Ipe deck wood installation screws clips fasteners

When it comes to securing joist hangers, choosing the right fastener is crucial for structural integrity and longevity. Two popular options for attaching joist hangers are screws and nails. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and understanding their differences is essential for making an informed decision. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of joist hanger screws vs. nails, helping you determine which option is best suited for your specific requirements.

Joist Hanger Screws

Joist hanger screws offer several advantages over nails, making them a preferred choice for many builders and contractors. Here are some key benefits:

Increased Holding Power

One of the significant advantages of using joist hanger screws is their superior holding power. The threaded design of screws provides a stronger grip, ensuring that the hanger remains securely fastened to the supporting structure. This added stability can contribute to the overall strength and durability of the construction.


Unlike nails, screws are adjustable. If the hanger needs to be repositioned or adjusted during installation or in the future, screws can easily be loosened and tightened as needed. This adjustability allows for greater precision and flexibility during the installation process.

Resistance to Withdrawal

Screws are less likely to loosen or pull out over time compared to nails. Their threading creates resistance to withdrawal forces, which is particularly beneficial in areas with high wind loads or seismic activity. The enhanced resistance to movement makes joist hanger screws a reliable choice for long-term structural stability.

Reduced Risk of Splitting

When driven into wood, nails can sometimes cause the wood to split, compromising its integrity. In contrast, joist hanger screws are less likely to split the wood, thanks to their narrower shaft and sharper points. This advantage is especially important when working with dense or brittle wood species.

Joist Hanger Nails

While joist hanger screws have their advantages, nails also offer some benefits in certain scenarios. Consider the following aspects:


Nails are generally more affordable than screws, making them a budget-friendly option for large-scale projects or when cost is a significant factor. If you require a substantial number of fasteners, using nails can help keep expenses down without sacrificing functionality.

Faster Installation

Nailing is generally faster than screwing, especially when using a nail gun or pneumatic nailer. This speed can be advantageous for time-sensitive projects or situations where efficiency is crucial. Nailing also requires fewer steps compared to screwing, simplifying the installation process.


Nails offer a level of flexibility that screws do not. They allow for slight movement and expansion and contraction of the wood due to changes in moisture content or temperature. This flexibility can be beneficial in certain applications, such as decks or outdoor structures subject to environmental variations.

Making the Right Choice

In the debate between joist hanger screws and nails, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best choice depends on various factors, including the specific project requirements, structural considerations, and personal preferences.

If you prioritize increased holding power, adjustability, resistance to withdrawal, and reduced risk of splitting, joist hanger screws are likely the better option. On the other hand, if cost, speed, and flexibility are more important for your project, nails may be the more suitable choice. Ultimately, it is crucial to assess the unique needs of your project and consult with building professionals if necessary to ensure the hangers are securely fastened for long-lasting structural support.