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Drywall Screws

Overview and Buyer's Guide


Drywall screws are the new duct tape: their usage extends far beyond their original intent. But you may be surprised to hear that you can actually use drywall screws for hanging drywall.

Let's find out basic drywall screw lengths, threads, and brands that can help you install drywall on your next home remodeling project.

Why Drywall Screws and Not Nails?

Drywall Screws
If you have an older house and find that some of the walls have circular bumps, then you have what are called nail-pops. Back in the "old days," drywall (also known as wallboard) was nailed into place with short, wide-head nails.

Drywall screws evolved as the standard method of attaching drywall to studs precisely because of that problem: the screws would never be able to pop out.

However, with any solution comes new problems. Drywall installers were no longer able to pound fasteners into place with a hammer. Thankfully, the drywall screw come into vogue when cordless drills and drywall screwguns came along.

Drywall Screwgun vs. Cordless Drill?

Bosch Drywall Screwgun
Copyright Bosch
As a DIY'er or casual drywall installer, you will not need a drywall screwgun. You can use a regular cordless drill.

A drywall screwgun is a specialty tool good for little else than hanging drywall. It should be noted that screwguns do a fantastic job of driving drywall screws. They are more compact, lighter, and have lower torque than cordless drills.

If your cordless drill does not have adjustable speed and/or a clutch, then you'll need to purchase one with these features. The adjustable speed allows for lower torque; the clutch prevents you from stripping the screwhead.

Shop Direct - Bosch Drywall Screwgun

Is the 1 5/8" the Universal, All-Purpose Drywall Screw

1 5/8" Coarse Drywall Screw
Copyright Grip-Rite
A drywall screw for all needs? Maybe it's impossible, but I've found the closest thing to a "universal" drywall screw.

It's the coarse thread 1 5/8" drywall screw. It fixes up to 1/2" wallboard securely onto studs, but without too much extra screw to drive it. It's cheap and can be bought in big tubs.

Shop Direct - 1 5/8" Coarse Drywall Screw

Drywall Screw Thread Types

Black Fine Drywall Screw
Coarse or fine thread drywall screws? You'll find that coarse thread drywall screws work best for most applications; the wide threads practically suck the drywall against the studs. One downside of the coarse threaded screws are the metal burrs than embed in your fingers like thorns.

But fine thread drywall screws have their place, too, especially when installing on metal studs.

Shop Direct - Fine Thread Drywall Screws

Drywall Screw Size

Grip-Rite Drywall Screws
Common lengths of drywall screws are:
  • 1 1/8"
  • 1 5/8"
  • 2"
  • 4"
Common diameters of drywall screws are:
  • #6 - 0.1380 inch
  • #8 - 0.1640 inch

Learn a Few Basics About Drywall Screws

What does "bugle head" mean when applied to drywall screws?

Bugle head refers to the cone-like shape of the screw head. This shape helps the screw stay in place, without tearing all the way through the outer paper layer.

Some drywall screws say "sharp point." Do I need this?

Yes, most drywall screws have this now. It makes it easier to stab the screw into the drywall paper and get the screw started.

How many drywall screws in a pound?

Depends on the type of screw, but about 200.

What type of drill-driver bit should I use?

Generally a #2 Phillips.

Why are drywall screws black?

Black drywall screws have a phosphate coating to resist corrosion.
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