange bolts
  • Plow bolts
  • Hex-head bolts
  • Square-head bolts
  • Allen bolts

Nuts and bolts are a common type of fastener

Some of the most popular types of nuts include:

  • Coupling nuts
  • Flange nuts
  • Hex nuts
  • Lock nuts
  • Slotted nuts
  • Square nuts
  • Wheel nuts

Nuts and bolts can function on their own, but sometimes, you’ll want to add a washer in between. A washer is a flat disc with an opening in the center. This little piece can distribute the fastener’s load more evenly across the surface of the material. Some types of washers are:

  • Beveled washers
  • Flat washers
  • Lock washers
  • Structural washers

4. Anchors

Anchors get their name because they serve a similar function to a boat’s anchor, which embeds itself in the seabed to keep a ship from moving. Generally, people use these fasteners to connect something to a material like drywall or concrete. They embed themselves in the material and hold the object you’re affixing in place. Some common types of anchors include:

  • Internally threaded anchors
  • Externally threaded anchors
  • Masonry screw and pin anchors
  • Screw anchors
  • Hollow wall anchors
  • Sleeve anchors
  • Drive anchors

5. Rivets

A rivet creates a permanent joint between two objects. They consist of a cylindrical shaft with a head on one end and a tail on the other. You use a unique tool to expand the tail, so the rivet stays in place. Rivets are remarkably durable, compared to other types of fasteners. Some common types of rivets include:

  • Blind rivets
  • Semi-tubular rivets
  • Solid rivets
  • Split rivets
  • Drive rivets

Different Uses for Fasteners

What are fasteners used for? That question is somewhat tricky to answer, because fasteners have nearly limitless applications. Homeowners are likely to use fasteners for many DIY projects and basic household tasks. Workers in various industries can use industrial fasteners for all sorts of projects. If you need to attach two components, a fastener is likely the way you’ll do so. Here are some examples of common fastener uses.

  • Vehicle assembly
  • Picture hanging
  • Building and construction
  • Furniture assembly
  • Cabinet installation
  • Electronics manufacturing

The list could go on and on. Look around your home or business, and you’ll see fasteners holding countless objects together.

Quality Fasteners From the Fastener Experts

At All Points Fasteners, we carry a diverse inventory of high-quality fasteners, including uncommon fasteners you may not find at your local hardware store. Our experts can give you the advice and guidance you need to find the right fastener for any job. Our company is American-owned and -operated, so you can expect a quick turnaround on your orders. We always go the extra mile to provide excellent customer service, so you can trust us to help you get the job done. Browse through our inventory online and use our live chat feature to ask any questions you have.

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