Choosing the wrong-sized screw can drastically affect your home improvement projects.
You will need to pay attention to your drywall screw sizes to ensure the project goes as smoothly as possible.
Drywall Screw Sizes in a Nutshell
The length of a drywall screw depends on your drywall’s thickness.
How to Choose the Right Drywall Screw Size
Drywall screw sizes vary in length and diameter to effectively pierce through drywall without weighing it down. The most common screw lengths are 1-1/4, 1-3/8, and 1-5/8 inches.
If you have thicker drywall, you’ll want a longer screw that you can screw through the material and anchor on the other side. Drywall screw sizes also vary in diameter. The most common diameters are 6 (0.1380-inch) and 8 (0.1640-inch).
The thickness of the screw determines its strength. When you’re buying drywall screws, the packaging will list the length first and the diameter second, in this format: 1-¼” x 6”.
You can use the following measurements to determine the appropriate length of drywall screw for your project:
- 1-¼ inch screws for ¼ inch drywall
- 1-⅜ inch screws for ½-inch drywall
- 1-⅝ inch screws for ⅝ inch drywall
Why Do Drywall Screw Sizes Matter?
Your drywall screw size matters because you want to select the appropriate length for your drywall. A screw that is too short will not be able to anchor into the wall correctly, and a screw that is too long can damage the interior of your walls.
Furthermore, you want to choose the correct diameter for the best support (6- and 8-inch screws will work for most home projects).
Why Use Drywall Screws?
Historically, drywallers used nails to fasten drywall to wood, but over time these nails pop out, causing unseemly bumps in your walls. Drywall pop led to the development of drywall screws.
These steel screws are more efficient, last longer, and don’t create lumps in your plaster. While screws in general work better than nails for drywall, drywall screws work better than wood screws because they use deeper threads.
Drywall screws are less likely to come loose than wood screws. Wood screws are also more expensive. Most importantly, drywall screws are more durable than wood screws. You will get better value and efficiency from these screws.
The Different Kinds of Drywall Screws
Yes! As we’ve discussed, there are different types of drywall screws for wood and metal.
- S-Type: For attaching drywall to metal
- W-Type: For attaching drywall to wood
Your home project will probably require W-Type drywall screws. If you ever need to attach drywall to metal, an S-Type screw is your go-to. These screws are sized in the same way, so review your drywall’s thickness to select the correct screw length.
Are Longer Screws Better?
Buying the longest screws seems like a safer option. The screw should be too long than too short, right?
Unfortunately, this is incorrect. A long screw will pass through thin drywall and go deep into the wooden support structure of the walls.
If your screws go too deep into the wood, they’ll eventually succumb to popping. At this point, you’ll have run into the problem of ugly pops on your wall.
Always follow the appropriate screw length for your drywalls’ thickness. You’ll only want the screws to go ⅝ -¾ inches into the wood. If you follow expert guidelines, you won’t have any issues.
The most common problem that builders working with drywall screws face is popping, but other problems can arise from screwing too deep or puncturing the drywall. Because of this, the size of your screws is of the utmost importance.
Things to Consider
Remember, you can only fasten drywall screws into your walls with a screw gun or drill.
- Make sure your drill battery is charged
- Attach the appropriate drill bit for the screws (drywall screws typically require a #2 drill bit)
- Make sure your drill settings are set for drywall screws, if applicable
- Make sure you are working with the drive setting, rather than the removal
Once you’ve got your drill and your screws, you’re ready to go!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still looking for answers on what type of drywall screws to choose or other things you should be looking for, take a look at some frequently asked questions from other drywall screw users.
How deep should drywall screws go into the studs?
Screws should go roughly ¾ of an inch into the stud. Luckily, this shouldn’t be a concern once you’ve selected the appropriate drywall screw size for your drywall’s thickness.
Should drywall screws be flush with the wall?
No. Drywall screws should have a slight recess, resembling a dimple. It is advisable to initially drill the screw flush to the wall and then go a little deeper, creating the dimple.
This two-step process is a safe way to avoid overshooting the appropriate depth. The primary concern in fastening the screws is to ensure you do not tear the paper on the drywall. Torn drywall can get messy and is difficult to repair.
Do drywall screws need a hole pre-drilled?
No. Pre-drilling a hole could risk tearing the drywall. You want to be careful not to punch through the drywall. Make sure you’re aligning your screw with the stud. There are tools and methods to line screws up with the stud quickly.
How many drywall screws will I need?
Typically, you will need 28-36 screws per 4×8 foot drywall panel. Each panel of that size will require 28 screws to fasten to the wall and 36 screws to fasten to the ceiling.
Is it possible to use too many drywall screws?
Yes! While drilling in a few extra screws to ensure the job is done right seems alright on paper, it can be disastrous on drywall. It will cause the drywall to pop.
Extra screws may complete the task in the short term but will create more work later. Drywall pop doesn’t appear until months after you’ve completed your task. Repairing drywall pop requires additional work on the drywall.
You may also need to plaster and repaint the wall. Selecting the appropriate drywall screw and using the correct number can save you time on repairs.
What causes drywall pop?
First and foremost, the temperature changes cause the drywall to pop. While you can’t prevent temperature and humidity changes, you can prevent the popping. You can avoid pops by doing the following:
Use drywall screws instead of nails
Use the appropriate amount of drywall screws
Don’t screw the drywall screws in too deep
Use the proper drywall screw length
Can I use drywall screws for hanging frames?
Technically, no. Drywall screws’ durability and price make them an enticing option, but most drywallers would recommend a different type of screw to hang frames and other items.
Drywall screws’ primary purpose is fastening drywall, and if you hang heavy things off of the screws, it can damage the wall and picture frame. However, you could hang your lighter frames with a drywall screw and anchor.
A drywall screw can typically hold about 10 pounds. The drywall screw can hold between 20-40 pounds if you find a stud or an anchor. It isn’t impossible, but you should consider other options first.
What is the difference between coarse and fine drywall screws?
The difference between coarse and fine drywall screws is simple. You should use coarse-thread drywall screws for fastening drywall to wood. You should use fine-thread drywall screws for attaching drywall to metal. For a home project, you’ll likely want a coarse thread screw.
Should I screw in the ceiling or walls first?
Always fasten the ceiling drywall before moving onto the walls. This will help with measurements and keeping the pieces of drywall aligned.
What if I’ve followed the directions and my screws are still popping out?
If you’ve followed all of the directions and your screws are still popping out, you may not have fastened the drywall properly. Unfortunately, you cannot resolve this issue by simply drilling the drywall screws back in. You’ll need to find a new location on the drywall or fill in the holes.
Is it possible to reuse screw holes?
Yes! Additional tools are necessary to complete the job, though. You’ll need plastic anchors, toggle bolts, or molly bolts to reuse the screw holes.
How far apart should drywall screws be?
Drywall screws should be roughly 16 inches apart per most house codes. This will prevent the drywall from breaking, but keep everything secure.
What do I do after drilling the screws in?
The next step is mudding the drywall. Apply a compound to cover the dimples, similar to plastering. You should be able to cover the dimples in one coat.
Do Drywall Screw Sizes Really Matter?
The length and diameter of your screws are an essential part of any drywall project. The size can affect both the effectiveness and aesthetic result of drywalling.
You want your walls to look and function properly, so always use the appropriate drywall screw length for your project.