Screw Sizes – Three Important Measurements Every Tradesperson Should Know

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Screws come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes to match countless construction tasks. They can be used for just about anything, from light woodworking to metal roof installations, but choosing the wrong size can affect your project’s quality and safety. An overly long screw can break or bend in a hole, while an undersized one cannot securely hold the material. In this article, we’ll walk you through three essential measurements every tradesperson should understand: screw diameter, length and threads per inch.

Knowing how to measure a screw gives you the ability to select the best type and size for your project’s needs. Choosing the right screw length ensures that the head will fully penetrate into the material and doesn’t protrude out too far, posing a safety hazard or damaging the surface of your work. And finally, measuring the diameter of a screw will allow you to match it with the right drill bit for your job.

Screws are typically marked with their gauge number and shaft length, or major diameter, on the packaging in the imperial system (e.g. 10 x 2 inches). The middle number refers to the threads per inch (TPI), which can be difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with this measurement system. When shopping for collated screws at a hardware store, a simple way to translate a screw’s TPI is to look up its diameter in the appropriate screw gauge chart and compare it to a standard TPI table, such as this one. In the metric system, a screw is usually listed as its diameter and length (including the head) in millimetres. screw sizes

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