Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is a common material used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings. The screws used to secure this material are equally important, as they ensure the stability and longevity of the construction. This article will guide you through the best sheetrock and drywall screws to use for your projects.
- For 1/4 inch drywall, use 1 to 1 1/4 inch screws.
- For 1/2 inch drywall, use 1 1/4 to 1 5/8 inch screws.
- For 5/8 inch drywall, use 1 5/8 to 2 inch screws.
The screw should penetrate the wood or metal stud at least 5/8 inch. For double layered drywall, make sure the screw penetrates the second layer by at least 1/2 inch.
The gauge indicates the diameter of the screw. Common gauges for drywall range from #6 to #10. Lower gauge numbers indicate a thicker screw. Here are some common drywall screw gauges:
- #6 gauge – Used for standard drywall applications
- #7 gauge – Provides extra holding power for heavy duty applications
- #8 gauge – Used for ceilings or double layered drywall
There are two main types of threads for drywall screws:
- Coarse thread (Type W) – Best for fastening drywall to wood studs. The wide threads grip wood well.
- Fine thread (Type S) – Designed for metal studs. The sharp threads cut into metal.
Coarse threads are also commonly used with softer woods like pine or fir. Fine threads work better with hardwoods like oak.
The screw point impacts how easily it can penetrate drywall and studs:
- Sharp point – Easily pierces drywall without pre-drilling. Good general purpose option.
- Drill point – Allows self-drilling into metal studs up to 0.033 inch thick. Eliminates pre-drilling.
- Needle point – Makes driving screws into hardwood studs easier.
Common drywall screw head types include:
- Bugle head – Conical raised head allows countersinking. The standard for most drywall applications.
- Flat head – Creates a flush finish with drywall surface. Used for metal studs or thin drywall.
- Trim head – Low profile head used when installing trim over drywall.
Recommended Drywall Screws
Based on common drywall thicknesses, here are the best all-purpose drywall screws:
- 1/4 inch drywall – 1 inch, coarse thread, bugle head
- 1/2 inch drywall – 1 1/4 inch, coarse thread, bugle head
- 5/8 inch drywall – 1 5/8 inch, coarse thread, bugle head
For heavy duty needs or ceilings:
- 1/2 inch drywall – 1 1/4 inch, #7 or #8 gauge, coarse thread, bugle head
- 5/8 inch drywall – 1 5/8 inch, #8 gauge, coarse thread, bugle head
For metal studs up to 0.033 inch thick:
- 1/2 inch drywall – 1 1/4 inch, fine thread, drill point
- 5/8 inch drywall – 1 5/8 inch, fine thread, drill point
How Many Drywall Screws to Purchase
The number of drywall screws you need to purchase depends on the size of the drywall sheets you’re using, the spacing of your studs, and whether you’re installing the drywall on walls or ceilings.
For a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of drywall installed horizontally on a wall, you’ll need about 32 screws. This total is comprised of four screws on the five middle studs and six screws on each of the two sides. If you’re using a 4-by-12 sheet of drywall, you’ll need about 36 screws.
If you’re installing drywall on a ceiling, you’ll need more screws due to the additional stress on the drywall and screws. For a 4-by-8 sheet of drywall, you’ll need about 36 screws, and for a 4-by-12 sheet, you’ll need about 52 screws.
To calculate the total number of screws you need, you can use the following formula: divide the total square footage of the area you’re covering by 32 (for 4-by-8 sheets) or 48 (for 4-by-12 sheets) to get the number of full sheets required. Then, multiply the number of sheets by the number of screws needed per sheet (32 for 4-by-8 sheets on walls, 36 for 4-by-12 sheets on walls, 36 for 4-by-8 sheets on ceilings, or 52 for 4-by-12 sheets on ceilings).
For example, if you’re installing drywall in a room with 320 square feet of wall space using 4-by-8 sheets, you would divide 320 by 32 to get 10 sheets. Multiply 10 sheets by 32 screws per sheet to get 320 screws.
Remember to check your local building codes before starting your project, as they may have specific requirements for drywall screw spacing and quantity.
Also, keep in mind that these are general guidelines and the actual number of screws you need may vary depending on specific factors such as the use of drywall adhesive, which can reduce the number of screws needed].
What Kind of Drywall Screws to Use
The type of drywall screws you should use depends on the material you’re attaching the drywall to and the thickness of the drywall.
There are two common types of drywall screws: S-type and W-type. S-type screws, which have fine threads and sharp points, are good for attaching drywall onto metal. On the other hand, W-type screws, which are longer and thinner, are designed for installing drywall onto wood.
If you’re attaching drywall to softwood studs, you should use drywall screws with coarse threads. A finely threaded drywall screw should be used for attaching drywall to light metal studs.
For specific purposes, there are also specialty screws. For instance, when installing drywall onto heavy metal studs, a self-drilling drywall screw is recommended. Self-drilling screws eliminate the need to drill holes in advance.
The length of the screw you should use also depends on the thickness of the drywall. For a 1/4-inch drywall, use 1- to 1 1/4-inch drywall screws. For a 1/2-inch drywall, use 1 1/4-inch or 1 5/8-inch drywall screws. If the drywall is 5/8-inch thick, use 1 5/8-inch or 2-inch drywall screws.
Drywall screws are mainly used for fastening full or partial sheets of drywall to either wood or metal studs. They are also good for repairing nail pops, which are circular bumps you will see on your walls. These come from short, wide-head nails used to nail the drywall. Because of the nail-pop problem, drywall nails have been replaced by drywall screws as the standard method of attaching drywall to studs.
Drywall screws can also be used for woodworking projects. When working with softwood, the coarse thread of drywall screws is perfect. Drywall screws are also used by cabinet installers for installing and actually making cabinets.
Remember to match the kind of screw to the kind of job at hand. For example, drywall screws are used for fastening sheets of drywall to wood or metal frames, while wood screws are used for fastening pieces of wood.
Lastly, always check your local building codes before starting your project, as they may have specific requirements for drywall screw types and usage.
Can I use drywall screws to attach drywall to plasterboard?
It seems that drywall screws can be used to attach drywall to plasterboard, but there are some important considerations:
- Drywall screws should only be used for lightweight items or non-structural purposes when attaching drywall to plasterboard. The plasterboard may not provide enough strength and stability for heavy objects.
- Use fine threaded drywall screws since plasterboard has a more delicate surface compared to wood or metal studs. Coarse threaded screws are more likely to crack the plasterboard.
- The screws need to be short enough to not puncture through the plasterboard into the void behind. 1-1/4″ or shorter screws are recommended.
- Pre-drill pilot holes in the plasterboard before inserting the drywall screws. This prevents cracking or crumbling of the plasterboard surface.
- Drive the screws carefully and do not overtighten. The plasterboard has less holding strength than other materials like wood, so take care not to strip the screw holes.
- Consider using specialty plasterboard screws instead of regular drywall screws. Plasterboard screws have finer threads and sharper points to better grip the plaster without cracking it.
- Use an adhesive like construction adhesive between the drywall and plasterboard for a more secure bond, in addition to screws.
So in summary, drywall screws can work for attaching drywall to plasterboard for lightweight items, but care needs to be taken and limitations exist compared to screwing into wood or metal studs. Using the proper technique and materials will lead to the best results.