When putting hard work and time into building something, you want it to last. Using fittings and fixtures that rust will cause your structure to deteriorate quickly, so choosing the right screws is crucial to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Stainless steel screws are the most rust-resistant. While other screws may have a rust-proof coating, stainless steel screws are rust-proof throughout, so they will not lose their integrity over time. They are also very hard-wearing and can hold a heavy load, meaning they are multi-purpose.
Rust is caused when there is a presence of iron, so choosing screws that do not contain iron, such as stainless steel, brass, and aluminum, will give good rust resistance. Carry on reading to find out more about the screws I recommend for the best anti-rust protection.
1. Stainless Steel Screws
Stainless steel screws are the most rust-proof screws available, as well as being one of the strongest.
While galvanized or zinc-plated screws are highly rust-resistant, stainless steel screws are my top choice as they will last the test of time and are created from a rust-resistant material.
Unlike galvanized or zinc-plated screws, which are only coated with rust-resistant materials, stainless steel screws will remain rust-resistant much longer.
Once the outer protective layer is worn away from galvanized or zinc-plated screws, the material underneath – usually black steel – can easily suffer from rust.
Therefore, in terms of rust-proof screws, it doesn’t get much better than stainless steel.
Be aware that plain steel screws are not the same as stainless steel and will rust very quickly.
For screws that will be visible in an interior setting, stainless steel screws will give a shiny polished finish.
2. Zinc Galvanized Screws
A galvanized screw is dipped into a protective coating of zinc.
This means they have a much thicker layer of protection than electro-plated screws (like the below zinc-plated option).
As such, the coating is very durable and will last longer, making them a good choice where rust is a concern.
3. Zinc-Plated Screws
A zinc-coated screw uses electricity to apply the zinc, which means the protective layer is thinner than a galvanized screw.
This makes them more prone to surface penetration.
Any penetration through the protective layer will render the screw vulnerable to rust.
Due to this thinner layer and the method in which it is applied, zinc-plated screws can leave black marks when used in wet areas and with particular types of treated timber.
As such, they are not recommended for outdoor use where this may be an issue.
However, the zinc-plated screw will be a good choice for projects like roofing and fencing.
Stainless steel, galvanized, and zinc-plated screws can all safely be used indoors in non-wet areas.
While stainless steel screws are the strongest, all three options yield sturdy, long-lasting results.
The look you wish to achieve, especially if the screw head will be on show, will depend on which screw you choose.
Zinc-plated or galvanized screws appear matte and industrial-looking, which may match the aesthetic you are creating.
4. Decking Screws
When looking to complete an outdoor project – a shed or a decking area, for example – you want to know that your hard work will last.
Nobody wants to spend hours toiling away for it to fall apart after a couple of years.
Thankfully, there are screws specially designed to help with corrosion and rust.
The hardiest screw you can use outside is the decking screw – a type of stainless steel screw coated in ceramic – which is very hard-wearing and weather-resistant.
5. Aluminum Screws
Aluminum screws are rust-resistant and very lightweight. However, they can oxidize when exposed to water.
As such, they are not suitable for damp areas (unless coated), as oxidation will lead to deterioration.
Aluminum screws are good if you’re looking for a lightweight screw, as they can hold a heavier load compared to their weight than other options.
6. Brass Screws
Another option for indoor use is the brass screw, which is best for lightweight projects where you require a polished finish.
They aren’t the strongest of the options but they are rust-resistant (as long as they aren’t in very wet areas) and will give longevity to your project.
Brass can also oxidize as it contains some copper, which can cause light corrosion.
However, silicone-coated brass screws avoid this corrosion.
Please note that the recommended products below are all available examples. Depending on the length and thickness you require, you may need to search for an alternative:
|Type||Rust Protection/Corrosion||Strength||Indoor/Outdoor/Both||Recommended Amazon Product|
|Stainless Steel||****||****||Both||CASAON Self Tapping Screws Kit|
|Galvanized||***||**||Indoor (non-wet areas)||FARRAY Wood Screws Assortment Kit|
|Zinc-Coated||***||**||Outdoor||BCP Fasteners Flat Phillips Head Wood Screws|
|Brass||**||***||Outdoor||Swordfish Brass Plated Wood Screw Assortment|
|Aluminum||**||***||Both||PULABO Aluminium Alloy Screws Kit|
Cheers, tools owners!