The Differences Between a Deck Screw & a Construction Screw

Homes require near constant maintenance. Today your faucet leaks, tomorrow a window breaks, next week an air filter needs replacing, last month a door hinge detached from the frame. Maintaining the home requires a cursory knowledge of myriad things, including building materials. Deck screws and construction screws provide numerous uses in home repair, maintenance and building projects. These screws can appear nearly identical – in some cases, only the smallest difference exists between one and the other.

Hardware store display
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Inquire at a hardware store for local deck and construction screw availability.

The Basics

Deck screws and construction screws both fall under the general heading of wood screws. In addition to their identical classification, deck and construction screws exhibit the same basic design – prominent, notched threads take up about half of the screw's length, while the other half consists of a solid metal bar that ends in the screw head. Most construction and decks screws also possess a shoulder, or textured area between the thread and bar that helps anchor the screw in wood.

Size

As a general rule, the major difference between construction screws and deck screws lies in their size. Construction screws are much longer than deck screws. For instance, deck screws manufactured by Maxx Fast Professional Hardware run 40 to 80 millimeters in length, or approximately 1.6 to 3.2 inches. Maxx Fast construction screws, on the other hand, run 80 to 400 millimeters in length, or approximately 3.2 to 12.6 inches. The larger size of construction screws makes them well-suited for more applications.

Material

Deck screws contain different compositional material than that used for construction screws. Manufacturers commonly use stainless steel in the creation of deck screws. Construction screws, made from stainless steel or bronze, usually have a coating of some kind, such as zinc. Coatings on screws may provide extra strength and rust resistance, though the effectiveness of a coating ultimately depends upon the manufacturer. Always ask a hardware store employee about the reputation of a brand before purchasing a screw.

Terminology

Deck screws and construction screws differ significantly from one another when it comes to terminology. A deck screw is a very specific type of screw; ask for a deck screw at a hardware store, and you always get the same basic type of screw. While a construction screw is also a specific type of screw, the term holds generic meaning and can refer to any number of screws, from lag to deck, used for construction projects. The definition of construction screw ultimately comes down to the manufacturer or retailer you use, so be careful you get what you need.


Will Gish

Will Gish slipped into itinerancy and writing in 2005. His work can be found on various websites. He is the primary entertainment writer for "College Gentleman" magazine and contributes content to various other music and film websites. Gish has a Bachelor of Arts in art history from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.