I've been reframing a closet door and have two studs that I've driven screws into and am now fastening sheets of drywall. I did this pretty haphazardly as a result of not having the correct tools initially and then gradually acquiring them.

So my question is, in the context of this picture, and for something that's non-load bearing, how should one think about woods' integrity in relation to having a bunch of screws driven through it often in close proximity and from multiple directions?

On a spectrum, from: A) I need to be very careful going forward and ensure I know where I'm driving screws, otherwise this piece of wood could spontaneously snap, or even that this piece of lumber has been irreparabley damaged and I should start anew

Or B) It's fine just sloppy but not a big dealenter image description here

  • 2
    B, but not even sloppy, as it all gets covered up. 2” drywall screws will work for drywall, but 1-1/4” is typical for 1/2” drywall (1-5/8 for 5/8 drywall). OTOH, 2” screws are short for holding framing together. Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


Wood is usually quite forgiving to us idiots.

As long as you keep away from the edges and ends a piece of 2x4 can take more nails and screws than most peoples arms can drive in(nail guns are cheating).

Trying to drive 1/2 dia screws within a half inch of an edge might take a chunk of wood out of the 2x4 and you will end having to move the screw.

Pilot holes are very good near the ends and edges to prevent splitting.

  • 7
    New softwood is very forgiving. Hardwood and old framing is a different story. With my old framing, it's usually more an issue of snapping the screws or strip the heads than damaging the wood. A pilot hole and a dab of glycerin can make all the difference.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 17:29
  • 5
    "a piece of 2x4 can take more nails and screws than most peoples arms ..." ─ Yeowch! ─ "... can drive in" ─ oh, I guess I should have read the whole sentence.
    – kaya3
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 20:59
  • @kaya3 It probably works both ways, but I am glad my brain worked enough to add in the extra words.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 21:11
  • One useful trick to avoid splitting wood with nails: give a slight hammer hit on the nail tip to slightly flatten it. It will crush a little the wood fibers instead of separating them
    – Kaddath
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 9:39

Two basic rules

1- Always use screws made for the job/material, wood for wood

2- more importantly always pre-drill to avoid splitting the wood

How to choose pre-drill size. It has to have the diameter of the screw body (the inner part). Just choose a drill and holding it parallel (overlapping) to the screw so to see how it fits.

  • 6
    Nobody predrills for drywall screws. Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 22:25
  • 2
    Buy self-tapping screws instead of pilot holes and save a huge amount of time Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 22:26
  • #2 is very important when making furniture, one split and the piece could be ruin. Do not think any framing get pre-drill/pilot holes unless it is for special large connection screws/bolts.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 10:28
  • I pre-drilled when doing framing in my house, but mainly because it was a lot harder to drive the screw in otherwise.
    – kaya3
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 21:01
  • @whatsisname self-drilling, not self-tapping. All woodscrews are self-tapping, as they cut their own thread. And most self-drilling screws aren't very good at extracting the removed material from deep in the hole
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 8:25

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