Wood screws vs deck screws – What’s the difference

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Wood screws vs deck screws - What's the difference
Wood screws vs deck screws

If you are a professional tradesman or just doing some DIY, it is important to know the difference between wood screws vs deck screws. Your local hardware store will stock a wide variety of screw types; if you can’t find them there, you’ll find them online; want help choosing? Check out our best wood screws article.

Wood screws are incredibly important to the construction industry and general DIY. They come in varying amount of shapes and sizes. They may all look similar; however, there are different construction screws for different jobs.

If you are working on outdoor decking, it would be better to use quality deck screws rather than traditional wood screws.

Standard wooden screws are usually made from stainless steel. They have a flat head, ideal for household woodwork, shelves, and fine furniture making.

Wood screws make a more solid join than using nails. There are several types of screws you can use; although they look quite similar, they differ depending on the use. The heads, coatings, plating, and threads are very different, depending on what type of woodwork you are doing.

The deck screw, also known as a decking screw or construction screw, is different from standard wood screws; the decking screw is larger than the wood screw and is often made from stainless steel or copper; it’s the corrosion-resistant materials that give deck screws their rust-resistant properties. This helps withstand harsh weather conditions, making them perfect for outdoor use and wet environments, ideal for wood decking.

Wood Screws vs. Deck Screws

Deck Plus 48419 Wood Screws #10 x 3", Tan, 5lb Box

Now we will look at the difference between deck screws and wood screws, so it will make it easier for you to decide what screw you need.

Are all screws the same?

No, not all screws are the same; there are several screw types.

Wood screws and deck screws come in many different types. Depending on what kind of work or project you are doing, it is important to know what kind of screw is correct for what type of job.

Wood screws and deck screws are available in various metals and colors, lengths, diameters or gauges, tips or points, threading, shank lengths, head shapes, and drive receivers.

Screws designed for softwoods like pine, cedar, plywood, and MDF have coarse threads; screws designed for hardwood like oak, ash, maple, etc. feature fine threads.

Most deck screws feature corrosion-resistant properties making them more suitable for outdoor use. This will make them last longer, and if the decking has been constructed using pressure-treated lumber, it will give it a longer life span.

What are the differences between a wood screw and a deck screw?

The main difference between wood screws vs deck screws is the size. Deck screws are larger than the regular common wood screw.

Deck screws and wood screws both have flat heads.

Although Deck screws flare into bugle-shaped heads and wood screws, they tend to be straight all up the shank to the head.

Because of the flare of the deck screw, your deck screw will not sink into the wood; however, the standard wood screw will go all the way into the wood boards, potentially splitting them and causing long-lasting damage.

The deck screw often doesn’t have the thread all the way to the screw head like wooden fully threaded screws. It often has a more course and deeper thread to add stability, torque, and strength to the fastening point.

What is the best screw to use?

Choosing the Right Screw for the Job is very important. Deck screws are far better for outdoor use because of their strength and corrosion resistance.

It is far better to use the decking screws for any outdoor projects like sheds, fencing, and other outdoor timber construction.

Wood Screws

WoodPro Fasteners AP8X2-1 Number-8 by 2-Inch All Purpose Wood Construction Screws, T20, 1-Pound Net Weight, 160-Piece , Gold

A wood screw is a piece of metal with a head and thread at one end and a sharp tip at the other. These heads come in pan, flat and oval styles and can be used with flat or Philips screwdrivers.

Wood screws are used to attach and fasten pieces of wood together and are a lot stronger than using nails.

They provide a stronger joint capable of taking more stress than using regular nails. These common screws are also used for hinges, locks, and other mechanical woodworking fasteners to wood securely.

When joining pieces of wood together or fastening a hinge for a cabinet door, first drill a pilot hole to facilitate the unthreaded part of the screw.

The wood screw is perfect for household woodwork, fine furniture making, shelves, and mounting hardware like television and speaker brackets, and any indoor woodwork projects.

Deck Screws

100 Qty #9 x 2-1/2" Inch Tan Fence & Deck Screws | Torx Star Drive | Bit Included (SNG919)

The main difference between a decking screw and wooden screws is that deck screws are much larger and stronger, coated with corrosion-resistant materials. This makes the deck screws strong and ideal for decking and other outdoor projects.

The screw head on the deck screw has a larger head and a longer shank with sharp threading.

Construction material deck screws or construction screws with their coarse threads and deep threading connect wood with effortless bonding, whether you are working on decking boards or fencing.

Deck screws have a bugle shape or flare-shaped head that helps prevent the screw from sinking into the wood and splitting it; as long as you drive the screw with care, if you use an impact driver, you can drive almost any screw into the surface of the wood.

Deck screws feature coarse threads and have a deeper grooved thread which adds stability.

Can I use standard wood screws for decking?

The answer, as a rule, is NO. However, you can use wooden screws on some decking that will not be in any damp, wet, or harsh weather conditions and don’t have to bear any weight.

It is always better to use deck screws for decking or other outdoor work.

When it comes to deck screws vs wood screws, the deck screws are a lot stronger.

The wood screws without the flare-shaped bugle head will sink into the wood and cause damage to it. They will most likely rust without the corrosive resistant properties, especially over time in damp, wet conditions.


There are approximately 42 Types of Screw heads and Types of Thread, and this can get a little confusing and daunting when choosing the right screw to use on your project.

Deck screws have a bugle or flare-shaped head that helps prevent the screw from sinking into the wood and splitting it.

Wood screws tend not to have the same bugle or flare-shaped head as the deck screw does; this makes them more likely to sink into the wood, causing cracking and splitting.

Deck screws are more commonly known to have a wider variety of heads, unlike wood screws.

What are the most common types of screw heads?

