Terms of the Trade: Screws vs. Nails Terms of the Trade: Screws vs. Nails
If you're a beginning DIYer, you may not understand the difference between these two fasteners. After all, they're both meant to hold two things together, right? But nails and screws have obvious physical differences dictating how they perform at certain tasks. A nail has a smooth shaft with a flat head, making it suitable for pounding into surfaces with the force of a hammer or other such tool. A screw has threading along its length and grooves on the head for a screw driver or other tool to twist it into a surface. Now, for the basic rule of when to use each: use a nail when you want to secure material that may move from right to left, and use a screw to secure material that may move from top to bottom.