I am not asking for opinions or what is better than the other. I am looking for literature with data that shows the specifications and guidance on how to compare them with each other on a performance level (not cost).

I hope I am using the appropriate nomenclatures here. Correct me if I am wrong please.

  1. Framing Nail: 16d 3.5 inches long
  2. Paslode Framing Nails: 3.5 inches long 0.131 diameter shank (PN: 097987)
  3. GRK R4 Multi-Purpose Screw #9 3.5 inches long
  4. GRK R4 Multi-Purpose Screw #10 3.5 inches long

BTW, I own a Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer.

I will be doing some framing that will be inspected by the AHJ. I would like to use GRK R4 Multi-purpose screws for the framing of the 2 by X lumber. Let's assume all fasteners are acceptable by the AHJ.

How do I compare the specifications of framing fasteners?

I presume that Item 1. Framing Nail is the standard.

  • 2
    Are you in an earthquake zone? If so, nails are often preferred, because they can pull out a little bit and push back in without issue during an earthquake, whereas a screw would snap.
    – Nate S.
    Oct 28, 2020 at 21:14
  • What "performance" do you care about? Construction screws appeared specifically as an alternative to framing nails in terms of shear strength, while providing the usability features of screws. Your fastener packaging or supplier should be able to provide you with the exact shear strength ratings. What else do you want to know? Oct 28, 2020 at 22:05
  • 1
    I posted the question to learn something I did not know. Teach me something. Oct 28, 2020 at 22:27
  • 1
    How would you explain this to a 16 year old junior apprentice? First, I would show the apprentices what a 16d framing nail looks like and what it is used for. Then provide the specifications like the framing nail is 3.5" x 0.135", shear is X. Then GRK R4 is A, B, C, etc. and comparable product. It is good to use nails for "THIS" and GRK R4 for "THAT". Oct 28, 2020 at 22:29
  • 1
    The "structural screw" is sold as a replacement for nails, so one would presume they're equivalent. Have you looked at the mfgr specs for the GRK screws to see if they specify shear strength and pull-out resistance?
    – FreeMan
    Oct 6, 2021 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


There are various reports and documents available online that should cover this. See the ICC-ES ESR-3201 report from this year on GRK screws or the same document, but embedded in ICC-ES's website.

The tables from the ICC-ES documents are too large and comprehensive for me to transcribe here, but as official documents from code governance bodies, those links should be reliable... here is a screenshot of one of the first tables, which includes shear strength for various screws, including the R4 model you mention in your question:

Carbon Steel Fastener Specifications table from ICC-ES' 2021 ESR-3201 report

And from GRK's own webpage on compliance:

Having an ICC-ES ESR report means fasteners have ICC approval. GRK fasteners are ICC code approved for exterior use in ACQ pressure treated lumber and have the strength to meet all your general construction needs. A building inspector will be able to use an ESR report to code approve your construction projects.

  • ESR 3201: R4 multipurpose screw, FIN/Trim screw and Kameleon screw are code approved for the IBC and IRC for structural strength and corrosion resistance. They are the most popular screws for installing decks.

Given that the shear strength of a 16d common nail is 120 to 150 lbf (depending on the material it is nailed into), it looks like GRK's R4 screws—in any length—are roughly 3x as strong in terms of shear strength, assuming I'm interpreting the table correctly.

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