If you’re hanging drywall, don’t reach for a wood screw. Instead, you need a screw manufactured specifically for drywall.

This may have you wondering – what are drywall screws, and why are they important?

Drywall screws are made of steel and have deeper threads than regular screws. These deep threads help them attach to the drywall and the subsequent wooden stud or metal frame underneath. 

In addition, many drywall screws have a black phosphate coating that makes them rust-resistant

Here’s what else you should know.

What are Drywall Screws Used For?

Drywall screws are for attaching drywall to a wooden stud or piece of metal. There are two main types: S-type and W-type.

S-type screws are for securing drywall to metal. They have a pointed end which makes them go into hard metal surfaces much more easily than W-type screws. 

W-type fasteners are for attaching drywall to wooden studs. These screws are long and thin.

No matter the type of screw you use, you’ll need a power screwdriver, drill, or drywall screw gun to hang the drywall panels.

Drywall Screw Features

While you can put drywall screws into two major classifications, S-type and W-type, there are many variations of each. Here are drywall screw features and what each means.

Drywall Screw Thread

The thread is the raised circular texture you see on the drywall screw. Wooden drywall screws have a coarse thread – this means the grooves have more space between them. This coarse thread helps the screw securely grip the wood.

Metal drywall screws are self-threading and have a fine thread that works better for metal studs. This is in contrast to coarse threaded screws that rip the metal.

It’s essential, though, not to use metal drywall screws when attaching sheetrock to wood. Instead, you must use the correct type based on what you’ll be screwing into.

Drywall Screw Length

The most common length for drywall screws is  1¼ inch long. This length is ideal if you’re hanging half-inch drywall panels and attaching them to wooden studs.

If you’re attaching thicker drywall that’s ⅝, you can use 1 ⅝ long drywall fasteners.

If you’re attaching half-inch drywall to a metal frame, you need drywall screws at least one inch long.

You can also find drywall screws that come in bigger lengths, up to 2 ½ inches. These are typically used to secure very thick fire-rated drywall.

Drywall Screw Gauge 

The gauge of a drywall screw is its width. The standard gauge is #6 or #8. Number 6 drywall screws are 0.138 inches wide, and number 8 drywall screws are 0.164 inches wide.

The higher the gauge, the wider the screw will be.

Drywall Screw Head

Most drywall screws have a Phillips bugle head and require a # 2 Phillips head bit to install. However, it is possible to find square drive flat trim heads as well as star heads.

Types of Drywall Screw

There are three types of drywall screws:

  • Type W – These have a coarse thread and are for attaching drywall to wood.
  • Type S – These have a fine thread and sharp point, used for attaching drywall to metal.
  • Type G – These are coarse thread drywall screws and are for attaching drywall to drywall.

What Can I Use if I Don’t Have Drywall Screws?

It’s essential to use the correct drywall screws when hanging drywall. One alternative is a wood screw, but even if you have a wood screw of the proper threading and length, it may not securely attach the drywall.

You are far better off going to the home improvement store and purchasing drywall screws than trying to find an alternative option.

What are Recommended Drywall Screws?

The most common type of drywall screw is type-W – used for attaching gypsum drywall to wood studs. The standard size is 1¼  for half-inch thick drywall and 1⅝ for ⅝ inch thick drywall.

The standard size of type-S screws is 1 inch. The typical length for type-G screws varies considerably based on the thickness you’ll be screwing into.

If you’re in the market for drywall screws, here are some of the best brands:

Conclusion

The drywall screw you need will depend on what you’re attaching your sheetrock to and its thickness. 

For example, if you’re doing a basic home improvement project, attaching a piece of drywall to a wooden stud, you’ll need a 1 ¼ inch type-W drywall screw.