Nails or Screws for Fence: which is more Preferred

Are you thinking of putting up that fence but don’t know which fastening technique is best? Have you tried one method and want to see if another one would do the job better? You will find all the answers right here and right now

In this article, we will be reviewing two fastening methods. Nails or screws for fences. We will try to see the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using either of the two. You have a lot to learn so do pay close attention.

This is not an easy decision to make as it concerns a building project. Any wrong step or decision could put your whole work at risk of falling apart. You will see just how you can get on the right track.

nails or screws for fence

Nails vs Screws for Fence – Which one should you use:

Using nails for your fence

The goal of building a fence is to see to it that it stands firm and strong. If that objective is defeated, you’ll not only lose your fence, you also stand a chance of hurting yourself or somebody else.

To use your nail for your fence, you would actually need to use a hammer or mallet. That, of course is if you decide to use hammer the old fashioned way. You could also use a nail gun which could sometimes prove abortive if the wood is too tough for the nail’s strength.

Can nails really do the job for you better than screws? We’re going to find out about that in this section of the article.

What types of nails are used for fences? Why do they matter?

You may wonder why it matters what kind of nails you use for your wall. Here are three of the best nails for your fence and why they actually matter.

1.Stainless steel

Stainless Steel nails fence
Stainless Steel nails=>

These nails are solid, reliable, and dependable. You rest assured it is going to hold every plank in place for as long as you want. However, these nails cost so much and a lot of people forego them for other types.

Stainless steel nails can pierce through the hardest woods. If they are long enough, they’re capable of piercing through two tough nails without getting crooked or breaking.

2) Ring-shanked nails

Ring shanked nails fence
Ring shanked nails =>

These ones will pierce, not so smoothly, through tough woods but you rest assured they’ll keep the pieces together for very long. The ring-shank makes them rough and difficult to slide out.

When using this nail, you want to make sure that everything you’re nailing is accurate. If you need to have them removed from the wood, you could damage the construction. The nails could cause a chasm in the wood.

3) Aluminium spiral-cut nails:

Aluminium spiral cut nails
Aluminium spiral cut nails=>

these ones are a bit similar to the ring-shanked nails. They also have that roughness about them that gives them the tightness they need to hold on to just about any wood.

They work almost in the form of screws. One major good feature you’ll enjoy from these nails is that they’re actually aluminium. This simply means that you can have them in brightly coloured woods and not worry about rust.

The downside to using smooth nails like stainless steel nails is the simple fact that they could end up falling off after a while. You have your fence built and you want it to last long for you. If the nail isn’t long enough to hold both kinds of wood together, they wouldn’t have any other support system.

Advantages of using nails for your fence:

What are the possible advantages you’ll get when you hold your fence in place using just nails?

a) It goes in faster:

you might wonder what could make it go faster than screws. This is simple. When you compare it closely to screws, you’ll find out that doing both of them either manually or automatically, nails go in faster.

Hammering the nails in would definitely be faster than manually tightening a screw with a screwdriver. This aspect is also in favour of nails when comparing a nail gun (nailer) to a machine driver.

b) It is difficult to pull out:

you rest assured that nobody can easily take off your fence and put it right back up without you being aware of it. You would have to collapse the entire fence to be able to take the nail out.

c) You can straighten them out and use them again:

Imagine trying to drive a nail into a strong wood and it bends. You can easily pull it out and straighten it out for use again.

Disadvantages of using nails for your fence

We have taken a broad look at the possible advantages that your nails would have over your screws. Now, let us take a look at the disadvantages.

a) It is difficult to pull out:

remember how we listed this among the advantages? Well, it can also be a disadvantage in some cases.

If you have wrongly nailed two pieces of wood together and you don’t want that anymore, you would find it very difficult to pull it out. Sometimes you would even have to cut out that portion of wood just so you can get rid of the nail.

b) You can hardly nail with precision:

hammering a nail into a piece of wood can feel like walking on a line. You would need a lot of focus and concentration to drive it in completely.

c) You can easily hurt yourself:

if you have used a hammer and nail up to three times, you would have hit your finger with the hammer at least once. Extra carefulness and caution need to be maintained when using nails.

d) It requires extra force:

unless you’re using your nail gun which also requires machine force, you would need a lot of energy to push the nail in.

Using screws for a fence:

In choosing between nails or screws for the fence, one can simply say if you don’t get it nailed, then you’re probably getting it screwed. That was a joke by the way. However, we need to look at what screws do that may be better.

