Using Drywall Screws For Building A Deck

by Diane Acton
(Evansville, IN )

I recently had a deck built and when a friend came to look at it I was told the contractor should not have used drywall screws on the Pressure Treated Wood. Is this so - are there codes against this?

Editor's Comments

It is a very bad idea to use dry wall screws with treated lumber. There are certainly ASTM codes which set out the coating specifications for certain types of fasteners to be used with ACQ treated lumber.

This is potentially a very bad thing because dry wall screws are for indoor use and are never in contact with copper and the other chemicals used to treat exterior deck boards.

What is likely to happen if you use drywall screws for building a deck is that the screws will begin to corrode and ultimately dissolve away. So you can imagine all the possible outcomes and none of them are good.

Clearly, this builder does not know this and should get up to speed with his or her building knowledge right away. They should also come back and remove the drywall screws and replace them with an ACQ compatible screw.

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Oct 27, 2020
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editor correct, comment not NEW
by: Anonymous

The comment about the time it would take to corrode is not correct. It might be if the conditions were simply the screw exposed to weather. As the deck is pressure treated the dissimilar metals will cause galvanic corrosion and weaken the drywall screws much faster. If the pt wood could stay dry this also might not be a concern but being a deck it will get wet often enough to ensure this happens. Follow the editor's advise op and anyone that sees this in the future.

May 05, 2020
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On the contrary NEW
by: Anonymous

Actually, this is correct only to a degree. Drywall screws will corrode over time but about 12-16 years in. Deck screws only offer about 2-4 years on the drywall screw, even with corrosion. With that said, the time it would take to erode your drywall screws, you're planks would already need replacement by then.

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