That lovely house you live in that is a source of pride and joy, for you can only remain so if you properly take care of it and maintain it, fix what needs fixing, and mend broken parts.
Today the issue might be a shattered window; the next might be a broken kitchen cabinet, all these calls for repairs and maintenance.
You need lots of materials and tools like hammers, wrenches, timbers, and deck screws for all these repairs and maintenance. Yes, deck screws. These screws, like most screws, are unique because they are durable and effective.
So, in this article, you will be learning a lot about deck screws, its benefits, deck screws shear strength, and how much force it can hold.
Deck Screw Description
Deck screws are purpose-designed screws that are not so different from other construction screws and hence are easily confused with them.
However, they have a few distinctive features like their prominent notched threading that runs almost halfway through the length of the screw and a bar that terminates in a head made of heavy metal used to fix the screw securely on the material it is fastened to.
They are made of stainless steel, sometimes coated with other metals like zinc to protect them from rust or corrosion and impact more strength to the screw.
The sizes of a deck screw vary and can range from 1.6 to 3.2 inches in length; others are longer, though.
Benefits of Using Deck Screw
Deck screws are very useful in construction works and have these advantages over other fasteners like nails and bolts:
- They have a good mechanical advantage in the sense that, unlike nails, which need a lot of force to be hammered into a material, they do not require a lot of force or time to drive these screws into materials.
- Materials fastened with deck screw produce a clean finish, unlike nails or nuts and bolts.
- They also produce a tight and secure fastening better than other fasteners.
- They can be easily adjusted and removed if there is a need to, unlike other fasteners like staples which require special tools for them to come loose. With deck screw, the same tool you drive it into a material, the same tool you use to get it out.
- They are very strong and do not come off when the materials are fastened to begins to shrink or expand as in the case with nails.
- They are resistant to rust because they are mostly galvanized with non-corrosive metal. Secondly, because of the tight bond with the materials, no way moisture that causes rot can penetrate.
- Deck screws can hardly bend like nails and can be used repeatedly without losing their strength.
The Not So Good Points with A Deck Screw
With all the advantages of using a deck screw, few snags can be encountered with their use, and they include:
- Because of how big the ‘head’ of deck screws, they are easily visible, unlike nails, which can easily ‘hide away’ in the materials they are fastened to.
- Deck screws are not designed to be used in soft materials like some light plywood that are thin. The screw can destroy them.
- Because of how big the head of deck screws are, they can get caught in clothes, rip them, and even hurt people. Hence, they can pose a safety hazard, except they are countersunk to prevent this. There are, however, some deck screws that have bugle heads that do not have this problem.
- After repeated use, deck screws can become stripped, in which case the slot that the screwdriver is slotted in becomes too big that the screwdriver becomes unfit to drive the screw in or out of material effectively.
What Is the Shear Strength of a Deck Screw?
Shear strength is a value that shows the amount of force that a material can take from all sides without giving out or breaking. Shear strength is not the same as the strength of a material because the strength of a fastener is determined by how much weight or force it can take in a given direction.
Strength is concerned with the ability of an object to resist mechanical force without yielding. So, a material can be very strong but not have a very high shear strength.
For instance, a nail with a strength of 75 pounds can have more shear strength than a deck screw of about 150 pounds.
Deck screws do not have a very high shear strength when you compare them with other fasteners like a nail which has more elasticity, and so when they are Hammered from the side, they do not break; rather, they bend, unlike deck screws.
Forces that act on the sides of a deck screw will cause the screw to snap. To put this comparison subtly, we can say: deck screw has more grip strength than nails, while nails have more shear strength than the deck screw.
If you remember that deck screw is purpose-designed not for shear strength but its grip strength, you will understand why its shear strength is relatively low because it is designed to carry a heavy load and nothing else.
How Much Force Can a Deck Screw Hold?
Different deck screws can hold a different amount of force without snapping. On average, a deck screw can hold about 200 pounds without yielding, and the factors that will determine how much force a given deck screw can hold include:
- The length of the deck screw: the longer a deck screw is, the more weight it can hold; this is because it can penetrate deeper into the material it is fastened to. Shorter ones will not go so deep into the material it is fastening, which means it cannot securely and tightly hold the material. Strength is not the only determinant of the length of a screw to use. The width of the material to which it is to be fastened is also considered because too long a screw will leave a part of the threading outside the material, which can pose a safety concern.
- The thread type: deck screws have two types of threading, and they are:
- The coarse thread: this type of threading has large spaces between each thread of the Deck screw. Most coarse threaded deck screws have very sharp edges that can quickly cut through thick materials, making them easier to use. They are also used mostly for soft materials because they give more grip to this material and hence helps to secure them tightly.
- Fine thread: this is the type of deck screw whose threading is very close to each other. They are used for joining hard surfaces like two metals. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to screw them into a material, unlike the coarse thread, but they are effective in fastening odd angles. The strength of a deck screw is greatly increased if the right thread of a deck screw is used for a job.
- Screw quality: the quality of a deck screw is determined by the material it is made of. A deck screw made of stronger material can carry more weight and will not come loose under pressure. Quality can also be determined by the thickness of the deck screw, meaning that a thick deck screw made of very strong material will carry more load than otherwise.
- The technique used in inserting the deck screw: for some construction using a deck screw, a pilot hole might have to be drilled to make the insertion a lot easier. This technique is used mostly for hard materials, while for softer materials, you don’t need to drill that hole. The strength of your deck screw will be increased if you use the right insertion technique for the given material.
You can use more deck screws for your construction if you expect your work to carry a lot of force.
What Screws Have the Best Shear Strength?
Structural screws have a relatively good amount of shear strength because they are made from specially hardened steel that gives them shear strength, tensile strength, and torque and has sharp threading.
They can bear a weight of about 240 to about 400 pounds and are purpose-specific, and the strength of this screw can be increased by galvanizing them or treating them with heat.
Deck screws are used mainly for fastening decking boards. They are strong and durable and, unlike nails, have high mechanical strength, can hold a force of about 200 pounds, and hardly rust.
These screw’s weight holding ability increases with length, quality, the technique of insertion, amongst others. While they are stronger than nails, they have less shear strength than nails because they are not as flexible.
So, when next you need to fix that furniture or metal with a screw that is strong enough to bear heavyweight, then the deck screw is a great option for you.
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Deck Screws Shear Strength – What is The Shear Strength of a Deck Screw