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Buyer’s guide to nails, screws and wall plugs

As a DIY beginner, or as an expert, screws, nails and wall plugs can be difficult to understand. Before starting any job, make sure you know exactly what to use.


Nails come in all different shapes and sizes. For outdoors, use zinc-plated galvanised nails – they help to delay rusting.

Types of Nail

  • Clout – For fixing slates and window sash cords.

  • Felt nail/large-head clout – For attaching roofing felt. Shorter than the clout nail.

  • Cut floor brad – To fix floorboards to joists and has a rectangular cross section.

  • Lost-head – Can be punched below the surface with a pin punch. Round head.

  • Masonry nail – Grips well in breeze blocks and bricks. Used for fixing wood to masonry.

  • Oval wire nail – oval shape helps to prevent wood from splitting when hammered in.

  • Panel pin nail – Slim and small. Easily punched in. Used for attaching mouldings, joinery and general carpentry.

  • Plain-head wire nail– General purpose round nail. Can sometimes cause wood to split, so take care.

  • Plasterboard nail – Jagged shank helps to grip plasterboard.

  • Rink shank nail – Round with rings around the shank to make fixing more secure. Use for laying sub-floors and pinning exterior trim (where it unlikely to be removed).

For more information, give us a call or pop into one of our Thompson and Parkes stores!


Screws are usually made from mild steel, but others such as hardened and stainless steel, solid brass and steel plated are also ava

ilable. Remember to use galvanised rust-proof screws for outdoors.

Types of Screw

  • Carcass screw – Thick shank and coarse thread. Can be used for securing chipboard.

  • Chipboard screw– Deep thread extending to the head. Good for both wood and chipboard.

  • Coach screw – square or hexagonal head and driven in with a spanner. Very strong fixing.

  • Countersunk woodscrew – Single threaded. Needs a drilled pilot hole and shank clearance hole before fitted.

  • Dry wall screw – Twin-threaded. For fixing plasterboard or fibreboard timer studs.

  • Hardened-steel woodscrew – Double threaded. Fast insertion, no need for a pilot hole if screwing into softwood.

  • Masonry screw – A strong screw that can be driven into masonry without using a wall plug.

  • Raised-head woodscrew – Countersunk to the rim of the head. Use for decorative hardware fittings.

  • Security screw – Countersunk head prevents the screw being removed once it’s in place.

  • Self-tapping screw – Cuts own thread in thin sheet metal and plastic.

For more information regarding screw gauges and the anatomy of a screw, or any other questions, pop into one of our Thompson & Parkes stores, email us or give us a call!

Wall Plugs

A normal screw won’t stay in masonry without a wall plug. The wall plug holds the screw in place by the sides expanding grip of the hole when the screw is driven in. Wall plugs are ideal for both construction tasks and DIY home jobs.

The size of drill is printed on the side of the ‘tree’.

Types of Wall Plug

  • Hammer in plugs – Good for fixing timber battens to masonry. Inserted to a drill hole with a hammer, then completed with a screw. There is a different design available for plasterboard (fangled expansion sleeves fitted with masonry nail).

  • Moulded plastic wall plugs – Split ends. Takes a range of screw lengths and gauges.

  • Straight plastic plugs – Tubes with ribs running lengthways. Takes screw threads only, so must be cut shorter than the depth of the hole.

For any further questions or queries, remember to pop into one of our stores, or give us a quick call 01562 745 881 (Kidderminster) 01746 718 414 (Oreton).

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For information on stock availability or for specific requirements, speak to any of our team today.
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Kidderminster Branch

Oldington Trading Estate,

Stourport Road,



DY11 7QP


Tel: 01562 745881


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Stourport DIY, Decorating, Gardening

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DY13 8AB

Tel: 01299 534545


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Oreton Branch


Cleobury Mortimer


DY14 0TH

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