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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? May 20, 2011 at 13:05

1 Answer 1

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Go for 3/4" plus the thickness of the drywall for wood studs. 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. Those numbers may be less with metal studs, best to check with the metal stud manufacturer.

You can go for longer screws if you have some difficult joists to hit, but they cost more and take more time and effort to install. The risk with longer are that you might hit a cable or pipe running through the center of the stud, but there really should be steel safety plates at those locations. If you're going into some kind of sound attenuation channel, you want to avoid screwing through the channel and into the stud behind it, which would be another use case for shorter screws.

With wood studs, you use the course thread screws. And for metal studs, you want the fine thread screws. Trim head screws are only for installing wood trim itself and not drywall (you want a large flat screw head for drywall to spread the load over the paper face and be easy to cover with drywall mud).

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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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 2:16
  • 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, 2011 at 11:12
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    BMitch, could you add a bit of detail on when to use fine vs. coarse thread screws? For example, this video from Home Depot says that coarse thread screws are for wood studs, and fine thread screws are for metal studs. Jan 2, 2022 at 1:11

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