Screws are among the most common and basic types of fasteners for a wide variety of tasks. They come in different sizes and are constructed from different materials to make them suitable for holding together everything from tiny computer components to massive industrial machinery. Compared to other fasteners, such as nails, screws have several distinct advantages.
Screws provide a mechanical advantage. Driving in a screw takes less force expended over a greater period of time than driving a nail into the same material. For builders using hand tools, this can make a construction project far easier when screws are involved. With power tools, screws require less force and place less strain on the tool's motor.
Screws are very strong. Whereas nails may come loose once the materials they connect begin to expand and shrink over time, screws resist this problem and continue to create a strong bond. Because screws are stronger, a construction project can use fewer screws and place them farther apart, thereby reducing the cost of the project and speeding up the process.
Resistance to Rust
The strong, tight bond of screws also makes them resistant to rust by preventing moisture and contaminants from coming into contact with the metal of the screw's shaft. Even if the head of a screw begins to rust, the shaft will remain intact and continue to hold. This is another reason that screws are a better long-term solution than nails or staples.
Screws of different sizes and with varying thread patterns are specifically designed for use on wood, drywall, sheet metal and concrete, among other materials. Using the proper screw type enhances the other advantages like long-term strength.
Screws also feature many different types of heads, from the conventional Phillips-head and slot-head screws to rounded, pan-head, Torx-head and countersunk designs. This variety of screws makes them suitable for use with different types of tools.
Screws are easier to remove than other fastener types. While nails or staples may require a special tool to pry them loose, screws back out of their slots with the same tool that drove them in. Screws can also be re-used since they seldom bend during removal, and they can even be reinserted into the same holes without sacrificing strength.
Dennis Hartman is a freelance writer living in California. His work covers a wide variety of topics and has been published nationally in print as well as online. Hartman holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo.