What is the Best Deck Screw to Use

Various Deck Screws

When you're building a new deck or patio, it's easy to get stuck trying to figure out the best materials to use. Cedar, pressurized or composite decking? Piers or posts? But one of the most confusing areas is selecting what deck screw or fastener will provide the best strength and durability for your project. After all, the fasteners are what holds the entire project together and can be a common point of failure if the proper one is not selected. Let's take a look at the different deck screws available so you can make the right choice when it's time to put the whole thing together.

The Basics

First, let's look at the basics of deck screws. You want to typically use a screw instead of a nail because it doesn't work loose nearly as easily as a nail does. By holding your deck material in place, a screw can help reduce warping, which a nail will simply pull out. If you're using PVC decking, you should stick to a stainless steel screw, but be aware that much like those shiny stainless steel appliances, they're a bit more expensive and will create a grid of shiny dots on your deck unless you get the painted variety or are willing to paint them after installation. Wood decking tends to do better with a coated screw, which is less expensive. Many non-stainless deck screws now come with a lifetime warranty, giving you peace of mind for the future.

Don't go the cheap route and use drywall screws. Not only are they intended for indoor use, they also will stain your deck as they corrode, leaving unsightly marks on your relaxation zone. Though it may be tempting to pick up plain #2 Phillips drive screws, they can be very aggravating when you need to drive or remove them, often stripping out. Square- or torx-driven screws drive faster and easier and don't strip out when you need them most. If you're using pressure-treated wood for your frame, plan on either pre-drilling your holes or using an impact driver to get the best results.

Scorpion Deck Screws

Scorpion is known for its proprietary draw tight shank. This feature pulls lumber together tightly, giving you a tougher, longer-lasting deck. The self-cutting point helps avoid splits while self-drilling and each box has a free square bit, saving you from the additional cost of buying one and facilitating easier driving.

Scorpion Products also offers a top-of-the-line high-quality stainless steel deck screw that come with pre-painted heads. Their coated screws use their proprietary Nanoguard finish that works well with treated lumber.

Grabber Deck Screws

Grabber brand deck screws are another exceptional brand. If you're determined to use a Phillips head, Grabber Gard coated screws are a good option to consider and are one of the more popular fasteners for decking and other jobs involving pressure treated wood. The company's stainless screws remain a very popular option if you're using composite decking and feature a proprietary lock-in square drive head and a unique reverse spiral pattern that keeps the boards in your deck locked solidly into place. The stainless steel screws also include the bit needed to drive them in each box.

Grip–Rite Galvanized Nails

If you are absolutely determined to use nails in your project, Grip-Rite has galvanized common fastener in 1 pound, 5 pound, and bulk boxes. Their 8 penny nails work well for fastening decking while their 16 penny nails work well for deck framing. Keep in mind that your deck will see irregular shifting loads and that nails are much more likely to work loose than screws are, so you'll need to budget in some time to re-drive the nails when they come loose and may even need to consider repairing nail holes when they become too loose by adding an appropriately-sized piece of wooden dowel and exterior-grade wood glue.

GRK Products

Though this is more in the area of trim carpentry, today's fanciful decks require trim nails that will hold the line. GRK has fasteners and trim screws in multiple colors, with its Climatek Coated products approved for use with treated wood.

If you're still unsure on which fastener is best for your job, or need more information on available fasteners and their applications, download our Fasteners Product Guide below or contact us for more information.

Fasteners Product Guide

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.