This question is also asked in reverse “Can I use Drywall screws in Wood?” These are two totally different questions and answers so let’s cover some things that will affect your decision. We’ll answer the second question at the bottom of this post.
The reality is we get this first question a lot; “I have an abundance of wood screws, do I reeeally need to buy a whole new batch of drywall-specific screws?” We’d be failing you as your trusted fastener experts if we said yes. Wood screws will not hold properly in drywall because the threads aren’t designed for drywall. Wood Screws are for wood. Drywall screws are for attaching drywall to metal or wood. The short answer is simple: they are not interchangeable.
Size and Shape
Drywall screws are specifically designed for attaching drywall to studs or framing which is why they have bugle heads and not flat heads. They have a much sharper point compared with wood screws, which make them easier to drive into the drywall without damaging the paper surface. They also self-pierce into the thin metal studs for much quicker installation time; they do this because drywall screws are hardened.
Wood screws are not hardened and do not have a self-piercing point, requiring pilot holes. On the other hand, wood screws have coarser (wider-spaced) threads. While this makes them ideal for attaching wood to other materials, they can easily damage the delicate paper surface of drywall, which can weaken the overall structure of the wall. But the important part to note is they are not designed for or intended for use in metal. Period. Full stop.
Drywall screws don’t come in as many diameters as wood screws but they come in many more length options. Standard diameters for drywall screws are #6, #7 (limited options), #8, and #10 (for lengths over 3”) in lengths from ¾ to 6”. Wood screws come in diameters from #0 (1/16”) to #24 (3/8”) but only in selected lengths depending on the diameter.
Drywall screws have a greater holding power when used to attach drywall to studs compared to wood screws. This is because the threads on drywall screws are designed to grip the drywall and the framing or studs more tightly, creating a stronger connection.
Additionally, fine thread drywall screws have a special twinfast thread, which allows them to penetrate the framing or studs more securely, compared with wood screws which will not penetrate framing or studs without predrilling; further they can disengage from metal, which can cause the drywall to sag and become loose over time. This can lead to unsightly cracks and structural damage to the wall. There are also coarse thread drywall screws – these threads are ideal for use in attaching drywall to wood. In a few sizes there is also available a high-low thread pattern drywall screw.
For wood screws, you need a pilot hole. For drywall screws you typically don’t (except when going into harder woods where you still require a pilot hole.)
Heads, Finishes, and Materials
Drywall screws are bugle heads and do not properly countersink in wood, whereas wood screws come flat (which properly countersink in wood), round, and oval heads for a finished appearance. Drywall screws are available in Phillips and also square drive in select sizes.
Wood screws come in a vast array of sizes, drives, and materials including steel, stainless, brass, and bronze. Wood screws also come in many finishes (colors). Drywall screws come black phosphate, zinc, and zinc/yellow. Some sizes are available in stainless steel but they are very costly.
Drywall screws are considerably less expensive than wood screws, which of course makes them a better choice for your budget. And if you manage to find wood screws that are lower cost up front, their potential to cause damage or fail over time can lead to costly repairs down the line. Using drywall screws from the start can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.
All in all, the smaller size, higher holding power, and cost make drywall screws your best bet for the best results when it comes to drywall. Luckily for you, we make shopping for any fastener quick and easy: Shop Here or call us at 800-432-8979 to request a quote.
Can I Use Drywall Screws in Wood?
(The question in reverse)
The second version of the question is “Can I use Wood screws in Drywall?” This question is a lot easier, and the reasons are covered in the above discussion. Coarse thread drywall screws work just fine in wood but remember, they are bugle heads and will not countersink properly. Have at it!
You are limited though, because the size range of wood screws is much, much larger. Do not ever use fine thread drywall screws in wood – they just don’t hold properly. Twinfast is a thread designed only for thin gauge metals.