It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re cruising the aisles of your local home depot. You need some screws, simple as that. BANG! A poorly supervised 8-year old has discovered his calling as a rock drummer with two screwdrivers and paint can. As they say, one guy’s creative expression is another guy’s migraine. You grab a packet of pan head screws and get out before an unforseen ‘falling toolbox’ accident crushes a certain child’s musical dreams (and arm), which you may or may not be held responsible for. You stand in the car park and proudly hold up your shiny new pack of stainless steel screws. You needed to buy treated pine screws, but you don’t know that yet.
What you have here is a brief guide of screw types so your not ‘that guy’ buying the wrong gear.
Stainless Steel – The classic of carbon resistance. Tough as they come, great for outdoors and high traffic areas. The anti-corrosive properties it will retain resistance through installation of stainless steel ring and the wear and tear of prolonged use. That said, he does have an Achilles heel – air. Without air the coat of Chromium Oxide cannot be maintained. This guy will not help you build a deck, or any other airtight area for that matter. This guy is rugged, but not so handsome.
Brass – The bad boy of décor. Sharing high corrosion resistance with steel, brass is the softer brother. Keep him inside as the appearance-enhancing fastener. The warm brassy hue will complement your fine mahogany sideboard, or whatever wooden thing you’re fixing. Being the most aesthetic of the screw crew you might as well browse the range of solid stainless steel wire rope and skip the home depot altogether. Buying online isn’t just for ladies clothes anymore, guys.
Bronze – Third in the Olympics and third on this list. In particular, silicon bronze screws from Australia, because lets face it, Mother Nature is as unpredictable as a boy left alone in a tool shop. Use this guy on structures exposed to weather. Unlike his slightly stronger brother stainless steel, he does not require air exposure to retain corrosion resistance. Build your deck or boat with silicon bronze and watch him get better with age, his rustic charm puts exposed copper to shame.
Treated – Because sometimes, paper beats scissors. With all the weird and wonderful chemicals found in wood furniture production these days, buy treated pine screws or prepare to see the treated wood eventually eat your fastenings alive. The treated pine screw is the science geek of the bunch, but don’t underestimate the power of a screw that can fight chemical corrosion to preserve its own life.
The gist is, when choosing screws, think of the what, where and how of the structure. Also, now you know your stuff you needn’t go to home depot on your day off and ask the guy at the counter. Not that you’d be able to hear him over the incessant banging from the paint aisle.