I am installing the following items:

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and I am using regular 1 1/4" drywall screws to secure them.

Is there any concern in regards to shear strength or rot that would make me regret using drywall screws?

I am fully aware of the adage "Drywall screws are for drywall; it's in their name." but it seems like they are more than sufficient for my application. Especially with the single-gang box because the head will lay flatter making sheetrock easier.

  • 2
    I've used drywall screws in this case in the past and I've seen it done by regularly. I'm not aware of any code requirements that says to use or not use a particular type of screw for electrical boxes.
    – jwh20
    Mar 2, 2020 at 15:29
  • Drywall/plasterboard screws are meant for screwing into wood - its only really the head that is special, and then only slightly.
    – MikeB
    Mar 3, 2020 at 11:49
  • The head will not lay flatter than an 8d nail, for example. That bracket already creates somewhat of a bulge, and drywall screws really stand up unless you drive them tight enough to deform the bracket into a countersink. I would not use them on the face of a stud or joist.
    – isherwood
    Mar 3, 2020 at 14:59

6 Answers 6


I used drywall screws in the past for electrical boxes and stopped using them when I found that they snap off too easy when using a powered driver to insert the screws. They can also snap if there is any reason that the electrical box can flex. This is all due to the hard tempered nature of drywall screws.

Now I use #8 or #10 pan head stainless steel screws. If possible, when using the #10 size, I will even drill a pilot hole for the screw.

  • 1
    Them being brittle and the way the threads and points are so sharp have made me stop using sheetrock screws for general purpose.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 2, 2020 at 16:57
  • 1
    I have not had a problem with them snapping off, they are not ther for much more than a pin if you compare to the new construction that allows the 2 metal spikes to be used and I do know contractors that only use those, I add the screws.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 2, 2020 at 18:38
  • Using the torque limiter on the powerdriver does help to not snap screws...
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 2, 2020 at 18:47
  • I've seen them rust so bad that they'll soon snap anyway. For old work boxes "the head will lay flatter", and that's the only time I don't use deck screws that will last longer than I'll be alive.
    – Mazura
    Mar 2, 2020 at 23:13
  • My power drivers for screws are all AC powered without any adjustable torque control. The biggest pain in twisted off drywall screws when mounting an electrical box is that there are limited holes in the box for mounting and if one screw is already in place it leaves the hole with the twisted off screw useless.
    – Michael Karas
    Mar 3, 2020 at 12:57

I use drywall screws all the time & have never been called on it during an inspection (would not use them for a ceiling fan box ). Some of those boxes only require the metal tabs be set with a hammer. I usually add a screw on those also.

  • 1
    The telescoping ceiling box will only be used for overhead lights between floor joists in my basement but good note about the ceiling fan boxes.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Mar 2, 2020 at 15:36
  • 1
    I've never had a problem with them either+
    – JACK
    Mar 2, 2020 at 17:18

Drywall screws are black phosphorus. They have absolutely no rust protection and are code required to be completely encapsulated in mud or wood to prevent future rust. In California they are fully against code to use for anything other then drywall. Gold screws are fine. A small step up in price, but with some rust protection.


I use sheet rock screws for metal studs fine thread. They never shear off. Also I've never ever seen a child or adult rip a blue box out of a wall lol. Also also those metal tabs are not for permanent mounting of any box. They must be either nailed or screwed fast to studs. I would laugh any contractor off the job if they were only using the temp setting tabs on box for mounting.


If your electric boxes need water/rust preventive screws... I think you have a much bigger problem than black drywall screw fastenersđź‘Ťjust my 2 cents ;)

  • 3
    Humidity is a common problem.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Mar 3, 2020 at 12:57

This is the way I see it, I am a flooring installer by trade and I always use premium products that I know I can rely on. I follow the manufacturer's installation procedure and I charge the customer for that. I charge more than most installers out there but you get what you pay for if your lucky. With how much an electrician will charge a customer you are nothing more than a hack if you use inferior supplies and charge a professional wage. That gang box will not last very long if it's in a young boys room who always runs into their room and slaps the switch. That's because the screws are cheap that's why you get so many for such a low price. If I ever had a electrician who used one sheetrock screw in my house, he wouldn't have time to use a second screw.

  • 1
    it would be more useful if you said what screws you would use. Mar 3, 2020 at 4:44
  • How dose this answer the question? And how will you be able to tell the difference between standard zinc coated Phillips deck screws? The 2 styles of boxes in the op question will last just as long with a sheetrock screw as a deck screw, I have over 40 years experience to back this on electrical.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 3, 2020 at 14:47

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