7th Dec 2022 -

Screws for plasterboard walls are usually to be a bit longer and stronger than regular screws, and you'll need to regularly use them when working with any kind of plasterboard.

What Types of Plasterboard Screws Are Available?

There are a couple of main types of screws available, S-type and W-type. Broadly speaking W-type is for timber frame stud walls, and S-type is for metal frame partitions. S-type screws have much sharper points to penetrate the steel frame. 

However, there are a plethora of types and sub-types of screws available, which are largely defined by the following variables:

  • Screw length: You can get lengths of up to 120 mm, which might sound long - but this is often necessary for the secure fixing of thick, heavy boards to wall frames or ceilings. The shortest screws typically reach around 5 mm.
  • Screw gauge: Gauge is the ‘thickness’’ of the plasterboard screws, this is usually from 2.5 mm (the minimum for supporting boards) to 7 mm. If you have the wrong gauge, a screw can easily snap under a board’s weight.
  • Screw thread: Perhaps the most important consideration is the screw’s thread, which refers to how ‘tight’ the coil of the helical shape of the screw is - with finer, stronger threads being more useful for metal frames. 

As the plasterboard in walls and ceilings can be quite thick, long screws are often the best choice. However, the type of plasterboard screws you need will be slightly different depending on the specifics of your wall or ceiling.

There are a couple of other types of plasterboard fixings, aside from plasterboard screws, including the following:

  • Nails: For thinner, hollow walls with no insulation it is usually a lot easier to use nails for plasterboard.
  • Nail-in anchors: Used for attaching plasterboards and wall frames to an external masonry wall - these fixings use special pre-drilled holes.
  • Adhesives: Sometimes adhesives are sufficient to fix boards - but not in most cases. Adhesives can not be used for ceiling areas. 

A combination of fixings may be best, such as adhesives alongside nails or screws if you are overboarding (fixing a new board to an existing board) or different types of fixings used only for certain sections of the wall or ceiling.

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To help determine what type of plasterboard screws might be right for you, we will answer a couple of commonly asked questions:

How many screws per plasterboard should I use?

Dry-lined walls and ceilings typically need a screw every 12 inches to 16 inches. Plasterboard screws are much stronger than nails, so you will need less of them when fixing your boards. Nails need to be placed every 6 inches to 8 inches, so you may need up to twice as many. 

What are the best screws for plasterboard? 

The best screws for plasterboard projects depend entirely on your situation. You can help find the right drywall screws with an assessment of your plasterboards. Heavy-duty and dense boards will require screws with larger lengths, thicknesses and threads. You can drill a pilot hole in the wall frame to determine the length.

How much weight can plasterboard screws hold?

Most manufacturers state that their plasterboards can hold up to 180 kg. However, the strength of the board is a key component of how strong the wall is and the loads it can bear - as a result, this is not an accurate measure of the amount of support available. A combination of denser boards, finer threads and longer or thicker fixings will increase the amount of holding power in a wall.

What size plasterboard screws should I use for timber frames? 

25 mm plasterboard screws are suitable for most types of timber wall frames. However, you may need a longer screw size to fit denser boards or to fix boards with additional layers - such as extra thermal insulation.

What length screws should I use for plasterboard ceilings?

For ceilings the minimum length of the screw is usually around 30 mm to 40 mm - this will give you enough support to counteract the effects of gravity. However, once again, denser boards may require much longer screws.

What screws are best for fixing very thick plasterboard? 

For thick boards, it is not the length so much as the thread that counts. Although you do need sufficient length to penetrate the board’s surface you will mostly need to use a screw with a sufficiently coarse thread to ensure the weight of the board is evenly spread.

What's better; Plasterboard nails or screws? 

For cavity fixings, nails may be better - but screws offer a higher level of support for most plasterboards. However, nails may be necessary for fixing plasterboard to some masonry walls. Nail holes are quite a lot smaller, so will be easier to cover when it comes time to paint or decorate the wall. Remember, you should never use nails for fixing plasterboard to ceilings.

What size screws do I need for a 15mm plasterboard?

No matter how thick your plasterboard is, you should be aiming for approximately 25 mm of penetration into the stud. As a result, a 40 mm long screw is usually all you need to fix plasterboards of 15 mm thickness.

Can you use normal screws for plasterboards?

Although you might be able to fix plasterboards with regular screws, plasterboard fixings use standardised threads, lengths and gauges to deliver a precise amount of support. As a result, you should always aim to use plasterboard screws for the best results.

How many screws should I use for each plasterboard? 

There is no hard and fast rule for how many screws to use, but for most sizes of board, 32 screws per panel should provide enough support.

How to fill plasterboard screw holes

You can fill the hole in your plasterboards with a jointing compound. By using a putty knife you can patch any holes you have made and create a smooth surface ready for decorating.

Plasterboard Screws Delivered Nationwide

Screws for plasterboard walls are much more secure than nails. The size of the screws depends on the thickness of the plasterboard walls, the density of the boards and whether you are using a timber or metal frame. In most cases, screws are the most appropriate choice for fixing. We have a full range of plasterboard screws and fixings available through our website.

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