Rust Resistant Screws and Understanding Screw Materials

By Alana Hromidko • 07.12.21
building tips  FAQ 

Fasteners and Drill


What Fasteners are the Right Fit for Your Outdoor Project?

If you are a DIY builder or contractor seeking to make an informed decision on what screws are the best options for your outdoor project, you came to the right place.

Deciding which fasteners to use for a project can be overwhelming with the influx of options available. That is why we are here to help with tips and suggestions on the most recommended fasteners in the industry for outdoor use. Watch our video below that answers some of the most common questions. 

Do Screws Rust?

Unfortunately, yes. Most screws will rust when exposed to moisture unless they are dipped in rust-resistant coating. If the coating chips or flakes away, rust may form under the coating which can then undermine the strength of the screw.

Why Does Corrosion Occur?

Corrosion occurs when the metal’s properties begin to degrade. All metal, including the metal used in fasteners, holds voltage (volts) and all metals have different volts that react differently. When two metals interact with water, a process called galvanic corrosion is created.

Rusty Screws

What Can I Do to Reduce Galvanic Corrosion of Fasteners and Connectors?

There are a few ways to reduce possible galvanic corrosion of fasteners and connectors. Choosing the right coatings of fasteners and connectors similar in electric potential, reduces the flow of electricity, which then reduces the rate of corrosion. Some practices you can take are:

  1. Using fasteners, anchors, and connectors with similar electrochemical properties.
  2. Using insulating materials to separate dissimilar metals.
  3. Ensuring the fastener or anchor is the cathode when dissimilar connector metals are present. Cathode means it is a negatively charged electrode.
  4. Preventing exposure and pooling of electrolytes. 

Some examples of choosing the right fastener coatings to match connector coatings are a hot-dip galvanized fastener with a connector with ZMAX or HDG galvanized finish, or a Type 316 stainless steel fastener can be matched with a connector with Type 316 stainless steel finish. Click here to read more from Simpson on what connector coatings match well with fasteners’ coatings.

Along with choosing screws similar in properties to the material you are fastening to, it is also crucial to intentionally install fasteners in a way that delivers constant pressure. When the load a fastener bears constantly changes, the continuous changes can accelerate corrosion. 

Additionally, the flow of electricity and the rate of corrosion are greater when flowing from a smaller object to a larger area. For that reason, you would not want to use zinc screws to fasten together stainless materials. If you did, the large gap in electric potential would quickly degrade the zinc screws, which would then weaken whatever you had built.

Deck Boards

What Fasteners are Best for Outdoor Use? 

Fasteners are comprised of a variety of finishes that affect their ability to resist corrosion and perform well outside. The best screws for outdoor use to fight weather/rain are stainless steel screws, galvanized screws, and decking screws.

When building outdoor projects such as boats, pergolas, or decks, screws are typically used over nails, although nails are still functional. Screws have additional gripping strength provided by their threads. This extra grip helps better resist the inevitable wood movement caused by moisture and humidity. 

Deck Boards

Stainless Steel Screws

Stainless steel screws combine iron with chromium, as well as nickel, which increases corrosion resistance. The most widely available stainless steel screws are either 304 or 305 grades. Both are appropriate for general use, although 305-grade fasteners have slightly greater corrosion resistance. For maximum corrosion resistance in extreme environments, spending the extra money for 316-grade stainless is worth it. When it comes to rust-resistant screws, we have you covered. Conquest stainless steel screws are high-quality, durable screws that are extremely rust resistant. We also carry a variety of Simpson specialty stainless steel screws, stainless steel masonry screws, and Tapcon stainless steel screws.

Conquest Stainless Steel Screw

Galvanized Screws

Galvanized screws are comprised of a thick zinc coating that provides great corrosion resistance. All the hot dip galvanized and mechanically galvanized screws Fasteners Plus carries, are recommended for outdoor use and pair with the G90 galvanized and ZMAX Simpson wood connectors. With treated lumber, we recommend using galvanized, stainless, or specially formulated coatings like Simpson’s Double-Barrier coating. When seeking high-quality galvanized screws, we carry Strong-Tie SD connector screws and Conquest fasteners that will do the job.

Galvanized Screw

Decking Screws

Decking screws are typically comprised of carbon steel or stainless steel and are usually coated in a special ceramic coating to prevent rust. These decking screws are resilient enough to be used for decking, fences, sheds, or other outdoor timber constructions that are repeatedly exposed to the weather and rain. Fasteners Plus sells Conquest screws which are designed to quickly and accurately fasten decking boards and other exterior wood-to-wood applications.

Decking Screw

Find it Fast. Get it Fast.

Once you have chosen what type of screws you will need and know how to use them correctly, you will be ready to build amazing projects! Screws can give you countless opportunities for building many different structures you can count on. Fasteners Plus products are the best solutions to bringing those strong, long-lasting outdoor structures to life.

Fasteners Plus carries a variety of screws, connectors, anchors, nails, power tools, and more! Place your orders at and our dedicated team will get quality products sent to you. If you have any questions about fastener options, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Product Experts at (888) 794-1590 or by email at

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About Fasteners Plus

Founded in 2005, Fasteners Plus is a trusted leader in the fastening things with screws and stuff. With a superior online shopping experience, industry-experts available via phone, and a central Midwest location, USCC is dedicated to getting you what you want, when you need it. For more information, visit