Should You Use Nails Or Screws For Drywall?

You can use nails to hang the drywall. It is a quick and low-cost method of securing drywall. However, according to a large drywall contractor, screws are preferable over nails because they provide more holding force and eliminate nail pop-outs induced by wood contractions.

As a result, we can see that there is considerable controversy about whether we should use nails or screws for drywall. Because they both have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using nails vs screws for drywall, we’ll go over those in order to find a solution.

Pros & Cons Of Using Nails Vs Screws For Drywall

Though the majority of skilled drywallers advocate for screws, some also advocate for drywall nails. It’s because they both have some advantages over each other.

In general, screws are preferable because of their solid hold and easy handling, however, nails are less expensive and quick to install. As a result, it will be more helpful if we consider specific scenarios to describe them.

Cost Of Nails Vs Screws For Drywall:

We heard from the drywallers that the drywall nails are a less expensive choice than the drywall screws. To check it, we walk through the marketplaces and look at the prices of drywall screws and nails, and we come up with the following information.

Grip-Rite Drywall Screws#6 Philips bugle head coarse thread phosphate coated 1-½’’$7.97
#8 Philips bugle head coarse thread 1-⅝’’$5.19
Grip-Rite Drywall Nails#12 4D Bright Ring Steel 1-½’’$4.20
#12 Cement Coated 1-½’’$4.20
#13 Phosphate Coated 1-⅝’’$1.86

We can see from the table above that drywall nails cost around 3 to 4 dollars less than screws of the same brand, length, and coating.

When we looked at the number of fasteners needed per 1000 square feet, we discovered that 4×8 drywall will require 2000 nails or 1250 screws. As a result, if you consider this, you will not be able to save a significant amount of money.

Another factor to consider when evaluating the cost is the tools. You will need less investment if you use a simple hammer than if you want to use a nail gun or screw gun. Mechanical means, on the other hand, will give you more leverage and accuracy while also saving you money over time.

Dominance: Drywall Nails

Sturdiness: Drywall Nails Vs Screws

Which one is more sturdy between a drywall nail and a screw depends on the force they can tackle successfully. When we bolt drywall with a stud or frame, it may face two kinds of forces: shear and withdrawal.

A withdrawal force is applied vertically and intended to pull apart the drywall from the studs while a shear or horizontal force wants to snap them by side.

Between nails and screws, nails are more elastic and can tackle great pressure from the side. When the force is applied from the side, the nails bent a little but tried to stay in their original position without breaking due to good shear strength.

On the other hand, screws are difficult to pull out from the studs because of their firm gripping power. Therefore, they’re not usually pop out due to structural movement and also can hold the drywall in place tightly for a longer period.

In his essay, writer Tim Garrison included a table comparing the shear strength and withdrawal force of nails and screws. Let’s have a look at that-

16d common nail.162”138 lb.134 lb.40 lb.
16d sinker.148”115 lb.112 lb.Not listed
16d box (nail gun).131”95 lb.93 lb.33 lb.
#6 screw.138’’71 lb.70 lb.141 lb.
#8 screw.164’’90 lb.89 lb.168 lb.

We can see from the above data that nails are more durable than screws since they have higher shear strength. Screws, on the other hand, have a much stronger grip or withdrawal force than nails.

As a result, if you anticipate you’ll need to deal with a circumstance where the sliding force is greater than the pullout force during drywall construction, nails will be the superior alternative and vice versa.

Dominance: Tie

Read Also: Screws Vs Nails: Which Is The Most Preferred To Carpenters?

Pop-Out Of Nails:

Although nails have a higher shear strength, they are more prone to popping out owing to structural movement. When you use nails to push drywall into wood frames, you may run into this issue more frequently.

Wood expands and contracts as it absorbs moisture from the environment or as the temperature rises. Because nails have low grip strength, they simply pop out, causing structural movement. It could also happen as a result of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

In this case, because screws have a high pullout strength, they may withstand the pop-out and secure the drywall to its frame.

Dominance: Drywall Screws

Speed Of Installation:

Screws are more difficult to drive with a hammer than nails. You can complete the task more quickly if you utilize nail guns. If you use a magnetic tip screw gun, on the other hand, you can easily compete with a drywaller with a hammer.

Drywallers frequently prefer drywall nail guns to screw guns because of their speed.

Dominance: Drywall Nails

Read Also: Hand Tools Vs Power Tools: Which Is The Most Useful?


Although nailing drywall is a simple and quick method of installation, it will cost you extra if you make a mistake. You may need to replace a board or two when putting up drywall. It will be difficult to replace or reinstall if you drive it with nails. This is simple to perform if you use screws.

Dominance: Drywall Screws

Risk Of Damage:

If you use nails, you may need to pound them with a hammer. Swing hammer is need some skill. If you wrongly hammer the hammer, you may end up with damage the drywall. On the other hand, if you choose screws, you’ll not find such incidents while installing them. You can also put them in the correct place simply.

Dominance: Drywall Screws

Read Also: How To Use A Cordless Drill And Driver

Materials Of Framing:

If drywall is secured on a wood frame, you can use either nails or screws. However, if the frame is made of metal, you have no other option than to use screws. You have to take care of the correct length of the screws, that’s it.

Dominance: Drywall Screws

Position Of Drywall:

If you hang the drywall on the wall frame, you can use both types of fasteners. But for ceiling works, it is better to use screws as they will give more strength against gravitational force.

If you choose nails to hang drywall to the wall, you’ll, however, need to employ almost double nails than screws as per building code.

Dominance: Drywall Screws

Read Also: How To Use A Brad Nailer: Step By Step Guide

Takeaways: Should You Use Nails Or Screws For Drywall?

You may have gotten a hint from the preceding comparative discussion. The majority of the parameters we looked at were dominated by drywall screws. Though drywall nails save money in the short term, they may pop out in the long run, especially if used on the ceiling.

As a result, professional drywallers prefer to use screws since they have strong gripping power and are easy to install and remove. They also lessen the possibility of pop-out.

Some drywall nails, on the other hand, include ring shanks or cement-coated shanks, which provide additional holding capacity.

As a result, drywall can be installed with either nails or screws. However, in order for the fastener to last, it must be of good quality and the correct size in each circumstance.

Related Reviews:

What are the Different Types of Nail Guns
Best Nail Guns for Drywall Installations
Nail Gun Not Shooting Nails
Best Cordless Drill and Driver for Drywall Installations
Best Finish Nailer for Wall Panels

Rate this post

Tushar Mirror

Toolsmirror is a group of co-fighters led by Engr. Tushar is dedicated to gathering information, analyzing & test various items, and releasing reviews on various woodwork and outdoor tools. Our mission is to provide our readers with the most up-to-date ideas and approaches, as well as reveal the genuine features that will assist them in selecting the best items for their professions and DIY projects.

Recent Posts