0000 Pole Barn Screws vs Nails: Where to Use Them in Your Building
Pole Barn Screws vs Nails: Where to Use Them in Your Building
Angie Dobson

By: Angie Dobson on May 2nd, 2017

Print/Save as PDF

Pole Barn Screws vs Nails: Where to Use Them in Your Building


There are plenty of ways to put up your post frame building, but how do we know it's built to last? Because much of the post frame building strength comes from the diaphragm of steel on the sides and roof, the more secure the steel is affixed to the wood framing, the stronger the building. But do we know the difference between screws vs nails?

screws vs nails_pole barn_fbi buildingsIf nails were used to fasten roofing steel, water would find its way in wherever the nail heads do not tightly cover the hole. Once fasteners loosen their grip on the wood–whether they are nails or screws–the building loses stiffness. Wind and other forces cause the building to move slightly.

Each movement works the fastener against the steel, causing the original hole to grow. A nail hole gets larger faster than a screw hole. This is because the screw creates a smooth, clean penetration (think of a drill) where nails create a jagged puncture that can tear easily.

With nails, more roof leaks will appear over time and existing leaks will get worse. Roof leaks lead to rotten wood that weaken the structure.

Since a post frame building gets much of its strength from the steel panels, the tighter it is attached to the building, the better. Putting fasteners in the flat of the steel panels provides the tightest possible connection.

Correct Placement of Screws for Tight Steel Connections:

  • Top of the rib: allows movement around the critical seal area potentially leading to leaks.
  • Flat area between the ribs: provides a tighter, more secure connection between the steel and the wood.
  • The rubber washer is the last line of defense against leaks. Look for a fastener that encapsulates the washer, keeping it protected from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.

Ultimately, both screws and nails have their place. Whether you’re applying nails or screws, the goal is to provide enough shear strength to support wind and snow loads. 

New Call-to-action

Have more questions about building costs not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 1.800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you are ready to get a price, click here to request a quote and a member of our sales team will call you!

About Angie Dobson

Angie graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Prior to joining the FBi team, Angie was a kitchen and bath sales consultant in Lafayette, IN. In 2012, she started with FBi as the Inside Sales/Marketing Assistant. Today she holds the role as Marketing Project Manager. Angie grew up in a farming community and has always enjoyed helping her family on the farm. A past 10 year 4-H Member, her passion for livestock pursued her to take a career in the agriculture field. Her and her husband live in Northwest Indiana with their two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor leisure activities and spending time with friends and family.