Drive screws that don't corrode
When driving screws in hard materials, such as PT lumber or hardwoods, opt for a screw in the largest gauge available. For example, many outlets carry 3" deck screws in #8 gauge, but you'll experience fewer snapped screws if you spend a few extra bucks for #10 screws.
If you plan to drive deck screws near the ends of boards without predrilling, look for a fastener with an auger, serrated, or fluted point, such as the ones shown in top photo. In our tests, these screws were less likely to split the wood. Serrated and fluted screws proved noticeably easier to drive when using long screws in hard materials.
Square-drive and star-drive (also called Torx) recesses grip driver bits better than Phillips head or combination Phillips/square recesses do. (See bottom photo.) In our tests we found it difficult to strip out a square- or star-drive recess or do serious damage to their coatings. Phillips recesses strip out occasionally, and combination recesses, although handy, strip out excessively.
For a free downloadable screw chart, go to: woodmagazine.com/screwchart
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