Cabinet Screws: Types, Sizes and Uses

Cabinet screws are screws made to secure kitchen wall cabinets to the wall. They are also known as washer-head or bottom head screws, which is the perfect screw for fastening kitchen cabinets to the wall. 

They are essential for kitchen cabinets because they possess aggressive thread designed for extra hold and self-tapping for penetration without splitting. They equally are made with a square drive or Torx head, which is a large head to hold the cabinet firmly.

Generally, a screw is a broad category of mechanical fasteners with a threaded shaft designed to screw into a part. Common examples of screws are the wood screws and self-topping screws, which have a tapered shaft with sharp threads designed to cut a mating thread in the part to which they are fastened. It also includes machine screws, which resemble bolts in shape but have a complete threaded shaft.

Screws exist in abundance, with one screw for every need and purpose. With such specificity in their purposes, it is essential to know the screw types required, when it is required, and how best to use them. 

Types of Cabinet Screws

There is no denying that cabinet installation is a delicate exercise that requires the right tools for the right purpose. As such, it’s essential you use the right screws for the right wood and wall.

These categories typically differentiate cabinet screws: 

  • Screw heads
  • Drive types
  • Thread styles 

Screw Heads

screw heads

If this is your first time working with screws, you may not think much about the shape of your screw’s head, but in reality, they define how your cabinet looks when you are done working on it, and they also determine how much force is needed to drive them into your cabinet. Screw heads are divided into countersunk screw heads and non-countersunk screw heads.

Countersunk Screw Heads

These screw heads require a countersinking process, which is simply a way to prevent wood from splitting when we drill into them. It will give your cabinet a better and professional-looking finish.

  • Flat Head
flat head screw

A flat head screw is a countersunk design screw that attaches seamlessly to a cabinet without exposing its head. The head can be completely hidden with screw covers/cover caps or adhesive.

  • Raised Head
Raised heads

Raised heads or oval-shaped heads look similar to flat head screws, but theirs look more like a dome. The noticeable difference between them is that raised heads are not hidden. 

  • Bugle Head
bugle head screw

Bugle head screws also look similar to flatheads, but they have a curved shape underneath the surface of the head that helps reduce damage to a surface. They are mainly used for drywalls. 

  • Washer Head
washer head screw

Washer head screws are pretty popular among carpenters as they are used for making and mounting cabinets. This type of screw prevents overdriving in softwoods. 

Non-Countersunk Screw Heads

Non-countersunk screw heads are the direct opposite of countersunk ones. Their heads come with no angles, and they are made to stay outside the cabinet’s surface. The most common types are:

  • Domed Head Screws
domed head screw

Domed heads are aesthetically appealing. They look really nice on the surface, and their flat inner part helps secure them properly. They are suitable for projects that do not require a hidden screw head. 

  • Flange Head Screws
flange head screw

Sometimes known as frame screws, these screws are either circular or hexed. These are the same screws used in making bed frames, and the flanges help to secure their position.

  • Binding Head Screws
binding head screw

Search no further for multipurpose screws; binding heads can be used for any type of woodwork, including cabinets. There is a long and short type of it.

Drive Types

screw drives

The drive type of any screw you use is thoroughly up to you. It only dictates the type of tool you will use to install it in a cabinet.

  • Phillips Drive
phillips drive screw

Phillips drive was introduced as far back as the 1900s and is one of the most common drives for screws. Its cross shape is what helps it to avoid getting it drilled wrongly. 

  • Pozi Drive
pozi drive screw

Pozi drives are typically used for drawer slides and hinges. This drive is very similar to the Phillips drive; it has more grooves that create star shape, and there are marks set in the grooves that help you set them apart. You can’t use a Phillips screwdriver on a Pozi screw despite their similarities. 

  • Square Drives 
Square drives

Square drives or square recess drives have a square shape on their heads, hence the name. The recess is tapered so that the tool fits and stays firmly without holding it down. They are also referred to as Robertsons.

  • Quadrex Drive

The quadric drive is a combination of the square and Phillips drive. It looks exactly like a Phillips drive but has a square shape instead of a cross. It is sometimes referred to as Phillips square drive.

  • Slotted Drive
slotted drive screw

The slotted drive is the first screw drive ever to be created. It is still commonly used today and inexpensive compared to other screw drives. The only downside is, it is more prone to stripping, and they are best used manually rather than with a power drill.

  • Star Drive
star drive screw

As the name star drive implies, it has the shape of a star on its head. They are mainly used for wood screws. The shape on their heads is not exactly “pure” stars. A weird mix of squares comes together to form the shape. There are double-square drives and triple-square drive.

