When to Use Nails Vs. When to Use Screws?

Last Updated on November 2, 2020 by Marsh Fasteners

You finally got around to that DIY job you have been planning to do. As you are putting together all the tools and materials you require, you are stuck with a conundrum of which fastener to use - nails or screws. Do not fret, MarshFasteners is here to help you get unstuck fast so you can get on with your project.

Each of these fasteners has different characteristics which determine their suitability for certain uses. We are going to examine some of these characteristics to help you make an informed decision:

Stainless Steel nails are the best fastener when you are doing basic construction such as building a box and when there are adhesives being used. Nails are used in almost all framing and structural applications. If you have any outdoor applications, you need to use stainless or galvanized nails. Finish nails are best for attaching trim and molding and for furniture assembly.

Stainless Steel nails and deck screws are useful for outdoor projects where time and weather take their toll. These screws are coated to resist corrosion. From a cost perspective deck screws are less expensive compared to stainless steel screws. Deck screws are useful for attaching deck boards, and other projects such as outdoor furniture.

Stainless Steel screws – they are your best fattener when forces will be applied in multiple directions i.e. against a joint, or if extra weight will be applied, such as a bookshelf. If you also are not planning on using additional adhesives, screws are your best bet. The threads on screws grip and bite into the wood resulting in the joint being stronger and more secure. If you were to use a nail where forces are going to be applied, there is a high chance the substrates will disconnect.

Picking the right stainless steel nails and screws for your projects

Stainless steel nails and stainless steel screws are both excellent fasteners that can be used with a variety of projects. Choosing the right nail or screw depends on the type of project you’re working on, the materials being used, the time you have, and the amount of money you have on hand for the fastener needed. When choosing between the two, both the positives and negatives of each type should be considered very carefully. 

Screws are best for when excessive strength is needed (i.e. when securing pieces of wood together when it comes to working on your wooden deck). It is perfect for jobs that do not require additional adhesive as screws hold materials tightly together for a long-lasting period. A nail is often used by projects that may require adjustments or when mistakes are likely to be made as it is easily removable compared to a screw. It is also more pleasing on the eyes than screws and it is commonly used for projects that require aesthetics over functional use. Nails are also cheaper and faster to use, making it the most convenient choice for an easy project or quicker deadline.

Choose stainless steel nails for

Sheer strength - won’t snap under pressure




Hardware floors

Repair jobs

Decorative projects

Projects that will endure side to side pressure

Choose stainless steel screws for

For grip - won’t break down with vertical force

Weight benches



Wood decks

Wood flooring

Wooden toys


Projects that will endure up and down pressure

Even though nails have more sheer strength than screws, both can be equally used on projects depending on the context. It is ideal to take a look at the project at hand to determine the amount of vertically or horizontal strength and grip needed, the final aesthetic appeal you are looking for, and the amount of time and effort that is required from you before choosing the fasteners needed. If possible, an expert should be consulted so that you do not waste your precious time and money when working on the task on hand and that any damage or injury can be prevented.

All your fastener requirements are met at MarshFasteners

MarshFasteners stocks a wide range of nails and screws. Get in touch with us for all your Stainless Steel nails and deck screws. If your application requires Stainless Steel screws, be sure to contact us as well via email or telephone at Marsh Fasteners today.

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