Can You Use Regular Screws To Put Up Drywall?

Many years ago, drywall was installed using hammers and nails, but once screws and power drills became more widely available, they were a faster and sturdier method of drywall installation. Power tools haven't just made it easier for professionals to do their jobs — they've also given individuals the ability to tackle DIY projects, including hanging drywall by themselves.

However, if you're going to take on the challenge of hanging your own drywall, you'll want to be sure you're doing it correctly and using the right equipment. In short, you shouldn't use just any ordinary screws for drywall — you'll need to purchase special drywall screws.

And not all drywall screws are the same. Depending on the framing materials you're working with, you'll need to consider the screw type, gauge, and length. Learn more about the different types of drywall screws and what you'll need to make your walls look professional, sturdy, and seamless.

S-type and W-type drywall screws

Drywall screws are different from regular screws in that they have deeper threads, are made of sturdier metals, and are often slightly longer. While ordinary screws are made of steel and other metals, drywall screws are often 100% steel. There are also different types of drywall screws, specialized for the type of framing material you're working with.

If you're attaching drywall to metal studs, you'll need S-type screws. These screws, also known as fine-thread screws, are designed with sharper points and smaller heads. S-type screws are best for metal because they can easily drill through without chewing up the studs. They are self-starting, which means you can drill them directly into the drywall without needing to create the perfect pilot hole first.

If you're hanging drywall onto wood studs, you'll need W-type screws, also known as coarse drywall screws. W-type screws have deeper grooves on their threads, which gives them a stronger hold than S-type screws, but also necessitates gloves to avoid cutting your fingers when starting the screws.

W-type screws also tend to be longer and thinner than S-type because they need to penetrate deeper into wood studs. When working with wood studs, you can also use nails to secure the drywall and reduce your costs. However, you should always use screws when attaching drywall to the ceiling or to metal studs.

Drywall screw length and guage

The thickness of your drywall panels determines the length and gauge of screws you'll need, as they should penetrate at least 0.63 inches into wood studs or 0.38 inches into metal. The vast majority of DIY drywall projects are completed using drywall that is half-inch thick. For standard half-inch drywall, you'll want to use 1 ¼-inch or 1 ⅝-inch drywall screws. If you're working with thin ¼-inch drywall, you may only need 1-inch screws, while for thicker ⅝-inch drywall, you may want to use up to 2-inch screws.

For most projects, you'll need either #6 gauge or #8 gauge drywall screws. In some building materials, a larger gauge number translates to a smaller item, but drywall screws work in the opposite way, meaning that a #6 gauge screw is smaller than an #8 gauge screw. For standard half-inch drywall projects, a #6 gauge screw is usually sufficient. However, if you're working with thicker drywall, you may want #8 gauge screws for a stronger hold.

When shopping for drywall screws, you'll often see these length and gauge numbers written together. To summarize, if you're hanging half-inch drywall onto wooden studs, you may purchase W-type screws that are labeled 1 ¼-inch x 6.