What are the Different Types of Fixing Screws?

We don't tend to think about the difference in screws that often, and some of us fail to recognise diversity in terms of types of screws. One type of screw that performs a pretty vital function is the fixing screw. While its function may sound pretty self-explanatory, how much do you actually know about fixing screws? Did you know that most construction projects would probably fail without them?

If you're scratching your head at any of those questions, you needn't worry. At Trade Warehouse, we like to ensure that you have all the information you need for a successful construction project. That's why we've compiled this guide to things fixing screws.

Today, we're going to take you through a comprehensive guide to fixing screws, with a guide to why we use fixing screws, benefits, the different types of fixing screws and a guide to which screws go into metal.

What are fixing screws?

Before exploring specific screws, it's important that we take note of the basics first. So, what is a fixing screw? Well, a fixing screw is a specific type of fixture that holds materials together and ensures they stay in a fixed position. Typically, these screws are used to secure installations to floors, ceilings and walls.

From erecting a signpost to taking on a fencing project, you're likely to use fixing screws. Essentially, these screws maintain a connection between two structures, meaning that most construction projects that seek to join two structures would be unsuccessful without fixing screws.

Fixings as a broader term actually encapsulate different kinds of instruments. Typically, fixings refer to screws, nails, nuts, bolts and special anchors. However, these fixings differ in terms of how they are secured.

For example, a nail is usually hammered into a pre-drilled hole, a screw is twisted into a hole with a screwdriver whether it's pre-tapped or not, and nuts and bolts refer to a type of fastener which is used to secure screws and hold them in position for longer.

Screws are pretty unique when it comes to their size, shape and head shapes. Depending on the type of fitting, screws may come with a cross-head type for a Phillips screwdriver or a single slot for a flat-blade tool.

Why do we use fixing screws?

With so many fixing options, it's easy to get confused on which ones to use. When thinking about your construction process, you need to think about how much support and strength you want from your fixings.

 Primarily, the reason why people opt for screws is down to the fact that they offer a much better clamp and holding force than nails and can be easily removed if structures require alteration at any point.

Screws create very tight bonds with the materials in which they're inserted, and the threads (or ridges) of the screw help to keep the screw in place if any force is applied because it grips to the material. In a nutshell, fixing screws adds an extra layer of security to a structure.

Unfortunately, we can't use the same theory when it comes to nails, and anyone who has ever experienced the annoyance of having the face of a flat-pack drawer fall off will tell you as much.

Screws are also pretty popular because they work with such versatile materials. With screws, you're covered from sheet metal to plywood, meaning you have much more control over the materials you wish to work with during your project. This isn't the same for nails as they tend to be less pliant to harder materials.

Here are some places you're most likely to find fixing screws:

  • In fencing
  • Garages and garage doors
  • Gates and gates especially with thick steel
  • Sheds and shed doors
  • Windows
  • Decking

Benefits of using fixing screws

If we haven't quite convinced you, we've compiled a comprehensive list of benefits to using fixing screws in your next project. Of course, you should consider your individual project needs when it comes to your selection of fixtures, but we definitely recommend our stock of fixing screws that offer you high-quality performance and reliability. Let's go through some of the benefits of our fixing screws:

  • More tensile strength than other fixing options
  • Resistant to rust
  • Reusable
  • Longer lasting hold
  • Easy to remove
  • Diverse range of options
  • The mechanical nature of screws makes them easier to insert than nails that require manual hammering

The different types of fixing screws

Now that we have the basics out of the way, we can get onto the different types of fixing screws. To break this down, we've put together this guide to the different types of fixing screws available, including their main features, applications and primary strengths. Let's go:

Concrete screws

Also known as 'masonry screws', these screws are primarily made for fastening structures to concrete, masonry and stone, meaning they're required to be made of some pretty strong stuff. These are long screws that typically have threads going all the way to the top of the shank before the head. As customers are likely to select concrete or masonry screws in outside structures, these screws are particularly hardy and anti-corrosive, making them last a lot longer than the next best-selling screw. These screws are perfect for use in both domestic and commercial projects.

Hammer fixing

Although not technically a screw, these tools do work in partnership with screws to create a secure fixture. Hammer fixings refer to a plastic anchor that expands at the base when a screw is hammered into it. The screw itself can be removed if you wish to reuse it at any point, but this tool gives customers a very secure fitting. This is a great option if you need to secure timber to masonry or concrete. Hammer fixings can vary in size depending on the project requirement but primarily look like long plastic tubes, big enough to hold a screw inside.

Hex head type

These are probably the most universally recognisable screw on the market. Hex head screws have a six-sided head to them and are primarily used in projects that use wood to wood or metal to wood fixings. Usually, they're quite large in length but are great for both commercial and domestic purposes.

What type of fixing screws go into metal?

There are a couple of types of fixing screws that are good for use when working with materials like sheet metal. Usually,

Self-drilling screw

If you have a vision of an autonomous screw that drills itself into a hole, get ready for disappointment. However, self-drilling screws are no less interesting and perform a pretty unique function. A self-drilling screw features its very own drill point, meaning it will simultaneously drill a hole into the material and form its own mating threads. This means that customers can combine pre-drilling with insertion, cutting time, costs and effort. So while less autonomous, self-drilling screws are still super handy!


Self-tapping screws are the most commonly associated screw within the sheet metal trade. Unlike its self-drilling counterpart, self-tapping screws work so successfully due to their pointed end which can cut through the material.

These screws are so popular within the metal industry that they're usually known as 'sheet-metal screws'. They're also popular within this industry because they have something called form mating threads. This means that it forms its own threads in the hole, therefore not requiring any pre-taping.

Frequently asked questions

We know how important it is that you can go into a construction project with full clarity. That's why we've answered the most frequently asked questions regarding screw fixings. We hope that this will answer some of your burning questions before they become a sticking point in your construction project:

What are the four types of screw heads?

Remember how we were saying that screws are quite diverse? Well, anyone who has ever noticed the different head type on screws will attest to that. There are four different kinds of screw heads that all mean they require different tools to screw them into place. Here is a quick guide for when you're next browsing the Trade Warehouse site:

  • Slotted: Putting it simply, these screws are characterised by a single line or split in the head of the screw. These types require a screwdriver with the same head to screw them into place.
  • Phillips: Phillips screws are characterised by their need for a Phillips screwdriver to install them. These screws have a four-pointed cross on the head.
  • Robertson: A Robertson screw has a simple square on the head of the screw.
  • Torx: Torx screws have a six-pointed star on top of their head and require the same shaped tool to screw them into materials.

At Trade Warehouse, we stock many of these screw types, meaning you can visit our online store for all your fixing and fasteners needs.

What are the three common types of screws?

There are three types of screws that are most commonly used in both domestic and commercial settings. These are known as:

  • Machine screws
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Cap screws

Why won't my fixing screw drill into the wall?

Typically, screws fail to penetrate walls if you're using an electric screwdriver that is spinning in the wrong direction. Another reason this may be occurring is if the screw is hitting a hard surface such as steel or metal plating or masonry. 

Make sure you know what the wall is made out of before starting your project. More importantly, check if there are meant to be any solid structures behind the wall as this can prohibit the screw from reaching its full depth.

There you have it, your comprehensive guide to types of fixing screws. We hope that you feel more optimistic about selecting screws for your next fixing job and hopefully you can start your construction task with clarity. We supply quality DIY tools to all our customers in Australia, so you can shop at Trade Warehouse with confidence!