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My wife and I have built bunk beds and the final step is attaching the ladder. The ladder is constructed out of 2x4s will be attached to the 2x6 rails of the bed. (The ladder rails are oriented "perpendicular" to the rail, i.e., the shorter dimension of the 2x4 is contacting the rail like so).

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I was researching what size lag bolts to purchase when I came across this article suggesting that structural/construction screws could be used instead. Obviously this is appealing to me as I can avoid having to countersink the lag bolt.

Can I safely use "structural screws" instead of lag bolts, and if so, what size is best?

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Yes. 8 high-quality gold or stainless (not black oxide) construction screws (two at each connection point) with at least 1-1/2" penetration will hold with more than enough strength for even a typical adult.

In this case, use 3" or 3-1/2". Torx are much nicer to work with than Phillips. Pre-drill 3/4 of the screw's length and the diameter of the screw shank.

  • What size screw would you recommend? #8? #10? – scorpdaddy May 3 '16 at 19:32
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    A 3" screw is likely a #10 or #12. #8 is too light. Correction: 3" are sometimes #8. For that reason I'd lean toward the 3-1/2" #10. – isherwood May 3 '16 at 19:39

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