We’ve all been there, in the middle of a DIY home improvement project and unsure of what type of fastener is needed to get the job done. Having to go to your local hardware store and seeing hundreds of those little bins hosting an array of different fasteners can send you running. Don’t be afraid of that aisle anymore because with just a few helpful tips you will know what all is appropriate for your home improvement project.
Nails are easily installed especially if you are using a nail gun and they are countersunk into trim. Nails are relatively inexpensive and you can work them loose if you needed. Nails work very well for small, basic construction of things such as building a box out of softwood. When using nails for outdoor applications, make sure to use stainless or galvanized. Finish nails are best when attaching trim and molding because they have a smaller head that is driven below the surface then being able to be filled with wood filler.
Brad nails are used in nail guns and come bundled in clips rather than loose. They come in a variety of sizes and you will notice they are labeled with the # sign. That sign represents the thickness, or gauge of the nail. The lower the number, the thicker the nail.
Screws are threaded fasteners that hold two pieces of material together. They are driven into your material by rotation and the threads of the screw grip and hold the material together. Screws will give your project a secure hold; they come in a large variety of styles, and are easily removed. The head of a screw stops the screw making it hard to hide. It can rip and tear some materials. The heads of screws can be easily stripped if you don’t know what you are doing.
When it comes to outdoor projects, deck screws are a great option because they are specially coated to resist corrosion and also come in a large variety of sizes. They are a lot less expensive too than stainless steel screws and are not as prone to head stripping like its stainless counterpart. For heavier duty construction projects such as building a tree house or swing set use what are called lag screws instead.
Bolts are extremely secure and you are able to use them for high load bearing projects. Their sizes range from small to very large and they are also easily removed. Bolts require pre-drilling holes and the use of specific tools to tighten them into place.
Classic Wall Anchor
A wall anchor is a fastener that is tapped into place through a pilot hole, then a screw is driven through it that causes the anchor to expand and grip the drywall with fins that expand on the back of the wall making it truly an anchor holding your object in its place.
A wall driller is driven into the wall with a bit, rather than inserting it into a pilot hole. You can drive a screw through it or you can place a hanger over the head of the fastener.
Similar to the classic wall anchor, a toggle bolt is inserted into a pilot hold. It has a spring inside that makes the fattener pop open once it reaches the cavity behind the wall creating a hook-effect.