Fasteners can be found in all sorts of everyday objects. You must have used them in your DIY projects too. For professionals and homeowners, fasteners come in handy during all their projects. Here we have curated information on what a fastener is, what are the types of fasteners available in the market, and a few FAQs around fasteners. Let’s get started!
First Things First: What is a Fastener?
The term “fastener” signifies a broad category of tools like screws, rivets, and anchors. All these tools share a common purpose: mechanically binding objects. Of course, you must have thought even glue could do this job but fasteners come in handy when there are heavy objects involved. Generally, fasteners form a non-permanent joint which you can remove at your convenience.
When you use a fastener to connect two objects, you may or may not remove it. The separate pieces will come apart with no damage. However, the case of welded joints is not so as there will be some damage to the two separate surfaces. Also, rivets are something that is used to make permanent joints on two separate surfaces or components, despite it being a fastener.
Fasteners usually create non-permanent joints which do not indicate that the joints are weak by any means and that the two joined components can be taken apart. They reliably hold objects together that experience a ton of stress (this is where glue becomes unreliable). Fasteners are a great choice for both non-permanent and permanent joints, providing versatility for the type of projects you can incorporate them in.
Different Types of Fasteners
Mechanical fasteners come in different forms like rivets, anchors, washers, bolts, nuts, nails, and screws. Each of these different types of fasteners is a category in itself. If you have ever been on the fastener section in a hardware store, you must have noticed the wide variety they are available. Let’s take a look at each of the common types of fasteners and break down the details.
Screws are the first thing that comes to mind when the word “fastener” is uttered. Screws are the types of fasteners that serve a very versatile purpose in many different projects. They have threaded shafts that give them the power to hold together two components, serving the purpose with utmost durability. Screws do not require any support to serve their purpose of holding two components together unlike bolts. You need to drill a pilot hole onto a surface and use a screwdriver to drive the screw into the hold. These types of fasteners come in a wide range of sizes and types. Some of the types of screws are:
- Wood screws: These types of screws have a tapered head and coarse threads.
- Deck screws: These types of screws are similar to wood screws but have a self-tapping design and can be used for corrosion-free outdoor applications.
- Drywall screws: These types of screws have a self-tapping head that can countersink with no damage to the drywall.
- Sheet metal screws: These screws have sharp heads that can be used to connect metal to other materials.
- Machine screws: Machine screws have untapered ends at their bottom and come in a uniform thickness.
- Masonry screws: These types of screws have a hex-head design with a flat tip.
- MDF screws: These screws can self-tap without material splitting.
Nails have been the most commonly used type of fasteners. The difference between a nail and a screw can be easily spotted as nails don’t have threading. Nails do not have the same power to hold a joint like the screws because of no threads. However, it has a huge shear strength making it preferable for certain applications. Most nails take their names from their applications such as brad nails, common nails, and box nails. Each type of nail has specific characteristics which make them suitable for applications or materials at hand. Here are some common types of nails:
- Common nails: These types of nails have a thick shank that makes them capable of holding heavyweights. However, its thick head will be visible over the surface.
- Box nails: Box nails are easy to drive in as they are made of steel and have a diamond tip point.
- Brad nails: These types of nails can easily blend into wood trim.
- Finishing nails: These are types of nails with detailed work and a small, flat head. The head blends in with most projects such as crown molding.
- Drywall nails: They easily conceal and reduce slippage.
- Flooring nails: These nails are used along with a wide range of flooring materials.
- Framing nails: These types of nails have a wide range of styles that are often designed for easy concealment and flush installation.
- Roofing nails: Roofing nails are anti-corrosive with a wide head.
3. Washers, Bolts, and Nuts
Bolts and nuts are another most common type of fastener that is in tandem to hold two different components together. You can insert a bolt through the parts you want to join and then fasten them together in place with a nut at the end. There are some different types of bolts that you need to know:
- Carriage bolts: Carriage bolts have countersunk or domed heads along with a square component underneath the heat to keep the bolt in place while tightening the nut.
- Flange bolts: These types of bolts have a circular flange underneath the head so the loads can be distributed evenly.
- Plow bolts: Plow bolts are used for heavy-duty applications such as heavy equipment. They serve their purpose with non-protruding heads.
- Hex-head bolts: As the name suggests, these types of bolts have 6 sides and come with machine threads.
- Square-head bolts: these types of bolts have a square head and offer an easy grip for wrenches.
- Allen bolts: Allen bolts have hexagonal sockets and are used with Allen wrenches.
There are also different types of nuts. Here are their details:
- Coupling nuts: These types of nuts are hex-shaped and are used to join together two male threads.
- Flange nuts: Flange nuts have a wide, serrated flange at one end. It serves the same function as a washer but with no added movements.
- Hex nuts: These nuts are the most common types of nuts that feature a hex shape with internal threads.
- Locknuts: Locknuts are designed to prevent materials from getting loose because of vibrations.
- Slotted nuts: These types of nuts have sections cut out in them and along with a cutter ping they create a locking mechanism.
- Square nuts: These nuts feature a square shape and are used for a greater area.
- Wheel nuts: Wheel nuts are the type of nuts used to secure wheels on vehicles.
Bolts and nuts can function on their own but sometimes they need a washer in between them to serve their purpose accurately. Washers are flat disc that has an opening at their center. It can distribute the load on the fastener evenly across the entire surface of the material. They are of different types too, such as,
- Beveled washers: These types of washers provide stability to non-parallel surfaces while attaching them.
- Flat washers: These types of washers are thin and round.
- Lock washers: Lock washers use a wide range of mechanisms to prevent bolts, screws, and nuts from getting loose because of vibrations.
- Structural washers: These washers are thick and are used for heavy-duty applications.
As their name suggests, anchors serve the purpose of anchoring similar to a boat’ anchor. An anchor embeds itself into the seabed and keeps the ship from moving. Usually, people use these types of fasteners to connect a component to a material like concrete or drywall. These anchor fasteners embed themselves into the material and hold the component that you are trying to affix in place. There are different types of anchors, such as,
- Drive anchors
- Sleeve anchors
- Hollow wall anchors
- Screw anchors
- Masonry pin and screw anchors
- Externally threaded anchors
- Internally threaded anchors
Rivets are the type of fastener used to create a permanent joint between two separate objects. These types of fasteners have a cylindrical shaft with a head at one end and a tail at its other end. You may use a unique tool to expand the rivet’s tail so that it can stay in one place. These are remarkably durable fasteners and come in different types:
- Drive rivets
- Split rivets
- Solid rivets
- Semi-tubular rivets
- Blind rivets
The Bottom Line
Fasteners are in demand to build anything and everything, starting from garages and houses to towers and bridges. Different types of fasteners hold different types of materials together. High-quality fasteners are vital for all kinds of applications and are extremely crucial in the construction industry. Hope our page gives you some information on the most common types of fasteners.