I am trying to hang a light fixture on the ceiling of my kitchen. What i have noticed from other light fixtures that I have hung is that it takes a special type of screw (or at least it seems like it) that has a special cut on the top of the screw. What type of screw is this?

  • When you say the "top" of the screw are you referring to the head (where the screwdriver goes) or the end of the screw (the part that goes into the hole)?
    – Comintern
    Apr 7, 2014 at 0:07
  • Can you provide a picture?
    – Steven
    Apr 7, 2014 at 0:25
  • The part that goes into the hole. @Comintern
    – diaz994
    Apr 7, 2014 at 0:27
  • I will try. @Steven
    – diaz994
    Apr 7, 2014 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


If you are replacing an existing fixture, the answer is likely no. What it sounds like you are describing is a thread cutting screw:

thread cutting screws


more thread cutting screws

These tend to be included with mounting hardware to make it easier to screw them into unthreaded holes in plastic or fiberglass electrical boxes. Unless you are using a new electrical box without threaded holes for the fixture strap (or the attachment points on the strap are not threaded) there is no reason to use them.

  • Yes these are the ones that I have seen. It is a new electrical box. What are these called? What do I ask for in home depot? @Comintern
    – diaz994
    Apr 7, 2014 at 4:27
  • They're called "thread cutting screws" - any hardware store should know what you're asking for. If they don't stock them, don't sweat it. All they do is make the screws go in easier. I use them if I have them, if not I just apply more torque to put non-cutting ones in. :-)
    – Comintern
    Apr 7, 2014 at 4:35
  • 2
    Another term used to describe this type of screw is as a "self tapping screw". The term tapping refers to the common tool called a "tap" which is normally used to cut threads inside a hole.
    – Michael Karas
    Apr 7, 2014 at 5:15

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