11 Types of Screws Every DIYer Should Get to Know

Anybody who dabbles in DIY knows how difficult a job can become without the appropriate tools. When working single-handedly, you don’t want to make the job any harder than it needs to be. From self-drilling screws to self-tapping screws, every DIY enthusiast should have a selection in their toolkit.

The screw is a mechanism used to join objects together, fasten materials and to generally secure things. It is a simple piece of equipment with a multifaceted use. Choosing the right type of screw can be the difference between a successful home project and an extremely frustrating one.

To help you get the job done, we’ve rounded up 11 types of screws every DIYer needs to know. 

Why are there so many types of screws?

While screws are devices used for the same purpose, each type has a unique design to target certain materials and projects. Whether you’re building decking in the backyard or installing a new hinge on the bathroom door, you’ll need to acquire the right types of screws.

Screws come in multiple lengths, widths, drive types and head types for a variety of applications. They’re also customised for environmental factors, like indoor and outdoor projects. From professional trades to domestic use, there’s a perfect screw for every job.

What is the anatomy of a screw?

To help you make the best decision when deciphering through the different types of screws, it’s useful to understand the anatomy of the screw.

The screw has some standard features: the drive, the head, the shank, the threads and the tip.

  • The head: The top end of the screw with a marking (the drive). This is always wider than the screw’s body and comes in different varieties depending on the job at hand. Examples are Countersunk, Pan, Hex and Bugle.
  • The drive: The special design pressed into the screw head. The screwdriver fits into the drive to install and remove screws. Common designs include slotted, phillips, hex, square and pozidriv.
  • The shank: The smooth area just beneath the screw head to where the threads begin.
  • The threads: The ridges which wrap around the body, forming a helix or spiral.
  • The tip: The point found at the very end of the screw’s body. This is the first part to penetrate materials. Common tips include needle point, self drilling and type 17 (fluted)

What are the different types of screws?

Here are 11 screw types you should know about for DIY purposes

1. Wood/Chipboard Screws

Wood screws are very popular for DIY ventures. These screws join two pieces of wood together and are the standard choice for most wood projects. They come in multiple sizes and drive types.

2. Timber Screws

Timber screws are tailored for use on timber. With an aggressive head, these screws have a strong grip and are often made to withstand the elements as they’re great for using outside.

3. Deck Screws

Decking or deck screws are your go-to for decking and other heavier weighted structures. Built to endure harsh weather conditions and resist rust and corrosion, they’re another ideal screw for outdoor use such as building furniture.

Stainless steel deck screws offer the most corrosion-resistance.

4. Plasterboard Screws

Plasterboard screws, drywall or gyprock screws are purposefully designed to work with plasterboard or dry-walling for a long-lasting fitting. They’re ideal for fixing plasterboard to framing.

5. Coach Screws

Coach screws are used for heavy duty jobs and are mostly acquired for fixing sturdy materials together like metal to timber or timber to masonry and concrete.  

6. Self-drilling Screws

Self-drilling screws, also known as tek screws, are the best choice for convenience. A self-drilling screw creates its own hole and own thread in a single action. This makes projects easier and faster, saving you from having to drill a pilot hole beforehand.

7. Self-tapping Screws

Self-tapping screws are crafted to tap their own hole and create their own thread using a sharp tapered tip. Self-tapping screws are commonly referred to as sheet metal screws, and are a popular choice of industrial fastener.  These are often confused with self-drilling screws which are a very different style of screw entirely.

8. Bugle Screws

Bugle-head screws have self-embedding ribs and are a form of self-drilling screw for fixing softer materials. Very few screws have this type of head, and you’ll often use bugle screws for interior projects, working especially well with drywall.

9. Security Screws

Security screws are also known as a tamper-proof screw. They have a unique head which requires a special tool to remove them, deterring thieves and vandals.

Security screws can be used both internally and externally for safety, from securing outdoor storage to prohibiting unauthorised access to property.

10. Batten Screws

Batten screws are another type of heavy duty screw. The batten is great for heavyweight timber fixing, as its countersunk head sits flat in the timber. Another good choice for large outdoor projects like decking and structures.

11. Roofing Screws

As the name suggests, these types of screws are used for roofing purposes and are the top choice for roofing projects. Roofing screws attach sheet metal to steel or wood structures.  Commonly these screws will include a neoprene washing which creates a weatherproof seal.

While mostly used for the outdoors, roofing screws can also be used for some internal jobs.

Why is it important to choose the right screw?

Screws are designed with purpose. While some screws may be interchangeable, it does not make them the best choice. When selecting a screw always consider what you are fixing, the purpose, the finish and the location.

There are multiple reasons why choosing the right screw is imperative, including;

Material Protection

Every screw is crafted with the intention of working with certain materials. Choosing the appropriate one will protect from damage occurring to the material, such as splitting wood or metal slipping.

Maintains Fixtures

Using the appropriate screw for the job will ensure materials and objects are secured properly and that they remain in place. It will also prevent corroding, splitting and collapsing of objects.

Makes for an easier job

Without a professional tradesman on board, working on home projects yourself can be challenging. Joining materials using the right screws will drastically reduce time, effort and difficulty. You’ll make the task a lot harder with the wrong tools.


The hardware market is packed with all kinds of screws tailored to different needs. When tackling your home project, be sure to source the most suitable screws for the job. In the simplest terms, the screw must match the material that you are working with. Often, the clue is in the name.

When using the right screws, you’ll also need to consider the correct screwdriver. Many DIYers underestimate the importance of matching the correct tool to the correct screw. But a mismatched pairing will cause wear and tear on both sides.

Whether you’re new to DIY or have plenty of experience, using the right types of screws is the best solution if you want to avoid unnecessary difficulty.


How do I know which types of screws to use?

The type of screw you need depends on the individual job. You should choose the type of screw designed for penetrating the specific material, such as wood screws, timber screws and plasterboard screws.

What is the most common type of screw?

Wood screws / chipboard screws are possibly the most common type of screw used for DIY purposes. They fasten two pieces of wood together and are the standard screw choice for many woodwork projects.

What are the best exterior screws?

Timber screws, deck screws and stainless steel deck screws are designed for exterior use, with special properties for withstanding the elements. The best exterior screws are weather resistant, corrosive-proof and rust proof.