What Is the Difference Between Drywall Screws and Deck Screws?

If you’re a DIY’er, you know that there are many different types of screws out there. It can be hard to keep track of all the different uses for each type of screw. In this blog post, we’re going to focus on two specific types of screws: drywall screws and deck screws. 

Read on to learn about the difference between these two types of screws to ensure you’re using the right screw for your next home improvement project.

What Are Drywall Screws?

Drywall screws are designed to fasten drywalls into metal or wooden frames. They are generally light (not as light as nails) and have deep threads, so the screws stay in place and hold the drywall properly to the frame. 

There are different types of drywall screws: drywall screws with coarse thread, fine thread, collated, uncollated, bugle, wafer head, phosphate, or zinc. Each and every one of these variations has its own characteristics and applications, and each can hold to a certain weight

Some are made to be used outside and are rust-resistant. To know more about this topic, check out this article

What Are Deck Screws?

Deck screws, as the name suggests, are specifically designed for decks. These screws are threaded fasteners with a head, tip, and shank. The head of the deck screw has a space for a special kind, usually a Philips head bit. 

These screws are used for building decks and places where screws that can hold pressure and weight are required. They are all corrosion-resistant and are available in different materials, such as copper, stainless steel, etc. The deck screws have deep threading and are self-drilling screws, which is ideal for wooden planks as it has a great hold over the wood.

Drywall Screws Vs Deck Screws:

Before diving into details between the drywall screws and deck screws. Here is a comparison table for you to easily see the main differences between the two types of screws.

Screw TypeThreadCostDurabilityMaterialHeadsInstallation
Drywall ScrewCoarse and Thin ThreadsLess ExpensiveGood for anchoring into a materialBrittle and Hardened SteelBugle HeadSelf-drilling, easy to install
Deck ScrewsCoarse ThreadExpensiveGood to resist weather and corrosionCoated CopperPhilips HeadSelf-drilling, easy to install

Pros and Cons of Drywall Screws:

Drywall screws have many advantages over other screws if you use them specifically for drywalls. They are easy to handle, so you can remove them quickly from your drywall and work further if you make a mistake. They are faster to install and can even be hammered. 

Drywall screws have good holding power and a great grip that secures the drywall well with the frames and studs. They are less risky, so they won’t damage your drywall so easily.

However, drywall screws are not the most durable screws available out there. They can easily break if you pull or twist them too tightly. If you break the screw, getting them out from the drywall is a hassle as they do not come out easily. 

Moreover, these screws also take a lot of time to tighten unless you are using an automatic driver to screw them in. Nonetheless, if you are working on drywalls, they are better than most but just slightly expensive.

Pros and Cons of Deck Screws:

Deck screws are used to prepare decks which means they are more durable than the former ones. They are designed to stay outside on the deck and hold it in any weather, force, or pressure. Compared to Drywall screws, they rarely break off under high pressures and can be easily fastened. Deck screws are less expensive, though they are somewhat water-resistant. 

You can also invest in stainless steel deck screws that are corrosion-resistant and great for various applications. You can find them in different colors, so they can even be hidden on different surfaces. They are perfect for areas with low ventilation or high moisture content and are available in all lengths.

However, deck screws also have a few disadvantages. As they are coarse and can split or crack the wall, these variations cannot be used on the drywall surface. These screws can also sometimes get loose, so if installed on top of the flooring, their heads might pop up slightly and cause injuries. Moreover, as smoothness is the top priority for drywall installation, you cannot use deck screws for your renovation program. If you must use these, you will have to apply several layers of drywall mud, increasing the cost and sanding time, especially if you’re unsure how much mud you need.

Key Differences between Deck Screws and Drywall Screws:

Here are a few of the key differences between the deck screws and drywall screws;

  • Thread: When it comes to drywall surface, the thread of a screw is important as it’ll confirm whether or not your sheets will stay secured with its frame. Otherwise, the panels will fall and leave their studs. Drywall screws have thin and coarse thread, which can be used with metal and wooden frames. However, deck screws have coarse threads, which can only be used if the drywall’s frame is wooden. If used with metal frames, it will become free over time and will not hold the drywall properly.
  • Cost: Cost is a major factor when deciding what type of screws you should use. Drywall screws are inexpensive when compared with deck screws. Drywall screws usually cost around $10 to $100 based on length, diameter, brand, and quality. The cost of deck screws can fall between $10 to $400, based on their material, brand, and other elements.
  • Durability: Deck screws have excellent durability when considering outdoor settings, and the weather is the main factor! As they feature a lot of coatings, these screws provide excellent resistance to corrosion and weather changes. Alternatively, drywall screws are an excellent pick for inside-the-home applications and anchoring into the material.
  • Material: Most screws are made of steel; however, this is unsuitable for harsh weather conditions and to stop corrosion. So, deck screws are made of coated copper to resist corrosion and steel. In comparison, drywall screws are made with brittle and hardened steel.
  • Heads: Drywall screws come with bugle heads, as they’ll be filled with drywall mud to offer a smoother finish. The bugle head sits below the drywall surface, and then the drywall mud is filled on top once the drywall is connected to the stud. Deck screws usually have Philips head with a large surface area to handle higher load capacity. They do not sink into the material and can also split the wood.
  • Installation: As long as you use an automatic screwdriver, installing both of these screws is easy. Alternatively, due to their threads’ distance, it can be a bit difficult and time-consuming to install these screws manually! So, getting an automatic screwdriver for a faster application is better.

When to Use Drywall Screw & When to Avoid?

Drywall screws are best in places where you need to replace nail pops. Nails are sometimes used to secure ceilings and come loose over time which causes them to pop out of the stud and cause cracks or splits in the drywall. Replacing these with the drywall screws can help minimize this issue. They are perfect for attaching your drywall to wooden or metal frames. 

That being said, you can only use the drywall screws for indoor applications. If they are used outside, they will not be able to tolerate the difference in weather and might even corrode, leave marks or come loose. So, avoiding them in projects such as wood decking is better.

When to Use Deck Screw & When to Avoid?

Deck screws can be used for building framing, installing rails, and for fastening boards on decks. These screws are designed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions and handle the weight that normal wood screws cannot. They are available in different materials and are water-resistant. If you want a project to have a long-lasting finish, then deck screws are the best. 

They do not stress the wood and are perfect for structures that have to bear heavy loads and traffic over time. However, if you have finer sheets that need to be screwed, then deck screwed are not a good option as they can crack or split the sheets.


Can I Use Deck Screws for Drywall?

Deck screws are slightly thicker than drywall screws but can be considered a stable solution. Although you can use these screws for drywall, it is not an ideal approach as these screws may lead to cracking or splitting.

What Kind of Screws Can I Use for Drywall?

If you have a metal drywall frame, then you should be using S-type screws that have a finer thread that is either 1-3/8 inch, 2 inches, or 1-5/8 inch in length. Alternatively, if you have a wooden drywall frame, you can use W-type screws with coarse thread of the same lengths to grip the wood properly.

Can I Use Drywall Screws for Decking?

No. Drywall screws should not be used outside as they do not hold up well. Moreover, these screws can even stain your new project because they are prone to corrosion and leave marks on the surface.

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