A smart builder knows that deck screws are a much better choice than deck nails in most cases, despite the higher price. Screws tend to hold wood together much more effectively, whereas nails can allow wood to spread apart when that wood warps, cracks, splits, or otherwise becomes damaged. Choosing the best deck screws starts with planning out the project and figuring out if the deck will be exposed to the weather regularly. Generally, it is best to choose galvanized screws that are treated to resist water damage. Some screws feature an extra waterproof coating as well that will help extend the life of the hardware.
Such coatings are generally made from ceramic or epoxy. These materials will help extend the life of the screw, and they can even help prevent the screw from sliding out of place over time. The risk of using such screws, however, is binding: when drilling the screw into a board, the threads may bind up due to the extra material on the screw threads. This can compromise the strength of the screw and even lead to breakage. To counteract such binding, it is a good idea to pre-drill holes where the screws will be placed. This alleviates some of the pressure placed on the screw, thereby preventing it from being damaged.
The length of the deck screws will be an important consideration when choosing the best ones for your project. The correct length will generally depend on the types of materials you are using; you should choose deck screws that will be long enough to connect two boards together solidly, so you will need to measure the boards you are using to get a better idea of what length of screws you will need. Be sure to choose screws with flat heads that will lie flush with the tops of the boards once the screw has been driven. This will prevent the head from sitting above the level of the board and potentially causing damage or injury.
As is the case with other screws, you will need to decide what type of screwdriver you will be using before you purchase deck screws. The most common type of driver head is the Phillips head, which has a cross shape. This is an efficient way to drive screws, and many drill attachments feature a Phillips head. Other options are available, so be sure you choose screws that will work with the drivers you will be using.