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1 1/4", 1 5/8", 2 1/2", bugle head, trim head, drill point, sharp point, coarse thread, fine thread...

With so many different kinds of drywall screws available, how is anybody to know which type and size to use?

What are the uses for the various types/sizes of drywall screws?

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This depends on what you are doing. How thick is your drywall? What are you screwing into? –  Tatton Chantry May 20 '11 at 13:05
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Go for 3/4" plus the thickness of the drywall. So for standard half inch, the 1 1/4" should be fine. When we double up the drywall on a fireproof ceiling, we switch to the 2"+ screws for the second layer.

You can go for longer if you have some difficult joists to hit. There's no real downside to longer screws other than more work on the drill and more costs.

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Yes, when you're installing the wall and know what's there ... but 'more cost' can be dealing with fires/flooding after hitting a cable or pipe if you go with something too long if you weren't paying attention of where things were run. –  Joe May 22 '11 at 21:27
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Fair point, I had been going with the assumption that the electrical or plumbing installer would have put metal plates over any location where a hole is going through the stud, but you know what they say about assumptions. –  BMitch May 22 '11 at 21:55
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My neighbor, not 3 months after they had sealed up their new addition, went to hang a cross over their bed ... and managed to hit a line for the A/C (from what he described, I think it was refridgerant running to the outside unit). (I have no idea if it was running through the stud or not, I wasn't there when they tore open the wall to patch it). –  Joe May 23 '11 at 2:16
    
A project with a radiant heating system installed in the 2nd floor and concrete foundation gave me a new desire to always know what's behind where ever you're nailing. Still, if you hit a stud on-center, you should be ok if the utilities have this: garvinindustries.com/Images/SP-3_In-Use-Photo.jpg –  BMitch May 23 '11 at 11:00
    
I still don't understand exactly what happened ... as I understand it, the line was run vertically, not against the stud, and when he used his stud-finder, he found the line, not the stud (didn't check to either side to see if there were ones 16" over, as he didn't think about it), and managed to hit it dead on. (he might've been pre-drilling the holes) .... but yes, nail plates are your friend. –  Joe May 23 '11 at 11:12
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