Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm replacing water-damaged drywall on my ceiling and was considering using screws. Other than cost, is there any other reason I should use nails instead?

Or am I too paranoid that nails won't have enough holding power? I'd prefer the cheapest option that's still going to be effective.

share|improve this question
up vote 51 down vote accepted

There is absolutely no reason to use nails in this day and age. I urge you to use 1 5/8" drywall screws. There are several reasons. Screws have much better holding power, they are actually faster to install, and they can be slightly counter sunk during installation to make mudding a lot easier ( especially with a drywall screw gun or a decent drywall bit that can be used in any drill). Nails can loosen with age and "pop" out through the mud coat, cracking your paint. The difference in price is negligible, but the difference in performance is massive. Drywall finish is the end result of a room project, the surface you will see for a very long time, don't cheat yourself. Do it well, use screws and a good gun or bit. Good Luck.

share|improve this answer
Plus, if have adjoining neighbors, screws are a lot quieter. – oscilatingcretin Feb 3 '12 at 12:22
Agreed. I've had to replace far too many nails in drywall with screws. When I see nails in drywall, it makes me angry. – RQDQ Feb 9 '12 at 20:45

There are a few places where nails are backing out of the drywall in my house, particularly on the bathroom ceilings. I don't know the cause (movement? house is about 40 years old), or if "doing it correctly" would have mitigated against this in the first place. But it looks terrible; and I'm using screws as I repair areas to prevent this from occurring again.

share|improve this answer

Home Depot has them, as I'm sure does Lowe's, a Phillips head bit with a collar around it that'll stop the driving of the screw once you reach the surface of the drywall; they're used to counter sink the screw without breaking the paper (important).

We used them in the kitchen and I'll be using them this week on the bedrooms; I wanna say a pack of 5 is less then $10? Last time I bought them, they were DeWalt brand I think.

Great "tool" for making the job a little easier.

I agree with the posts above; screws have a better grip and the fastener is the first stage of the finished product; no one wants to see nail pops or the like - not saying you won't have screw pops over the first year; we have 1 or 2 in the kitchen and we did it 2 years ago; but I'd think you'd have far less than if you used nails.

share|improve this answer

Ring nails a.k.a. drywall nails should be used on the perimeter of the sheets and screws in the "field" of the sheet. The most important factor in fastening drywall is not tearing the paper which greatly reduces the holding power of the fastener and leads to sagging or cracking. The perimeter of the sheets have to be fastened so close to the edge that screws often tear the paper or completely cause the edge of the drywall to blow out. Use ring nails on the perimeter and space them about every 8" on ceilings and every 10" on walls. When nailing or screwing drywall, ALWAYS make sure that the fastener goes in at a right angle and not crooked: the head of a crooked fastener will tear the paper every time.

share|improve this answer
Careful driving of drywall screws at the edges has less chance of bursting out the drywall than hammering away on it to install ring shanked nails. I can say this with over 40 years of drywall installation experience where at one time nails were really the only choice. Do get the proper installation tool for the screws if you are continuing to have screw breakout near the edges. It can help a whole lot. – Michael Karas Oct 19 '12 at 10:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.