How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot

Ins and Outs of Drywall Nails and Screws

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Drywall > Ins and Outs of Drywall Nails and Screws
Ins and Outs of Drywall Nails and Screws

Drywall is an essential part of finishing the interior walls and ceilings in a room or building. It has to be installed with the help of nails or screws depending on what you like best. Nails and screws can be easily bought at any hardware store and depending on the amount of drywall you have to hang up, you will need quite a few of them. Before you head to the store, you should calculate approximately how many you will need to complete your project. Running out of nails and screws in the midst of your work can be quite frustrating and will delay the completion of this project.

    In some areas, drywall inspections are conducted of the nail or screw patterns before you can get the approval from the inspector. This is more common with new buildings than in repairs.
  1. 1.A Salient Point for All Projects

    Buying a few extra screws and nails is a lot cheaper than starting up your car and spending the gas money to drive back to the hard ware store. Especially when the gas tax is so high and the prices are so high as well.


    In some areas, drywall inspections are conducted of the nail or screw patterns before you can attain the approval from the inspector. This is more common with new buildings than in repairs. You will need to check up on local zoning regulations.


    Both nails and screws have their set of advantages and disadvantages. After evaluating these and looking at what you want the end result to be, you can make your choice. Screws are more expensive but they are more secure than nails. Similarly nails are cheaper and easier to install because they can just be pounded or shot in but they may not secure the drywall like screws do. Screws can be of the coarse thread or fine thread varieties.

  2. 2.Nails vs. Screws

    Screws have been found to be less damaging to the drywall than nails. This is because nails have to be hammered in which leads to bigger indents than with screws. While hammering, there is also the danger of hammering right through the drywall if you miss hitting the nail. Screws are also easier to remove than nails and will leave no damage behind after removal. Screws also give a better finished look to the drywall than nails. Drywall work completed with screws tend to look cleaner and have fewer flaws, especially if the installer is an amateur. Screws are more effective in holding the drywall in place than nails because they offer a firmer grip, which has been mentioned. Nails are more likely to pop out when the wood shrinks and this is something else you will have to deal with.

  3. 3.On Ceilings

    When it comes to ceilings, drywall screws are the best choice. They provide added security to ceiling installations. Nails do not work so well on ceilings primarily because gravity acts against them and they may not prove as effective as screws. You do not want you ceiling falling on top of you.

  5. 4.Wall Installations

    This is where nails are seen to have a slight edge over screws mainly in terms of price and ease of installation. Since building codes may require twice as many nails as screws to be put in, you might feel that nails are a better option. But, think again. Nails can be pounded in with the help of a hammer and it is as simple as that. But screws have to be installed with a screw gun and this is an additional expense. If you already own a screw gun, then screws are definitely the best choice for you. This can work as well if you are able to borrow one from a friend or neighbor. If that is not an option, you can rent this tool.

  6. 5.Some Pointers

    When buying nails and screws it is always better to buy them slightly longer than the recommended size. Ideally the length of the nails should be nearly twice the thickness of the drywall. The length of screws can be a little shorter than twice the thickness of the drywall. While hammering in a nail or screwing in a screw, if it breaks you can just pound it into the drywall and then cover it with compound later on. Also, many contractors recommend using nails around the exterior edges of the drywall sheets and screws in the middle areas. Nails are also suggested for attaching metal corner beads.

  7. 6.Using Both

    For many reasons, screws far outweigh nails in terms of popularity and convenience. It just depends on how much you care about what you are doing. Using nails is considered old-fashioned and outdated. The ease and the finished look that can be achieved with screws are not found with nails. However, when you have to make a choice, evaluate the practical aspects carefully before making a decision. A combination of both nails and screws will be effective and save you the time of screwing in so many screws.

Find Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 48 hours or less.