Screws are used to hold together materials and support a variety of projects. Choosing the right size can be the difference between a project that holds up and one that fails. There are several factors to consider when choosing the correct screw for a job including length, gauge and threads per inch. Knowing these three essential measurements can help ensure the success of your next construction project.

Gauge is the number or width of the screw, typically ranging from 2 to 16 with 8-gauge screws being a good general choice. The gauge you choose depends on the thickness of the material you’re screwing into and the amount of weight the screw must support. The thicker the material, the heavier the load, and therefore the thicker the screw you need.

The length of a screw refers to the distance from its head to the bottom of the threads. This is important as it determines how far into the material a screw will go. Choosing the correct length can be crucial as a screw that is too long may protrude through the top of a project and can pose a safety risk.

The diameter of a screw is designated by the first number or letter that appears on its label. The number indicates the major diameter, while the letter identifies the screw’s thread pitch. Engineering Toolbox has a handy chart that converts screw gauges to decimal equivalents, making it easier for DIYers to identify the correct size fastener. pilot hole for 5/16 lag screw

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