Tim Carter, the AsktheBuilder.com guru, shows you exactly how small nails and screws hold heavy pieces of drywall up on ceilings.
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Just about everybody knows what this is. It is just a piece of drywall and this is a smaller piece but you know how heavy a 4 x 8 sheet is or maybe a 4 foot x 12 foot sheet, it is enormously heavy, 50, 60, 70 pounds or more. Well think about it, when you go ahead and attach a piece of that drywall to a ceiling, you only use these little fasteners. So how in the world do these things hold up to the ceiling so it will not fall on your head? On the shank of the nail, you will see these little crews, we call them ring-shank nails and this basically turns the nail kind of into a screws that when it goes into the wood, it has kind of got barbs on it so it is very hard for that nail to come back out that is important. Number two, the shape of the underside of the head is critical, it is kind of flared a little bit and it is on that way on purpose so that when you drive it into the drywall, it will not tear the paper.
Let us talk about the screw now, check out the underside of the head of the screw that conical shape is called a bevel head. There is a lot of surface area there. So that when the screw penetrates through the drywall and catches that heavy paper on the face of the drywall, it holds onto it. Now, it is very important when you drive the screw in, you do not overdrive it and tear the paper. If you do that, then it loses all of its holding power.
The last thing I would like to show you is the tool that you use to put the nails on with. A typical hammerhead at the top of it has got a very squared edge and when you hit a piece of drywall too hard with it, you tear the paper. Remember, tearing the paper is bad. Here is what you will want to use, a drywall hammer. What is the difference? Two big things, the top is very smooth as it goes to the edges and it is very rounded and more importantly, it has got these cross-hatches in it. This is checking that actually puts an imprint into the paper so that the drywall mud that you cover the nail that are screw head with actually grabs on to that paper surface. It pays to have the right fasteners and right tools when you are hanging drywall.
I am Tim Carter for Ask the Builder. If you want to discover more home improvement tips go to AskTheBuilder.com.