Quik EZ question - screws or nails?

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  #1  
Old 07-16-12, 06:48 AM
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Quik EZ question - screws or nails?

I'm planning to build a small shed with 2x6 or 2x8 foundation for the floor for what will be, at most, a 10x12. I'm only asking about fasteners. When fastening the foundation boards together should I use screws or nails? Is galvanized overkill? If screws, do I used woodscrews or "exterior" screws and is exterior a generic term or does that refer to a specific kind of flattop? Most importantly, how long? 3 1/2?

Same question for fastening the 2x4 wall frames.

And then, if I used nails, instead, what size? Common nails? 3 1/2 long?

Please be as specific as possible. Seems like a very basic question. Thank you.

Oh, and for the screws I'm assuming pilot holes are good practice.

Thanks.
 
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Old 07-16-12, 07:55 AM
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If you go to the big box stores they will usually have a style of screw called "torx". If your screw will penetrate ANY treated wood (usually called ACQ) then you need exterior screws that are rated for ACQ. The box will clearly say that. Exterior means you can use them outdoors exposed to weather. but it does not "always" mean rated for ACQ... it must specifically mentioned either "ACQ" or "treated wood". Any wood in contact with cement should be ACQ / treated wood.

If you are attaching a treated sill plate to concrete, you would likely want to use either a 1/4 x 2 3/4" tapcon cement screw (drill a pilot hole first w/their drill bit) or use a powder actuated nail that is rated for ACQ / treated wood.

For all other framing to framing connections you could use #9 x 3" torx screws. They usually are driven with a T25 bit. They only have one kind of head, it is a bugle shaped head, flat on top. You don't usually need to predrill holes for these, framing is soft enough that it won't split. If these screws will not be exposed to the elements, you can use construction grade screws (not exterior rated).

I know most DIY'ers prefer screws since they don't usually have framing guns, so I'm assuming that's the reason ur asking about screws.
 
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Old 07-16-12, 08:16 AM
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Nails. PT wood? You need nails suitable for ACQ.
 
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Old 07-17-12, 12:43 PM
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Thanks guys. I'll look for that size and rating.

I'm actually putting the foundation frame up on blocks enough to get it level, but I need to create the frame using 2x6 PT and for another project I'm using 2x8s PT. The foundation will be 8x7 for the 2x6s and 10x12 for the 2x8s, but the point is I'm asking what screws to use to create the floor foundation, not what screws to attach the floor foundation to the ground. I'll look for ACQ and Torx will be good to prevent stripping, but should I go 3" or 3 1/2" or something else? Galvanized necessary? #10 maybe?

Home Depot didn't actually have a true flat top woodscrew (silver finish, non exterior) except is small packs of less than a dozen. They have a gold finished screw. I guess I could use that for the 2x4 studs (non-exterior). #9 3" as you said. I'm not sure if it says "construction grade" in the description.
 
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Old 07-17-12, 01:38 PM
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The shiny gold torx are construction grade (interior use only) but please remember that you cannot use them in treated wood. The exterior torx are also kind of gold but they usually have a gold/tan ceramic coating. For assembling the frame you could certainly use 3 1/2" long screws if you like.

If you're looking to buy a new cordless tool (dunno if you already have a cordless drill, or what brand it is) but believe me, you will really like a cordless impact for driving screws. You can usually buy the bare tool (no batteries) pretty cheap, especially on ebay.

I'd advise you not to buy anything other than a t-25 torx drive screw. Don't buy any phillips head screws for construction.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 07:36 AM
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Okay, I got caught on the word "framing". By "framing" you also meant framing in the floor using the 2x6s and it's there that I could use the 3" long #9 torx screws rated for ACQ. Sorry, bad term understanding on my part.

Thanks for the help and the tips. I've got a 14.4 dewalt, but haven't been so happy with it. I don't think dewalt is what is used to be. Maybe impact is the way to go. I really like those newer compact drills that use the newer lithium batteries, but not sure if they have the power for this project.

Anyway, thank you for your help and advice. Really very helpful.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 07:57 AM
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If you have power available, corded is the way to go, IMO.

I don't own one but one of my next purchases is going to be an impact driver.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 08:52 AM
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14.4V is too small for any big jobs. An 18V kit will be able to drive probably 10x the amount of screws. And yes, the lithium batteries are pretty nice. I'm still using the old XRP's that weigh a ton by comparison.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 12:04 PM
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I really like those newer compact drills that use the newer lithium batteries, but not sure if they have the power for this project.
Corded will always perform better. That said, DeWalt has a 20V compact lithium ion drill/driver, and Milwaukee has one that uses 28V! I own a DeWalt 18V (yeah, the old batteries), and I really like it, and I've used one of these Milwaukee drills. I was surprised by how easy it was to handle for a full day.

Either of these should handle your framing work. Anything with less power might not.
 
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Old 07-19-12, 09:03 AM
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Thanks everyone for the drill suggestions. I know I should just look this up on my own, but what does it mean when it's an "impact" drill? As for dewalt, the last couple I've owned had terrible chucks that slip. I even replaced the chuck in my current dewalt. Even the old 12volt craftsman I used back in the 90's had a far better chuck. (To be fair, I usually use the cheaper round drill bits, not the hexagon ones.) Heard good thinks about Milwaukee, but never owned one.

I like the smaller snub nose drills, but not sure if they really pack the power. Would 18v in one of those small snub nose drills be enough to drive #9 3" screws into 2x PT or 2x4s for framing withOUT a pilot hole?
 
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Old 07-19-12, 10:08 AM
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Impacts have no chuck, just a quick-connect collar. An impact will spin like a drill until it encounters a certain amount of torque, at which point it starts to "click", these small clicks finish turning the screw until you let off the trigger. The result is almost no torque (twist) on your arm and wrist, resulting in a lot less fatigue. They are a little bit slower than a drill on high speed, but the trade off is usually worth it. Impacts usually are not for drilling holes, however. They are kind of like what mechanics use to put on lug nuts, if you've ever seen that done. Theirs are usually air powered.

And yes, any 18V will drive a screw without a pilot hole. You usually only need pilot holes in hard woods like oak, or for finish work that you definitely don't want to split. Framing (both SPF and ACQ) are usually soft enough to not split.
 
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Old 07-21-12, 06:24 AM
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xsleeper,

Thanks for all the help and your patience.
 
  #13  
Old 08-15-12, 07:21 AM
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For the regular framing if you're using screws I'd think that deck screws are fine, 3". The ones at lowes/HD should (mine do) say ok for all kinds of pressure treated wood. I generally do a 1/8" pilot hole because I do sometimes see splitting and I HATE wood splitting. I know most people do not care about pilot holes and probably don't need to (fairly sure most pros don't bother in most cases), and just drive them in with an impact screw driver (not technically necessary, but as mentioned they are fantastic!).

I like screws because their pull out strength is obviously very high (though shear probably isn't, and they are more brittle than nails). Also quieter and although pros with a hammer never make mistakes sometimes I do, and pulling nails out because they are hit wrong or whatever isn't enjoyable.

I don't see them now on the website, but in the store at home depot I've seen some fairly expensive exterior screws that say right on the box no pilot hole needed and they look like a fine replacement (if an expensive one) for nails.

The head on torx screws is good, though FWIW I have never had a problem with the phillips head deck screws I use, but in my various projects over the years I've probably only driven several hundred.
 
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