So many people have the wrong idea about screws. They believe that it is used only in electronics or mechanical engineering. That isn’t the case. What if I tell you right now that screws can actually hold your fence stronger than some nails? Would you doubt it? Well, let’s see.

What types of screws are used for fences? Why do they matter?

If you’re interested in building your wooden fence using screws, then below should be some of the screws you have seen or heard of:

a) Galvanized screws:

Galvanized screws fence
Galvanized screws=>

these screws will work magic if you’re using them on cedar woods or untreated wood. They are secured from rusting which could stain your wood because they are made with zinc coating.

b) Silicon bronze screws:

silicon bronze wood screws
silicon bronze wood screws=>

This is another set of screws that are resistant to rust. They are made with a metal alloy which protects them from rusting even when they are thrown in water.

If you’re planning a fence which is close to a river or a lake, this is your best bet.

c) Deck screws:

Deck screws
Deck screws=>

These ones will come in handy when you’re trying to build a fence with pressure-treated woods. They will protect the wood from corrosion with their epoxy coating.

d) Lag screws:

Lag screws for fence
Lag screws for Fence=>

These are some of the most versatile screws you’ll find for nailing your fence. They have a really strong bonding and can hold any kind of wood in place.

They also come in hexagonal heads, uncoated steel, stainless steel, galvanized, and silicon forms.

Well, now that we’re through talking about this, let’s put some more focus on the reviews part which would include the advantages and disadvantages of using screws for the fence.

Advantages of using Screws for fence

Below are some of the advantages that you’ll enjoy when you choose screws for your wooden fences.

1. They’re easier to drive in:

unlike with nails that may require a lot of force and energy to drive in especially when you’re doing it manually, screws make for a much easier option.

You only have to stick the screwdriver or machine driver into it and drive it right in. Not much strength is required, you don’t need to be Mark Henry to do it.

2. You can easily pull them out:

as opposed to using nails, screws would come off a lot more easily. You simply have to twist it the other way and voila, it’s all out. Simple as that.

This option makes it ten times easier for you to correct a construction mistake

3. Precision is perfect:

you don’t need to have practised walking on a line to be able to do this. Just place the screw on the board and drive it in with your screwdriver or your machine.

4. It is difficult to hurt yourself:

you can hardly hurt yourself when using screws. You don’t have to hit anything, you don’t have to be too careful, you just have to do your job.

Disadvantages of using Screws for the Fence:

a) A lot of the screws are short:

this is going to be a problem if you’re trying to join two big planks of wood.

b) It takes more time:

unlike with nails where you just have to hammer it once or two times, screws will require a little extra time. You have to turn and twist and drive all the way down. This makes it time-consuming

c) You cannot straighten them out:

once bent, that’s it, you have to throw it away. If you try to straighten it out, you would have to eventually use it as a nail because the spiral would have been stretched out.

Now, let us look at something even more interesting. . .

Ring-shanked nails vs Screws for a Fence:

You may wonder since these two actually have spirals that help them hold on to the wood more strongly, which one should be preferable.

The answer to that question includes the following:

a) Preferences:

what do you need the fastening equipment for? How do you want to use it? Do you care if it would stress you to use one instead of the other?

b) The length:

as mentioned earlier, screws are hardly ever very long, hence, you would need nails for projects which have to do with joining big woods.

c) The purpose:

you must consider why you want to use fastening equipment. Do you want to just fasten two planks of wood together or you want to give the finished work a certain kind of outlook? That would depend on your purpose.

How many Screws Per fence Picket:

Different people have different views about how many nails or screws should be used in their fence pickets. In the section we are going to look at how you choose how many should be used:


don’t get confused, what that means is that you would need to use a lesser number of screws for your picket if your screws are long.

Long screws can hold two planks of wood together more firmly so there “may” not be any need for too many


this also simply means that the shorter the screws, the more of them you should use for your picket. As opposed to longer screws, short screws would not be able to create such a hold so you would need to use more.

It is advised, however, that you maintain a solid number of two screws for your pickets. Well, that is if you don’t want your fence to fall apart anytime.


Always remember that whenever you’re choosing nails or screws for fence, you must know that the decision would depend on your preferences, what you’re building, and the compatibility of either of these two with exactly what you want the end product to be. Hope this information was helpful.

Last Updated on March 20, 2021 by Rogers Weber

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