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August 2007
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Taping Drywall

You are remodeling and will probably be using drywall. You can tape it yourself. ‘course if you can afford it, somebody else can do it for you. Even if you are not going to DIY, at least you will have a good idea of what is coming.

I have loaded up a new photo gallery on taping drywall over there on the right.

Drywall Fasteners – Screws of Our Lives – The Steel Ones

Steel Studs aka Light Guage Metal Framing is an alternative to wood framing. It has it’s place. Steel Studs use different screws.
From left to right are Trimheads, Panheads, and Self Tapping Type S screws.
Trim heads as the illustration shows have a much smaller head, (use a #1 Phillips Bit) and are made for attaching trims through drywall into steel studs.
Pan heads are the 16d fasteners of steel stud framing. These are used to screw the steel framing together.
Self Tapping Type S screws are used for attaching the drywall to the steel stud frames. Here is a comparison of head size.
When working with steel studs, you want the fastest spinning screw gun you can find. You have to get through the drywall and the steel and cinch it up tight befor the screw tries to wobble and walk on you, leaving you with a large ragged hole that won’t hold, is a PITA of fill and coat, and generally make your project a splinter in your mind rather than an endorphin buzz that you can share.

The previous posting showed Type S screws that are pointed, and are more widely available at your local home store, and perfectly acceptable for light gauge (25 ga.) steel stud framing. I showed the self tapper to illustrate the different types available. Medium Gauge (20) and Red Iron Steel Framing use self tappers exclusively, and unless you are building an entire house out of it, will probably not need to be in your hardware box.

Drywall Fasteners – Screws of Our Lives – The Wood Ones

Drywall Screws are Different. They are Black, Harder than Regular Screws, have a specific shape and different types. The are often called Bugle Head, due to the shape of the head which is radius to deform the paper and the gypsum core with out tearing the paper. as I mentioned in the post about the Screwgun The black color is an anti rust coating. The points are sharp!

These are the most common ones for home use.
Type ‘W’ or Wood Screws have a coarse thread for driving into wood.
Type ‘S’ or Steel Screws have a fine thread and although made for attaching drywall to steel studs are used interchangeably.
Given a choice, use the wood ones around the house.


The standard size you will probably use are 1 1/4″ for attaching 1/2″ drywall to studs, and 1 3/8″ for attaching 5/8″ drywall to studs. This provides 1/2″ penetration into the stud, which is the recommended code attachment. You can use a little longer screw, but it is not necessary.

They are not limited to drywall. You can use them to screw all sorts of stuff together. Temporary or permanently.

However…. There are a couple of areas where they should not be used. If you look at the photo, you will see that the thread comes up to the base of the head, and because of the thinness of the shaft,and the hardness of the screw, they do not have the strength to resist side shear like a regular wood screw.

Do not use them as hinge screws! Do not use them as Hanger Screws! When they snap, and they will, you will cry, because they will resist every attempt to remove them, short of dismantling what they broke off in, and replacing it. You will cry like a baby.

House Tree or Tree House

My Brother sent this to me. House Tree or Tree House?
The line on going green is moving…..

Tools of Our Lives - The Screwgun

One of the most valuable and adaptable single purpose tools in the home remodeler’s arsenal is the Screwgun.
A Screwgun is a fixed/variable screwdriver with a depth adjustment and a clutch. Primarily developed for drywall hangers, because of the adjustablility and clutch to stop the screw when the correct depth is achieved, it has moved into the mainstream and is one of the most valuable tools you can own.

This is a photo of a Variable Speed Reversible Screwgun. This is a Dewalt DW255. I have had this one for a couple of years and it works great. Below I will list the features.

At the front end or nose is the magnetic bit holder. It uses ‘standard’ bits that you pick up at the tool store you buy the gun from. (Standard is a misnomer in that bits for driving Drywall Screws need to be harder, because Drywall Screws are make from much harder material than standard wood screws)Check the package! They cost a little more, but they will last longer, reduce cam out, and do the job better, which at the end of the day is the point.

Most come standard with a #2 Phillips bit. You can get a variety of different bits for screwing applications, from Phillips, Hex, Spline, Torx, and even flat.

The Depth Adjustment is the next thing in line and is extremely important especially in screwing drywall. What the depth adjustment does is act in concert with the clutch in the body of the gun to stop the screwgun spinning when you reach the proper depth, giving you a secure tight screw attachment.

Drywall is a softer material than you think despite how well it makes walls. The paper on the face of the sheet performs a large part of the attachment duty. You need to be able to drive the screws below the face of the sheet, so taping and mudding makes the screws invisible, yet not so deep that you tear the paper. Here is the USG Drywall Guide PDF Pg. 12, is where they talk about screwing off.

It is a fine adjustment. Practice on scrap and once you have it you are ready to rock. That is what the reverse setting on the gun is for:)

Commercial guns come in fixed speeds, 2500 for wood 4000 for steel. This is a variable speed gun with a very good trigger. You can get real good at screwing things after just a bit of practice. Besides Drywall, you can screw down sheathing, decking, screw stuff together, and unscrew stuff,(yah like you never make misteaks)

The trigger lock allows you to have the gun running while you screw off a lot of things.
You can get one here: DeWalt DW255 6 Amp Drywall ScrewdriverThis is a professional grade tool. Less than a hundred bucks, and worth every cent!