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Attaching Fence panels, pressure treated with screws

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 27, 2009
661 posts
445 upvotes
Hamilton

Attaching Fence panels, pressure treated with screws

I'm about to put up standatd pressure treated fence panels. Everything I read suggests #8 deck screw 1 5/8 inch is the way to go. Yet I can find pretty much every other size except for that one.

Would it really matter if I went to #8 screw 1 1/2 in ?

Just want to make sure I'm not doing this job twice
8 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 18, 2017
1307 posts
874 upvotes
London, On
It will be fine until the fence comes down in a 95mph wind and you wish the screw had that extra eighth of an inch lol.
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 6, 2002
6328 posts
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Toronto
I would use GRK flat head screws (or equivalent no-corrosion exterior grade flat head screw bolt) if you want to do it right. Deck screws are going to rust and shear in the first strong wind after 5-6 years.

https://www.amazon.ca/GRK-RSS10212HP-Ha ... 000I1E9F8/
Si Tacuisses, Philosophus Mansisses
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 27, 2009
661 posts
445 upvotes
Hamilton
hoob wrote: I would use GRK flat head screws (or equivalent no-corrosion exterior grade flat head screw bolt) if you want to do it right. Deck screws are going to rust and shear in the first strong wind after 5-6 years.

https://www.amazon.ca/GRK-RSS10212HP-Ha ... 000I1E9F8/
Wow that’s really pricey way to go though. Maybe I’ll go to #8 screws 1 3/4 inch. I don’t imagine an eighth of an inch should make much difference in terms of splitting panels.
Member
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Dec 18, 2017
240 posts
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GVA
Stainless steel nails if you are using cedar. Otherwise you'll eventually get black stains coming out of the fastener holes.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 27, 2009
661 posts
445 upvotes
Hamilton
TheGreatGazoo wrote: Stainless steel nails if you are using cedar. Otherwise you'll eventually get black stains coming out of the fastener holes.
Not cedar in this case, pressure treated
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 16, 2008
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Vaughan
My fence was built using screws (green ones at that time) 17 years ago, the panels, boards are intact. I would use screws in your case. Make sure the screws are for outdoor fence (green or brown).
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Deal Fanatic
Jan 21, 2018
7187 posts
7684 upvotes
Vancouver
Deck screws are generally a bit brittle and don't have a lot of shear strength - they are meant to hold boards in place on a horizontal deck surface. A sharp sideways hit can easily snap one. For locations where you need shear strength, like the structural beams of a deck, you would use construction screws. But holding vertical fence boards in place is well within the reasonable limits of decks screws, so that would be fine. It's not like the wind is going to blow the screw apart. You don't have to worry about deck screws rusting. There is one concern to be aware of: the no-rust coating used on some screws can react with the zinc coating on galvanized steel brackets, so for that application you need to make sure you are using screws specifically designated to be ok for use with galvanized metal. But PT wood is obviously not an issue for anything intended as a deck screw.

The GRK screws are fantastic - even their deck screws are full construction-grade strength, and their fancy thread pattern bites beautifully with no pre-drilling required. But they cost a fortune.

Over years of maintaining outdoor decks and fences, the lesson I've learned is "nails bad, screws good". Nails are cheap, but they split the wood and jump-start the inevitable process of rot. If they are holding together anything where there is some force trying to pull the joint apart, they will eventually loosen and begin to pull out as the cycles of hot/cold and wet/dry work away at them, worsening rapidly as rot sets in. Screws hold well for the long term, and they can be removed and re-installed easily whereas the process of removing nails can be difficult and destructive. Hammering away on your fences and decks to drive in nails tends to loosen other nearby joints from the impact, whereas screws can be driven in nice and gently without disturbing anything else around them.

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