Other Tips & Design Ideas

Can You Use Deck Screws for Framing? Here’s the Answer!

Written by

Rosanne Jones

Writer, Designer


Steven D. Carrico


can you use deck screws for framing

When selecting fasteners, it’s essential that you select the right type depending on the specific project you’re working on and the material involved. Although nails are often the go-to choice for framing, some people may want to branch out and try deck screws as well.

Then, can you use deck screws for framing? To answer your question, you should not use deck screws for framing, as such conduct can be illegal in some states, and these screws are usually not durable enough to withstand the heavy load anyway.

Should Deck Screws Be Used for Framing?


It’s usually not a good idea to use deck screws for framing walls. In fact, these screws should only be utilized for fastening decking boards rather than building large structural elements like framing.

In the same vein, it’s a no-no to use deck screws for joist hangers, which are critical structural components that must be secured properly. Should you attach these with deck screws, your framing can fall apart.

So, why shouldn’t you use any types of deck screws for framing? Let’s explore the main reasons behind the recommendation:

  • When hit with a strong force, screws can snap rather easily. In contrast, nails are flexible enough that they’ll only bend instead of completely breaking off. As such, screws aren’t suitable for constructing load-bearing wall framing.

Such a phenomenon happens because screws are designed to have better tensile strength, not shear strength. Meanwhile, framing typically requires shear strength – something that nails excel at, allowing them to bend to various extents but never completely losing their hold.

  • It might be against the local building codes to use screws for framing. As building codes can vary from place to place, I suggest reviewing the regulations for framing construction in your area or consulting your building inspector

That said, there are certain exceptions where it’s okay to use deck screws for framing:

  • When the framing is non-load-bearing, such as non-load-bearing drywall.
  • When you’re only building small, lightweight structures, such as a dog hous
  • You may construct deck framing with deck screws. However, building codes in some places can prohibit you from using any kind of screws for deck framing.

What Are Deck Screws?


As implied in the name, deck screws are fasteners made specifically for building decks. They have a particularly long shank, which can account for almost half their body length, and thread running down their lower half.

These types of screws are typically made of rust- and corrosion-resistant material—this comes as no surprise, considering they’re for exterior use. Common material choices include copper, galvanized, coated, or stainless steel, with the last option being the most resilient against corrosion.

Regarding size screws, deck fasteners have an average length of 1.5 to 6 inches and a standard gauge of 8-10. You can expect them to hold 80 to 125 pounds, though high-quality ones with a weight capacity of 200 pounds also exist.

In case you’re wondering, “Are deck screws structural?” I’ll cut to the chase—they’re not. You can also come to this conclusion based on how I’ve pointed out that they should not be used for building structural elements.

What Size Deck Screws for Framing?


As a general rule, the length of deckmate screws for framing should be roughly twice or thrice as long as the wood plank’s thickness. If you can’t find a fastener that long, then 1.75 times thicker than the planks will also do, but don’t go any shorter than this, as the screw might not be able to properly hold the structure.

Of course, the deck screws shouldn’t be too long, either. Fortunately, it’s easy to tell when the screw is too long: the fastener’s tip sticking out after driving through the wood planks.

For instance, 2 × 4 and 2 × 6 framing have an average thickness of 1.5 inches, so you’d want to choose a 3-inch screw for face-to-face joining.

Aside from length, you should also pay attention to the gauge – 9 or 10 gauge will be the best choice for framing.

Can Deck Screws Be Used for Construction?

Yes, they can be, except if you’re planning to pick them for structural construction. In such cases, you’ll have to examine whether the project is load-bearing and if it’s compliant with the building code.

Other than that, it’s okay to use them in your building projects, especially outdoor ones. Their excellent resistance to rust and corrosion will be a great asset, considering that rusted screws can also damage the wood planks, not to mention that such fasteners are weaker as well.

In short, deck screws are generally a good idea for light construction uses.

Related: A Detailed Comparison Between Deck Screws vs Construction Screws.

What Screws Can Be Used for Framing?


Assuming that it’s legal in your place to use screws for framing, you should go for structural (sometimes referred to as construction) screws. With their better strength, construction screws can bear heavy loads better without snapping like deck fasteners.

To give you an idea: construction screws can withstand up to 400 pounds of force and have a bigger diameter for a better hold. A particular reason for their better durability is that these screws are heat-treated.

For example, if we use the example of a 2 × 4 framing as above, a #9 construction screw with a length of 2.5 inches will do.

As for joist hangers, if you must use screws for joist hangers, get ones specifically designed for the job, such as #9 and #10 Simpson Strong-Drive connectors. These are also heat-treated and can technically be classified as structural screws.

Should I Use Screws or Nails for Framing?

Unless plank slippage is an issue, it’s always better to use nails instead of screws for framing. However, even when holding power is an issue, you can always opt for ring shank nails, provided that you don’t mind the higher price.

As mentioned above, nails have better tensile strength – the kind needed to securely hold framing elements together. You can simply opt for the common nails, and they’ll still do the job splendidly.

Another reason you may want to use nails for framing is that they’re faster to install and more affordable as well.


The next time someone asks you, “Can you use deck screws for framing?” you can give them an exhaustive list of why it’s not the best idea. Though exceptions exist, it’s almost always better to fall back on nails or specialized screws for framing.

When using nails for your framing project, remember to select ones around 3.5 inches long. Should you feel unsure whether to go for common or sinker nails, the latter is usually a better option if you have difficulties driving nails into the wood planks.

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