Different Types of Fasteners & Their Uses
When planning a build, you must select the right types of fasteners for each project phase. This work is easier said than done, as there are many instances where different fasteners could potentially be used to accomplish the same task.
For instance, when fastening two boards together to construct a deck, you could use either framing nails or screws.
To help simplify this process, we have created this crash course outlining the different types of fasteners. Let’s run through the common uses for the various construction fasteners and briefly discuss the ideal application of each.
Fasteners are small pieces of hardware that are used to connect or “fasten” two or more objects together. Most fasteners are used to build structures such as houses and sheds or to hold the various components of different machines together — often appliances like washing machines and ovens.
The different types of fasteners can be lumped into three broad categories — temporary, permanent, and semi-permanent. Technically, no types of fasteners are truly “permanent,” as all of them can be removed if necessary.
- Temporary Fastening – A temporary fastener is a type of fastener that can be easily removed after use. Temporary fasteners are often used to temporarily hold things together, such as parts of a machine that need to be taken apart for maintenance. Bolts, nuts, screws, washers, and lock pins are typically used in temporary fastening.
- Semi-permanent Fastening – For this type of fastening, the parts can be disconnected, but some damage usually occurs to the fastener. Examples include solder joints, rivet joints, and folded joints.
- Permanent Fastening – Permanent fasteners are designed for single use as a permanent joint between two materials. With this method, the parts will never come apart. Welding, soldering, and brazing are examples of permanent fasteners.
Construction workers use them to join wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials together. They’re used in the automotive industry to join panels together or attach parts like fenders. The average homeowner probably needs them for simple household items like cabinets and furniture. The list goes on.
- Wall installation
- Roofing projects
- Electronics manufacturing
- Furniture assembly
- Agricultural equipment
- Medical devices
- Flooring installation
Temporary fasteners are commonly used to assemble equipment because machinery will eventually need to be disassembled for maintenance or repair. Disassembling large equipment will make it easier to move or reposition as well.
Permanent fasteners are frequently used in the construction industry. They are excellent for attaching wood for house frames, decks, fences, and trusses. These items will likely never need to be disassembled.
Some of the most commonly used fasteners include the following:
Nails are by far the most basic type of fastener. They are metal spikes with a flat head opposite the pointed end. Nails do not have any threading, which makes them easy to differentiate from other types of fasteners. There are multiple types to choose from, such as:
- Common nails
- Finishing nails
- Drywall nails
- Flooring nails
- Framing nails
- Brad nails
- Roofing nails
From a technical standpoint, screws are cylindrical fasteners with a helix twisted around a shaft. Screws are available in several different diameters, lengths, and head types. Some types of screws, like those used in machines, do not come to a point. Conversely, sheet metal screws, masonry screws, and wood screws do. The most used screws include:
- Wood screws
- Masonry screws
- Deck screws
- Sheet metal screws
- Machine screws
- Drywall screws
- MDF screws
Nuts, bolts, and washers are used in conjunction with one another. Bolts are similar to screws in that they are cylindrical fasteners with helix threading. The most popular types of bolts are:
- Flange bolts
- Carriage bolts
- Plow bolts
- Hex-head bolts
- Square-head bolts
- Allen bolts
However, they have no point, and the threading does not commonly cut into the material being secured. So instead, a washer and nut are affixed to the opposite end of the bolt to create a wedge on either side of the seam being fastened together.
There are many types of nuts to choose from:
- Lock nuts
- Slotted nuts
- Square nuts
- Coupling nuts
- Flange nuts
- Hex nuts
- Wheel nuts
To pair with them, some of the most popular washers are:
- Flat washers
- Beveled washers
- Structural washers
- Lock washers
Anchors are inserted into holes within the material to which your project is being affixed. A screw is then driven into each anchor, causing the anchors to expand into the material. Anchors are primarily used when fastening objects to drywall or concrete. You’ll typically choose from:
- Internally threaded anchors
- Externally threaded anchors
- Masonry screw and pin anchors
- Screw anchors
- Hollow wall anchors
- Sleeve anchors
- Drive anchors
Rivets have cylindrical bodies, rounded heads, and a tail. These fasteners are primarily used when performing sheet metal work. Each rivet is forced through a hole in the sheet metal and into the material to which you are attaching the metal.
The head of the rivet prevents it from passing through the sheet metal and creates a firm connection between the two materials. There are several different types of rivets, such as:
- Blind rivets
- Semi-tubular rivets
- Solid rivets
- Split rivets
- Drive rivets
With the wide range of fasteners available today, choosing the right fastener for your application can be hard. In this guide, we’ve covered the different types of fasteners and their uses to help you out.
If you need construction-quality fasteners, Crane Point Industrial has got you covered. For 25+ years, our fastener supply company has proudly served the industrial, pallet, and construction industries. In addition, we carry quality tools, construction accessories, industrial safety equipment, Pump Jacks, and structural hardware.
Have questions? Contact our team today.