Everything You Need to Know About Self Drilling Screws

Screws, as we know them today, have been around for over 3 centuries. Although that might sound like a lot of time, when compared to the very first screws in recorded history, it is not. The very first screws were used in the 1st century B.C. and they were made out of wood. Metal was not as easy to shape into small usable pieces back then, which is why wood was the preferred material.

Since the 1700s, mass production of screws has been a thing, especially with the invention of the screw-cutting lathe in 1770. All kinds of similar machinery were invented after that which led to different types of screws being made in the early 1900s. One of these screws were self-drilling and self-tapping.

Is There a Difference Between Self-Tapping Vs Self Drilling Screws?

The main difference between self drilling self tapping screws is that the former can drill themselves while the latter can cut their own thread. Self-drilling screws are capable of going through thicker material including walls. Self-tapping screws, on the other hand, are only able to go through thin sheets of metal and they do require a pre-drilled hole. Self-drilling screws however do not as they drill their way through.

Types of Self Drilling Screws

With Wings

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When you want to be able to drill through thick and heavy-duty materials like metal you should consider using self-drilling screws with wings. The wings are what enable this type of self drilling screw to enlarge a hole even in a wall. This then makes it easy for the thread and the rest of the screw to enter. You won’t find a type of self-drilling screw that is as easy to install and pierce through different kinds of materials as one with wings.


Source: goodgave.com

A countersunk self-drilling screw is available in a wide variety of sizes and subtypes. Countersunk self-drilling screws are available with and without wings which makes the most versatile self-drilling screws. You can find a countersunk self-drilling screw for just about any project.

Low Profile

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When you need unobtrusive fixing, you should use a low profile self-drilling screw. Why? Because not only do they come in all kinds of subtypes, low profile self-drilling screws also make for an adaptable solution. You can use the features present on one type of low profile self-drilling screw to implement it in multiple different applications. You also get to use a self-drilling screw that will almost blend in with the surroundings making for an aesthetically pleasing finish.

What Are Self Drilling Screws Used For?

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Although not as common of material for self-drilling screws to be used on, wood still requires some type of fastener to be used, especially when woodworking. Self-drilling screws happen to be the most common one, in this case. You can use a self drilling screw to repair and maintain sheds and outbuildings and for general construction too.


Surprisingly enough self-drilling screws can also be used with plastic. For example, you can fasten sheets of various plastic components together using self-drilling screws. You may not need self-drilling screws with wings in this case but you can make use of less heavy-duty solutions. Usually when working with plastic piping and ductwork is when you’d use self-drilling screws in plastic applications.


The most common application for self-drilling screws as you already know is metal. Self-drilling screws can be used to join together metal sheets and fasten metal sheets to a different material. Because of this, self-drilling screws can be used with steel frames, ductwork, HVAC systems, and metal roofing amongst many other things.

Using Self Drilling Screws

The best way to use self-drilling screws is with a drill as it ensures a perfect installation every single time. But for you to install a self-drilling screw with a drill, you need to have a hex adapter on the drill. The screw needs to be fitted onto the adapter and then drilled through the marked point on the material or wall. Make sure to keep a firm and steady grip on the drill as you use it to get the screw into place.


Fasteners are found all around us. They come in different sizes and shapes, with some more capable than others. There are unique fasteners like self-drilling screws which do half the work for you. It’s important to know though that not every application will be suitable for you to use a self-drilling screw. But in most applications where you need to bind two materials together, self-drilling screws are a warm welcome. As long as you choose the right type of self-drilling screw you will know that you’ve done a good job with the right hardware that will keep your project running for a long time.