The Ultimate Guide to Grip-Rite® Exterior Screws  

Choosing the perfect screws for your DIY projects can easily feel overwhelming. With so many brands to choose from, and just as many varieties, it’s hard to know where to start. 

Never fear! Grip-Rite® has you covered. Our Ultimate Guide to Grip-Rite ® Screws is your go-to resource for making the best decision on the perfect screw type for your exterior projects. 

You shouldn’t have to stress out when it comes to choosing which screws to use on your dream deck. Using the right screw on home projects can make a significant difference in structural integrity and longevity. 

We’re taking a deep dive into the details to help you decide which Grip-Rite® screws you should use! 

Why use screws? 

Screws, or fasteners in building products industry terms, are one of the best choices for weekend warriors. For woodworking and decking, they’re our favorite because they provide the most flexibility. With an electric driver, they’re easy to install, and just as easy to remove for adjustments. They also have more tensile strength than nails and create tighter, longer lasting joints. 

At Grip-Rite®, our engineers continue to innovate! We’ve brought new screws to the market designed to make your projects feel easier at every step of the process. 

How to choose the right screw for your project 

Looking at the Grip-Rite® family of screws, you’ll notice that we have lots of options. We’re starting with the most important items to consider here.  

Before you decide which to purchase, consider these factors. 


The material you build your project out of often dictates the type of screws you’ll purchase. Common building materials like wood and composite decking use specifically designed screws for the best results.  


If your project is exposed to the elements or moisture, you’ll want to use an exterior screw rated for that environment. This ensures you’re not dealing with nasty stains or rusting because they have the wrong coating. 

Final Look 

More rustic applications may have space for exposed screw heads as an aesthetic choice. But if you want them to disappear, you’ll want to explore some of the different head styles available in the Grip-Rite® catalogue. 

Screw Head Types and Drive Style 

Starting at the top of the screw, you’ll notice that each design has a different type of head. Beyond that, they all have a drive style, like Phillips or Star Drive, where your tool-tip fits during install.  

Screw Head Types 

Bugle Head screws are one of the more common designs on the market. They don’t require pre-drilled pilot holes and allow a clean final product with the head flush to the material. 

Trim Head screws are ideal for decorative molding or trim. They have a narrow profile and are easy to conceal in a finished project. 

The Wedge Lock Head is a patent pending product from the engineers at Grip-Rite®. Tiny wedges on the underside of the screw head lock it in place when it’s flush with your building material. Check out the Grip-Rite® DeckForce exterior wood screws for this feature. 

Undercut Head screws have a smaller footprint and are easier to conceal in a final product. Perfect for use with composite building materials, it prevents bulging and countersinks easily. 

Key Term: When you countersink a screw, you drive the head flush or just below the surface of the material. Some screw types are designed for easy countersinking. Be careful not to overdrive when countersinking as it can split material or damage the screw itself. 

Drive Style 

#2 Philips drive was introduced in the mid 1900s as an alternative to slot-headed screws. You’ll recognize it by the iconic cross design in the center of the screw head. When purchasing screws, pay attention. There are five types sold and each driver is designed to match. 

Star or Torx drive provides a firm, slip-free connection between the screw head and tool tip.  

Key Term: Cam out occurs when the tool tip of your driver slips out of the screw head. To avoid cam out, make sure you have the right tool for the job and always drive at a 90-degree angle.  

Shank and Thread 

Moving down the body of the screw, the shank and thread type impact how easy it is to drive and how well it holds on. The shank is everything from below the screw head to where the thread begins. 

Shank Types 

Smooth shank screws don’t have any features between the head and beginning of the threads. For joining two pieces of wood, these are ideal because they reduce friction and the likelihood of splitting. 

Reverse threads on the shank keep joined materials tightly together without slipping or splitting. 

Diamond file shanks are perfect for decking! Once installed, they’re unlikely to slip out over time and are coated to prevent corrosion. 

Thread Types 

Coarse threads are more spaced out than some other thread types and bring strength and durability to the screw. Perfect for joining softer materials. 

Dual-action auger threads make installation easy! You’ll need very little force to drive these screws into wood and composite materials. This innovative feature appears on the Grip-Rite® DeckForce exterior wood screws

Hi-Lo threads are designed to minimize material displacement during installation. With two different thread heights, they’re excellent at resisting pull-out from vibration over time. Look for this feature in the Grip-Rite® DeckForce exterior composite screw family. 

Point Type and Coating 

Depending on the materials you’re joining with your Grip-Rite® screws, different points and coatings can make your job easier and prolong the life of your project. 

Point Types 

Sharp point screws are the industry standard for wood and treated wood applications. In most cases, you won’t need a pilot hole for these screws to do their job quickly and easily. Some materials are prone to splitting, however, and pre-drilling may be necessary. 

Type 17 tip screws feature an auger point that makes pre-drilling a thing of the past. These screw tips help keep material from splitting during installation.  

Type 17 AutoPilot tip provides stability and accuracy. It’s easy to install without pre-drilling and reduces splintering and slippage. 

Type 17 Saw tip screws are specifically engineered for use in composite decking materials. While we recommend pre-drilling, you won’t have to worry about bulging material when you’re done. 


Stainless Steel screws aren’t coated but provide a corrosion resistant screw for use in areas with high humidity. Perfect for around pools or on the coast, they’re featured in the Grip-Rite® PrimeGuard MAX® family of exterior screws. 

PrimeGuard® 10 coated screws come with a ten-year warranty when used in a typical outdoor environment application. Provided the coating isn’t compromised during installation, we stand by our product for up to ten years! 

PrimeGuard Plus® is our premium coating formula that’s guaranteed to protect against rust and corrosion for the serviceable life of the project. As long as you’re using our products as intended, you shouldn’t ever have a problem. 

PrimeGuard® Nano is our most innovative coating available. Using nanotechnology, this seal keeps out the most corrosive environmental elements. Even better, the coating is guaranteed for the lifetime of the project. 

Other Features 

Beyond the factors we’ve mentioned, many of our products come in a range of colors to best match your project. Look for the perfect shade at your local hardware store. 

Choosing the right screws can set you up for success! 

With the Grip-Rite® family of screws, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your backyard projects! Check out your local home improvement retailer for the best selection of Grip-Rite® DeckForce®, PrimeGuard®, and PrimeGuard MAX® products. 

That’s a wrap on the Grip-Rite® Ultimate Guide to Fastener Solutions. We’ve got the screws to ensure you get the job done right. Explore our vast portfolio of fasteners, other building products, and tools and accessories.