The materials you use for any renovation work around the home will be only as strong as the connectors you use to join them together. Using the wrong types of connectors can mean compromising the integrity of any project, and weak connectors are a common cause of construction failure. Note a few tips for choosing the right connector for any construction or renovation project in your home.
1. When to use nails versus screws
Shear strength refers to how much weight can be put on something before it breaks across. Tensile strength refers to how much force is needed to pull something apart. Nails have a higher shear strength so they are better for fastening materials across, or horizontally. Screws have a stronger tensile strength; because they twist into materials, they cannot be easily pulled out of studs and beams. These are then a better choice for fastening materials vertically, as gravity and the weight of the material itself is less likely to pull a screw out of place than a nail.
2. When to use nuts and bolts
Nuts and bolts are needed when you must protect the material you're fastening. A nail is driven right into the material and can cause chipping, whereas nuts and bolts used with washers protect that outer edge of the material. The washer displaces the pressure of the weight of the material itself so it's less likely to chip or warp; this not only protects the material but can also keep the connection more secure, as there is less weight right on the connector itself.
3. When to use rivets
A rivet is different than a nail or screw as the tail end of a rivet is expanded or deformed to keep it in place. Rivets are often used where a connection needs to be lightweight but very strong, as the deformed back end not only keeps the connection secure but also helps to displace any weight against that connection.
Rivets are good for metal connections where welding cannot be done, as metal rivets can provide the same strength as a weld but without the heat and deformity. Materials that are not easily welded, such as aluminum and sheet metal, can be connected with rivets. Rivets support tension loads very effectively where screws cannot be used.
4. Use identical materials for plumbing connections
If your construction or renovation project involves plumbing pipes, use the same material for connections as the pipes themselves. Two different types of metal can become corroded when they get wet, and weaker metal connections may not support the pipes as they should.
For more information, check out companies such as Davro Assembly Products.