Will Regular Drywall Screws Work With Metal Studs?

Steel studs have many advantages over wooden ones. They are lighter, easier to store and assemble and are ready-cut to length. They are used most often in the construction of office and apartment buildings. While there are special screws designed to bind drywall to metal studs, you can use ordinary drywall screws just as easily. There are some things you should remember, though.

Construction worker at site
credit: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Support the Stud

Some metal studs are three-sided, so it is possible that the pressure of the screw may cause the face you are screwing against to be pushed back, making it difficult for the screw to bite. To avoid this, you may have to insert a small temporary block or hold the stud against the drywall as you are screwing. This is usually only a problem for the first screw. Once that one is in, it will hold the drywall firmly against the stud for subsequent screws.

Use Enough Force

The key to getting the screw to bite is in the amount of force you use. If you push hard enough, the screw will sink quickly, If you don't, however, it will just spin in place, possibly creating a hole so big that it won't hold the drywall even if it does eventually sink. Be careful when pushing hard on the screw, though. Building codes for drywall screws require them to be sunk into the drywall without breaking the paper.

The best way to ensure this result is to use a screw gun with an adjustable setting. When set correctly, the gun will disengage when the proper depth is reached, so you can push as hard as you want without damaging the drywall. If you have to use a regular drill, practice first with a scrap piece of drywall.

Drywall Screws for Metal Studs

If you opt for screws designed specifically for metal studs, you will find that they are available with a finer thread than regular drywall screws and come with either a very sharp point or a fluted end, much like the end of a drill. The fluted screws bite faster and don't require as much force. This is probably the best choice for someone with limited experience with a drill.