  • Squips Drive

The squips drive is a combination of both a square and Phillips drive. This makes it very easy to use because you can alternate between the drivers. That means you can use a Phillips or square drive for it. However, it does have its special screwdriver. 

Thread Styles/patterns

screw thread patterns

The threads of a screw are those designs on the body of the screw. Some of them are smooth, while others are on the rougher spectrum. 

  • Self-Tapping Screws
self tapping screws

Self-tapping crews like this form their own threads into whatever wood material it is drilled into. There are two types; thread cutting screws and thread forming screws. They can talk, so we need at softwood.

  • Hi Lo Threads
hi-lo thread screw

Screws with hi-lo threads have two different threads. One is higher, taller, and sharper and requires only a little force to drive in. The other one is lower and has a thinner shaft, which makes it difficult to do. 

  • Milling Ribs
knurled screw

These are small sections of slightly slanted threads beneath the screw heads. They help to enlarge whatever hole they are being driven into. They are known by several names: CEE threads, underhead cutting ribs, knurled shoulder, or knurl.

While there are so many screws with different designs, sizes, and manufacturers, the following are the two types all differences fit:

1. Cabinet to Wall Screw

cabinet to wall screw

While some people would want their cabinet on the floor, requiring mild installation tools, others like it on the wall. If you want your cabinet on the wall, the cabinet-to-wall screw does the job. This type of screw is designed to hold the cabinet’s weight and the content against the wall. They usually have aggressive thread, sharp tip, shank, and drive hole. Cabinet-to-wall screws is quite efficient if chosen correctly. 

So what do you consider before choosing the right cabinet to wall screw?

  • The Screw Length

It would be inappropriate to use a screw that’d pierce through the wall and show its pinpoint at the other side. To avoid this, the length of the screw must be evaluated to determine how many inches would be befitting for the job. Once this is considered, you won’t go wrong in choosing the correct screw. 

  • The Thickness Of The Cabinet And Wall

You would notice that sometimes, some screws barely hold down what you want them to because it only goes slightly beyond the surface of the cabinet and doesn’t reach the wall. This is why when choosing a cabinet to wall screw, you need to consider the cabinet’s and the wall’s thickness. This allows you to choose the right screw length that’ll go through the cabinet and a good wall depth.

2. Cabinet To Cabinet Screw

cabinet to cabinet screw

Connecting cabinets on the wall is not an easy task but is easily the best way to bring out the desired aesthetics and serve the intended purpose. Bearing this in mind, cabinet to cabinet screw is perfect. It doesn’t only connect all the cabinets you want but also covers unnecessary gaps on the wall.

Are Cabinet Screws The Same As Wood Screws?

No, they are not. Wood screws are threaded fasteners used to join wooden workpieces. They are not necessarily made of wood but come in various metals and alloys. They are called “wood screws” because they are designed to be used with wooden work parts.

A wood screw typically has a head, a shank, and a tip, just like all other screws. They are commonly made of bronze, brass, or steel and are designed to be utilized with wood. With the shank partially threaded, the threading only runs about three-quarters of the way down the body, and the unthreaded shanks at the top and coarse threads at the pointed end make them simple to distinguish from all other screws.

Wood screws also come with flat, oval, or circular heads. Flatheads are essential fasteners for situations where screws must be hidden or sit flat against the wood surface. Oval heads, also known as pan heads, are slightly more visible than flatheads, although round heads are the most prominent and are hence utilized for decoration.

Cabinet screws, on the other hand, are types of screws with aggressive thread design for extra hold and self-tapping for penetration. A typical cabinet screw possesses a large head for holding the cabinet firmly.

How Much Weight Can Cabinet Screws Hold?

The capacity of cabinet screws is usually dependent on the cabinet’s weight and content. For overhead cabinet installation, the fasteners are very important. The conventional overhead cabinet is held together by 3-inch, No. 10 coarse-threaded screws with a 75-pound weight capacity.

Upper cabinets should be secured with a minimum of four screws, each penetrating a different stud. If that isn’t possible, two screws into two studs are permissible for kitchen wall cabinets, with the studs separating the maximum distance apart horizontally, depending on the length of the cabinet.

For a small cabinet with four screws, the overall weight capacity of the screws — at 75 pounds apiece — is around 300 pounds. Another four to six screws are driven into the top of the cabinet when it is flush with the ceiling or cornice.

Screws piercing through a one-by-four at the top and at least two additional screws through the 1/4-inch hardboard rear of the cabinet are frequently doubled or tripled by cabinet installers.

In conclusion, you have to use the right screw for the right purpose, but it is also vital you know these screws and the weight they can carry to make the right choice. This article gives a run-through of everything you need to know about cabinet screws, types and sizes.