The most common screw heads are Slotted or flat head, Phillips head drive, Pozi Drive, Square (or Robertson) head, and the Torx Drive, also known as the “Star” Drive.

These different screw heads have several advantages, such as speed of installation, stripping, and less wear and tear.

There is a fantastic in-depth guide to the 42 types of screw heads and thread types.

Slotted or flat head

The Hillman Group 1944 10 x 1-1/4 Brass Flat Head Slotted Wood Screw 20-Pack

The Slotted or flat head screw has a slit on the head to allow a flat-headed screwdriver to insert and twist the screw into place.

Phillips head drive

#8 x 2" Wood Screw 100PCS Black Phosphate Coated Stainless Flat Truss Head Fast Self Tapping Drywall Screws by SG TZH

The Phillips head drive screw has a cross on the head to allow a Phillips-headed screwdriver to insert and twist the screw into place. The Phillips head drive screw is much easier to use than the flat head screwdriver, with more contact between the screwdriver and the screw, which adds more torque and strength.

Pozi Drive – PZ

(Pack of 100 pcs) Zinc Plated Steel Wood Screws #6 x 1-1/4 inch Pozidriv Head Screws, Fasteners, Countersunk, Chipboard Screws (100)

The Pozi Drive head is similar to a Philip’s head; however, it has an extra cross on the head of the screw.

This allows for more contact between the screw and the screwdriver and adds more torque, increasing stability.

Square (or Robertson) head

Hillman 48275 Brown Square Drive Deck Screws (#9 x 3") - 250 Pieces

A Square or “Robertson” head, also known as a square screw or Scrulox, is a type of screw that has a square-shaped socket in the screw head.

The Robertson screwdriver is less likely to come out while working than a Phillips screwdriver as the deeper square socket and tool are more securely in place.

Torx Drive or “Star” Drive – T and TX Hex Socket Drive

Power Pro 48595 Wood Screws, #8 x 1-1/2", Premium Outdoor Deck Screws, Rust Resistant, Epoxy Coated Bronze, 1lb Box, 203 pcs

The Torx Drive or “Star” Drive screw head has a six-lobed, star pattern on the head of the screw. The Torx screws often come with the matching Torx driver bit.


As we have already established, there are approximately 42 Types of Screw heads & Types of Thread.

The main difference between wood screws vs Deck screws is that deck screws are known to have deeper threads than general wooden screws, which makes it easier for the deck screw to cut through the wood.

Deck screws have a far deeper and sharper thread than wood screws making it easier for the screw to cut through the wood and secure the join.

Screws designed for softwoods like pine, cedar, plywood, and MDF have coarse threads, the screws designed for hardwood like oak, ash, maple, etc., feature fine threads.


Power Pro 48595 Wood Screws, #8 x 1-1/2", Premium Outdoor Deck Screws, Rust Resistant, Epoxy Coated Bronze, 1lb Box, 203 pcs

The shank is the narrow length of the screw with the head at one end and the screw tip at the other with sharp and deep threading.

The unthreaded shank at the top of a wood screw allows it to secure the wood by pulling the screw onto the wood just like a wood screw.

However, the difference is that the top part of the deck screw will slide straight through the first layer of wood, allowing the second piece to pull straight onto the head. This will add strength and stability to the deck board.

They come with sharp and tapered threading with an aggressive tip.

This allows a bit of compression from the thread to the head, making decking screws far stronger than regular wood screws, and when countersunk, they will sit flush with the top of the wood.

Most deck screws have a fully threaded, and some wood screws have a similar type of fully threaded shank; however, most wood screws only have a partially threaded shank.

Construction Material.

Most wood screws are made of steel, thus making them very durable for indoor use or in warmer and dryer weather conditions.

In cold, damp, or even humid environments, the wood screw will rust and corrode.

Wood screws and deck screws can also be made from bronze, brass, nickel, and corrosion-resistant materials like copper or hardened steel.

The deck screws are usually made from coated steel or copper and corrosion-resistant materials.

This makes the deck screw much more durable and stronger than the regular standard wood screw.

The deck screw, with its coated steel and rust resistance, helps against harsh weather conditions, damper climates, humidity, and rain.

Are deck screws structural?

No deck screws are not structural screws.

Deck screws are perfect for decking over wood screws, as we have established; however, if you are building a structure such as a shed or any kind of framing, it is not a good idea to use deck screws.

For that kind of project, it is better to use proper structural screws.

Drywall screws are better for plywood walls as they are structural, whereas decking screws are not.

Carpenters use drywall screws to attach sheetrock to metal or wood studs and metal studs.

Are our deck screws stronger than wood screws?


When it comes to wood screws vs deck screws, the deck screws are stronger than wood screws.

This is because of their larger size and corrosive-resistant properties.

The strength of a deck screw depends on the length, type of thread, and Screw quality.


Wood screws are not ideal for use with decking, especially in damp, windy conditions. They are likely to rust, and without the flare that the deck screws have, the wood screw will most certainly sink into the wood and damage it.

The wood screws are more suitable for projects that are indoors or where the weather conditions are dry, and there is no structure or stress.

It is always best to use the Deck screws when decking for long-term durability because of their strength and rust-resistant properties.


All types of screws are available at any local hardware store or online.

The price varies between the brand, construction materials, and the amount you buy.

You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk; however, it is important to purchase good-quality wood screws and deck screws.

Final Words

So when it comes to Deck screws vs. Wood screws, we have established the differences between them and when to use them on what projects you are working on.

We hope you have found this article useful.

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Stuart Ellis is a contributing writer at CraftedGarage.com He has years of experience from years as a general handyman, working in all aspects of construction and DIY. His aim? To provide you with the most in-depth information, to answer all your questions so you make the right decisions on your renovation, DIY and crafting projects.