Deciding on a Nail, Bolt or Screw

Deciding on a Nail, Bolt or Screw Fasteners Inc DenverWhere do you go for help when deciding on a nail, bolt or screw? Fasteners, Inc. in Denver has an inventory of over 30,000 items and if we don’t have the perfect nail, bolt or screw for your projects, we’ll get it. When you are securing, attaching, and fastening it’s hard to know which fastener is the best. They come in different lengths and gauges or thicknesses. They also come in a variety of metals. There are a lot of considerations. For example, some metals are more corrosion-resistant and others are less expensive but may rust if exposed to moisture.

So, you have to think about the gauge, length, and type of metal you need for your specific application. Then there’s always the big factor of price. What you have to do is evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each kind of fastener and find out what applications each one is best suited for. We can discuss these considerations with you and guide you in making the right choice when deciding on a nail, bolt or screw.

Uses of Nails and Screws

Nails can be hammered by hand or shot out of a nail gun. They are great when you need basic construction and the components won’t be facing strong force or pressure.

There are some things to think about if you are trying to choose between nails or screws:

Nails are usually cheaper than screws

If you are working on a tight budget, nails are the best way to go, if both nails and screws would do the job equally well.

Nails are faster to use

A few pounds from a hammer can drive the nail but installing a screw takes more time.

Nails are more flexible than screws

If you hit a nail with a hammer at the wrong angle it will bend. Screws don’t have that flexibility. A screw will just snap in two if it has too much weight or pressure on it. On the other hand, you can pummel a bent nail to make it straight and reuse it again. Screws are much more brittle under pressure. When gravity and weight bear down on a nail, it has less strength than a screw to withstand that pressure. It will continue to bend until its holding power fails or it justs snap off if the force is great enough.

So, how do you decide between nails and screws on particular projects? It depends on the demands being put on the fastener. Here are some examples: If you need to hang heavy cabinetry on your kitchen wall or put up bookshelves, don’t use nails. The heavy cabinets and shelving will collapse as soon as the nail bends.

But nails are perfect if you are putting up 2 x 4 studs to make a wall. Most homes have nailed studs, sheetrock, and wood, as well as nailed flooring. Nails are usually used to attach molding around the edges of your floor, or tacking decorative molding around the frame of a doorway. Finishing nails, with the tiny heads are great for many decorative applications because they can be hammered flush or even below the surface of the wood. After that, a wood filler can be used to cover over the spot where the nail went in. This makes the nail almost invisible and gives it a nice finished look.

It’s a good idea if nails are being used to construct something, that you also use proper adhesives to help bind the joints together. This will give it some additional support and help take some of the pressure off the nails so they hold their strength and don’t bend.

Specialty Fasteners

Sometimes you might need a specialty fastener that combines the screw design with devices such as anchors or toggles that spread open inside the wall. The anchor acts similar to the nut on a bolt to hold it there in case the screw begins to fall out. The anchors and toggles on specialty screws keep the shaft of a screw from becoming dislodged and falling out of its hole.

Washers are flat discs that are used along with screws or bolts and give a stronger hold. It also provides a protective buffer so the screw or bolt doesn’t scratch up whatever it is surrounding it. A cup washer is a specially-shaped washer that works well for aesthetic or decorative reasons because many people think they are more attractive. For example, if you are using screws that are exposed and you want a clean and neat finished look, use cup washers.


Now let’s talk a little bit about screws. They tend to work best when the application will be experiencing forces of weight, pressure or gravity. Screws are shaped like a corkscrew to let them to bore into the wood and grip it tightly. This strength makes it hard for the wood or other material to wiggle or move and creates a sturdier placement.  If it was a nail, the extreme weight or any pulling or pushing would cause the material to slide off the nail.


But what about bolts? In what applications do bolts perform best? If the application requires strength, holding power, or the convenience of easy disassembly, then the best bet is to use nuts and bolts.

Taken apart or disassembled

Bolts are great for any project that will need to be easily taken apart or disassembled. For example, bunks beds use bolts.

Extreme holding strength

Bolts offer huge holding strength. Did you know that trucks and even massive structures like commercial buildings are sometimes held together with bolts? Bolts are held in place with nuts which can be tightened by using a pair of pliers or even a wrench. The wheels on vehicles are usually bolted into place and the lug-style nuts are tightened using a tire changing tool or a pneumatic wrench that is powered by compressed air. That gives it a tight fit that guarantees it won’t shake loose, even under the intense force of high road speeds or over rough terrain.

Another consideration when deciding on a nail, bolt or screw is the strength of the material the fastener is embedded in. Some material can become so weak or deteriorated that no fastener will work. We can help check the recommendations of manufacturers and local building codes when choosing the right gauge and type of metal. Fasteners, Inc. in Denver can help you make the right choice of fasteners, so your construction project can be successful.

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