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Last edited 17 Jan 2020
Types of screws
A screw is a type of fastener, usually made from metal, that commonly comprises a head at one end, and a point at the other, and a shaft shaped so that it can be turned into another material. The shape of the shaft is characterised by a helical ridge which is known as a ‘male thread’ (where the thread is external) or ‘female thread’ (where the thread is internal). Screws are typically used to hold materials or objects together, or to position objects.
The part of the screw that extends from the underside of the head to the tip is referred to as the ‘shank’ and is either fully or partially threaded. Threaded screws are intended to be driven into material or a pilot hole; partially or non-tapered screws are intended to be driven into a tapped hole.
The terms ‘screws’ and ‘bolts’ are sometimes used interchangeably, however, in simple terms, a bolt passes through a material and into a nut on the other side to bolt items together, whereas a screw threads directly into a material.
For more information, see Types of bolts.
 Types of screw
Typically designed with a partially-unthreaded shank and used to attach pieces of timber together.
Have two pointed ends and no head. Often used for making hidden joints between two pieces of timber.
Smooth, round or mushroom-headed with a reduced diameter shank.
Designed with a decorative dome or other cover to conceal the head.
Designed with two threads which enable it to driven twice as fast.
Designed with a head that is impossible to reverse, making it suitable for security applications.
Different types of heads include:
- Pan head: Rounded, high outer edge with a large surface area.
- Button/dome head: Cylindrical head with a rounded, dome-like top.
- Round head: Dome-shaped and used mainly for decorative purposes.
- Mushroom head: The dome has a lower profile that is designed to prevent tampering.
- Countersunk/flat head: Conical head with a flat outer face and a tapered inner face.
- Oval/raised head: Countersunk bottom and rounded top, often used decoratively.
- Bugle head: A smooth transition from the shank to the angle of the head.
- Cheese head: A disc with a cylindrical outer edge.
- Fillister head: Cylindrical with a slightly convex top surface.
- Flanged head: Can be any style but has the addition, at the base of the head, of an integrated flange which means it does not require a washer.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Construction equipment.
- Construction staples.
- Construction tools.
- Dry lining.
- Furniture, fixtures and equipment.
- Nails - a brief history.
- Off-site prefabrication of buildings: A guide to connection choices.
- Structural steelwork.
- Types of bolts.
- Types of fixings.
- Types of nails.
- Types of nuts.
- Wall plug.
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