Construction Fastener Types and Uses

Posted by Brett McCutcheon on Mar 17, 2015 8:05:31 AM

construction fastener screws Fasteners literally hold the world together. With so many unique applications, the variety of construction fastener types is mind-boggling. The construction fastener required for whatever your current project is will depend on the materials you are using and the function they must perform. For example, you will need a different type of construction fastener to connect two pieces of wood vs. connecting wood to steel.

The fasteners also need to meet all shear values and tensile strength requirements of your project, and all government quality standards. Other considerations when selecting construction fasteners include environmental and aesthetic requirements, budgetary constraints and application methods.

Basic Construction Fasteners

Nails and Screws:

The most basic construction fasteners are nails and screws. Typically, these are purchased in bulk quantities appropriate to the project, or in collated form held together with wire, plastic or paper. Collated fasteners are designed for use in pneumatic nailers, and are configured either in strips or in coils and held together at a specified angle and spacing. The fasteners you select must match the tool you plan to use (strip nailer vs. coil nailer), and the angle must be compatible as well.

Nails drive in fast, but don't have the holding power or adjustability of screws. Although this category might seem fairly basic, you might be surprised to learn about the wide variety available based upon usage occasion. Bob Villa has put together a simple nail guide that details 11 different types of common nails and how they are used in various construction projects.

Specialty Fasteners

Nail/Screw Combination Fasteners:

A performance-driven crossover construction fastener is a hybrid between a screw and a nail; combining the advantages of both. These collated fasteners, when applied by a pneumatic nailer, are twice as fast as collated screws and eight times faster than bulk screws.

Nail screw fasteners combine the speed of nail application with the dramatically increased holding power of screws. These fasteners are manufactured for use in most common nailers and are available in a wide variety of finishes, sizes, drives, thread types and specialized collations.

They are designed for use in subflooring, wood or composite decking, formwork, fencing, crating, railings, outdoor furniture and a wide range of other construction projects. They can be easily adjusted or removed if necessary, with minimal damage to the surface material.

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Decking Fasteners:

For decking, boards may be attached from the top with ordinary (and visible) nails or screws, but there is an entire category dedicated to special fasteners for decking. For instance, when building a composite deck and using fasteners that will have visible fastener heads, you will want fasteners that reduce what is referred to as “mushrooming” or “volcanoeing” – an unwanted mound of material that appears around the fastener heads when driven by a pneumatic nailer as the fastener displaces the composite material.

As an alternative, there is a category of invisible deck fasteners, which are often preferred since the fastener heads are hidden below the boards, and remain unseen.


Current construction techniques involve building most sub-floors, stairs and steps using nails, but nails can loosen, allowing the wood to squeak. Specially-designed sub-floor fasteners can virtually eliminate these squeaks due to their unique design.

Millwork or Furniture Production:

Some projects require fasteners that are perfectly sized for the application, such as the manufacturing of fine furniture or millwork. Screws must be set deeply and firmly in anything built with the intention of supporting weight. With appropriate use of miniature-sized fasteners, you can increase load capacity and create sturdier furniture. These fasteners are also available with decorative head styles.

Metal Roofing and Light Gauge Steel:

Light gauge steel construction and metal roofing projects also require unique fasteners. Fastening drywall, wood, gypsum or deck boards to steel using conventional fasteners can damage the surface material. Fasteners must minimize deflection when applied to the supported edge of the steel stud.

Heavy-Duty Fasteners:

When construction projects require heavy-duty materials for the ultimate in holding strength, jumbo nails, screws, or SCRAIL® should be used. There are also fasteners designed specifically for use in automated commercial fastening systems, helping to reduce labor costs for assembly operations.

Staples, Brads, Pins and T-Nails

Within any construction project, there may be a need for additional types of fasteners.

  • Standard Staples are available in fine, medium and heavy-duty varieties.
  • Specialty Staples are designed for paper, textiles and fabrics, and many other unique applicatiions.
  • Carton Closing Staples come in either stick or roll configurations.
  • Hog Rings either have a straight, round or curved crown.
  • Brads are available either straight or angled and come in a wide selection of sizes and lengths.
  • Pins and T-Nails are offered in various sizes for trim and finish carpentry, doors, windows, and cabinetry.

Head Types, Threads and Finishes

Head types include square, philips, star, pozidrive, and versadrive, which combines a #2 square and a #2 philips.

Threads can be fine or coarse, and numerous specialty thread types exist, such as the mushrooming eliminating BeckDeck® double thread we offer in our own fastener lineup.

Finish is important when corrosion resistance is a factor, so you'll want a fastener that has an excellent salt spray test rating (for example, our own FasCoat® finish). Electro-galvanized finishes and a spectrum of fastener color options are also available.

For more information:

Download the Construction Fastener eGuide


Topics: Construction Fasteners


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SCRAIL®, The Faster Fastener®, are incredibly versatile collated fasteners that can be driven with a pneumatic nailer at a rate twice as fast as collated screws and eight times faster than bulk screws. You can rely upon SCRAIL® fasteners to hold strong, without callbacks to fix a squeak or a nail pop.

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  • Use Scrail® almost anywhere ordinary screws are used
  • Save time and labor costs 
  • Twice as fast as collated screws, eight times faster than bulk screws
  • Easily adjusted, quickly removed
  • Dramatically increased holding power vs. nails
  • Making projects easier since 1998.

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