How to Use Roofing Screws: Choosing the Right Size

Roofing makes up some of the most important structures on a building and plays a significant role in the structural integrity and insulation of a home, office building, school or shop. However, it's not just as simple as drilling a few beams or slats in place and hoping that they can withstand adverse weather and the test of time; there's actually a lot that goes into securing this important structure.

Screws play a huge role in the success of a roof and provide protection against harsh weather in Australia. When thinking about screws for a roof, it's important to ensure that customers select the most suitable type to ensure the longevity of their roof, stabilise the structure, and is easy to maintain over time.

To help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of this critical fixing, we've compiled this complete guide to roofing screws. This blog discusses the definition of roofing screws, explains the types of fixings available, their importance, sizing, and choosing the right roof screws for your project.

What are roofing screws?

In simple terms, a roof screw refers to a type of fastener that works to secure sheeting roofing and cladding. Alongside roof sheeting, these fasteners also secure wood and timber structures and can also be useful for other projects such as using these in internal structures.

There might be a temptation to use roofing screws and roofing nails interchangeably, but it's important to distinguish the difference between the two. Roofing nails can be used for other types of roof work but are usually exclusively used for securing tiles onto a roof.

A roofing screw is usually self-drilling, with a hex head appearance. These screws negate the need for pre-drilling a pilot hole, saving a roofing team a significant amount of time. These screws tend to work most successfully with materials like sheeting crest fixing, metal battens, and timber battens.

The importance of roofing screws

Roofing screws are important as they provide an extensive level of protection against the elements. Roofs are some of the most integral yet vulnerable structures in our homes, easily becoming damaged in high winds or degrading over time from sun exposure.

Choosing the right roofing screw for your roof sheeting type can provide more protection and make your roof more durable against the force of wind and rain, saving you a lot of money in the long run!

Types of roofing screws and how to choose the best screw size

You might be surprised to know that roofing screws generally serve as an umbrella term to describe several types of fasteners. In fact, there are a few types of roofing screws you need to know about in order to know the most suitable type for your roofing project. Here's a guide to the different types of screws and their sizes:

Metal roofing screws

Self-drilling screws are a good choice if you wish to secure metal to metal. For example, if you're wanting to secure metal roofing panels, you should choose a metal roofing screw as these provide a more secure hold while drilling a hole and forming mating threads.

To choose the size of your roofing screw, you should assess the thickness of the metal roofing panel. This will determine your size need and provide you with a more secure hold for longer.

Wood roofing screws

Wood roofing screws can be used for both wood and metal applications. These screws come with a very sharp tip, allowing users to drill through the material without the risk of splintering the wood or metal.

If you're worried about the structural integrity of a wood batten, you should use a flute-shaped type 17 screw. This screw reduces timber expansion and splitting by capturing pulp and chips. For best use, use for timber to timber applications.

Again, you should decide on the size of your screw based on the width of the timber you plan to use on the roof.

Cyclone roofing screws

Cyclone roofing screws do exactly what they say on the tin! These screws are best for areas of Australia that are prone to cyclones. These screws provide additional strength and can easily withstand high winds and rain.

This is very important as roofs are usually one of the first victims of extremely strong winds or adverse weather. This screw also minimises the damaging effects of expansion and splitting by using its flute-shaped drill point.

The size of this screw is ideal for users who need additional support, as the long drill point can be used for several materials and different width sizes.

Coloured roofing screws

You might not have previously thought that roof screws can come in several different colours, but these important fasteners ensure that you don't have to sacrifice aesthetics over function. You can easily match your screw colour to your roofing panels. This is a significant bonus is you're not a fan of a galvanised steel screw's shine against a darker panel.

One of the significant benefits of coloured screws is that they're suitable for a huge range of locations and weather patterns. You can be confident in your screw's ability to withstand direct sunlight and adverse weather!

There is a large range of screw sizes for this particular type, so again, it's best to base your decision over the width of the material you plan to use to ensure you have maximum security!

How to use roofing screws

There are a few ways you can install roofing screws that depend on the head shape of the screw. The first step you should follow is to use an electric drill with the appropriate-sized drill bit for the screw.

From this, you'll need to pre-drill a pilot hole for your screw to fit into when you're ready. Consider doing this to the sheet metal before climbing onto the roof for added safety and convenience.

When you're ready, attach the screw to your drill bit and drill this into the pilot hole. Try to do this gradually to ensure you don't damage the material. One of the most important things to consider is ensuring that the washer remains on top of the material.

This ensures that there is no chance for water to enter the hole and cause damage. You should also ensure that you don't drill too fast or hard against the panel, especially if you're using timber materials, as this will cause splitting and expansion.


Your roofing project is one of the most important things to consider when building or repairing a home or building, so you'll need to find the best screws that work correctly for your chosen material and your location. To find the best roof screws for your roofing project, shop at Trade Warehouse today!

Our online store provides an extensive amount of high-quality tools that are perfect for creating a strong and sturdy roof. We also provide all of the accompanying tools, such as safety equipment. After you browse our store and add all your necessary items to your shopping cart, you can benefit from nationwide delivery!

Make sure you check out the rest of Trade Warehouse’s blog where we discuss all things DIY and help you choose the correct products for your DIY project!

Frequently asked questions

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about roof screws:

  • Why do we use roofing screws?

We use roof screws to secure metal or timber panels onto the roof of a building. These screws provide a high degree of protection against adverse weather, ensuring panels can survive high winds and excess rain.

  • What's the typical size of a roofing screw?

The standard size of a roofing screw is around an inch to an inch and a half. This size will differ depending on the width of the material used, users can expect around an inch to an inch and a half for standard metal roofing requirements.

  • What screws do I need for corrugated roofing?

Corrugated roofing is an example of a larger roof height, therefore requiring a longer screw. You'll usually need a screw that is around 2inches in length for maximum security.