The Complete Lowe’s Hardware Handbook: Choosing the Best Fasteners for Every Job
When it’s time to assemble or install something, having the right hardware makes all the difference. But with so many types and specifications of screws, nails, bolts, and more, how do you know what’s best for your particular DIY or home improvement project?
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to choose the optimal hardware at Lowe’s. We’ll explore the top essential fasteners, key factors in deciding what you need, frequently asked questions, expert tips for selection, and more.
Whether you’re building a deck, installing cabinets, or just need to hang a heavy mirror, use this handbook as your go-to reference. Let’s get started!
The Best of Lowe’s: Top 4 Hardware Categories
Lowe’s stocks all the core fasteners and anchors for common home projects. Here are the top 4 types every DIYer should know:
No tool kit is complete without a variety of screws. Consider the materials being joined, visibility, and tools required when selecting:
- Wood screws – General purpose for joining wood. Come with flat or phillips heads. Coarse threads grip better.
- Drywall screws – Sharp points and fine threads for fastening into drywall. Phillips heads prevent cam out.
- Deck screws – Corrosion resistant exterior screws. Use stainless steel or coated types.
- Machine screws – Low profile metal fasteners with flat heads. Great for furniture assembly.
Look for finishes like stainless steel coating or black oxide coating for corrosion resistance or aesthetics. Grab various sizes and lengths too.
Nails come in an array of shank types, head shapes, sizes, and materials. Know the differences:
- Common nails – All purpose steel nails with a flat head. The go-to for framing.
- Finish nails – Smaller heads that can be countersunk for discreet fastening of trim and molding.
- Masonry and concrete nails – Hardened for use in masonry and concrete materials.
- Roofing nails – Large broad head to reinforce shingle tabs. Hot dipped galvanized or stainless steel.
Consider siding gauge and penny size too. Heavier gauges are thicker. Cut nails short – never rely on bend over technique.
Bolts offer heavy duty fastening when a lot of strength is needed. Some types include:
- Carriage bolts – Rounded tops with square necks to prevent spinning. Used in woodworking.
- Hex bolts – 6 sided heads that require a wrench rather than screwdriver. General fastening.
- Lag bolts – Large, long bolts that screw into wood. Provide substantial load capacity.
- Eye bolts – Threaded bolt with circular ring on one end. Used for attachments.
Compare composition (stainless steel, zinc coated), diameter, thread count, and length to find the best fit.
Anchors and Wall Fasteners
For mounting into surfaces like drywall, masonry, or concrete, anchors distribute load and handling pulling force. Options at Lowe’s include:
- Drywall anchors – Plastic sleeves or toggle bolts to mount light items on drywall without studs.
- Molly bolts and sleeve anchors – External threaded sleeve inserts into a hole drilled in concrete/masonry.
- Tapcon® concrete screws – Hex washer head screws that tap into concrete with factory applied coatings.
- Hollow wall anchors – Expand inside the wall cavity. Great for brick or block walls.
Adhesive anchors like Liquid Nails® construction adhesive provide heavy duty bonding power too.
Choosing the Right Hardware: Key Factors to Consider
Now that you know the main fastener categories, how do you decide precisely what hardware you need? Keep these factors in mind:
Materials Being Joined
Consider if you’re fastening wood to wood, metal to wood, concrete to wood, etc. This determines ideal screw, nail, or anchor type. Match material characteristics like hardness, density, and composition.
Factor in any gaps you need to accommodate between uneven or multi-material surfaces too.
Load Weight and Required Strength
Determine how much weight or force the fastener will need to handle once installed. Will it carry shear or tensile loads? Is vibration or movement expected?
Hardwaremust be durable enough to support the load without failing. Bolts, lag screws and structural fasteners provide more strength for heavy loads.
Assess whether the hardware will be used for indoor or outdoor applications. Will it be exposed to moisture, humidity, or chemical exposures that could corrode?
Outdoor and corrosive environments demand stainless steel or coated hardware to resist rust and deterioration. Hot dipped galvanized fasteners are ideal for outside use.
If the finished look matters, choose finish heads and coats that will coordinate and blend well. For a visible seamless appearance, opt for trim head or counter sunk screws.
Match plating or coating color to the surrounding materials like black oxide screws on dark wood or stainless on light surfaces.
Consider the tools, skill level, and effort needed to install the hardware properly. Beginners should opt for basic novice friendly fasteners like phillips head screws. Masonry applications require special masonry bits and drills.
Ease of access can dictate choices too – it’s harder to drill accurately in tight spots.
Certain situations call for hardware with extra features like security screws, seismic anchors, or corrosion resistant deck screws.
Factor in any specialty needs your particular project requires. Discuss options with Lowe’s associates to problem solve.
Higher quality and more advanced fasteners typically cost more. Prioritize getting the right fasteners for the job first, then aim for affordability. Consider total project cost, not just hardware pricing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lowe’s Hardware
DIYers often have lots of questions about which hardware to choose and why. Here are answers to some top fastener FAQs:
How is pricing determined for fasteners?
Several factors impact cost:
- Materials – Stainless steel costs more than carbon steel. Specialty alloys add cost.
- Coatings & finishes – Corrosion resistant platings or finishes are pricier.
- Size – Longer and wider fasteners require more materials.
- Quantity – Bulk packages offer cost savings per piece.
- Brand name – Premium brands charge more than value alternatives.
- Special features – Unique attributes like self-drilling screws are pricier.
With so many variables, it pays to compare pricing across similar options.
What are the differences between wood screws vs. drywall screws?
Wood screws are thicker, with coarser threads to grip into dense wood. They have sharper points to penetrate wood smoothly.
Drywall screws have fine threads and sharp points to bite into drywall without cracking it. Phillips heads prevent slipping. They come in thinner gauges.
Using the right screw prevents stripping and enhances holding power in each material.
When would you choose a lag bolt vs. a timber bolt?
Lag bolts are hefty hex head bolts that screw into wood with substantial threaded shafts. They provide excellent shear and tensile strength for heavyweight loads.
Timber bolts are wood screws designed for use in large wood beams and timber frames. The thick shafts withstand shear forces.
For most DIY projects, lag bolts offer greater strength and load capacity. Timber bolts are meant for major timber framing applications.
What do the numbers and gauges mean for nails?
The penny size indicates a nail’s length. 16d = 16 penny = 3.5 inches. The larger the penny number, the longer the nail.
Gauge refers to the nail’s shank thickness. Smaller gauge numbers mean thicker nails. 10 gauge is thickest, 60 gauge is thin. Match gauge to the materials being fastened.
Heavier shank nails have greater holding power for demanding loads. Use the right gauge and length combination.
How do I determine the right length and diameter for a bolt?
Length depends on the combined thickness of all materials being bolted together. Add a bit extra length to fully seat the bolt.
Diameter relates to the size of the drilled holes and socket size. More thickness bears greater loads. Don’t exceed hole size limits.
Too short leaves threads exposed. Too long requires cutting. Too thin strips out of soft material. Follow size charts to get it right.
What are carriage bolts and when should I use them?
Carriage bolts have a smooth rounded head and square neck below it to prevent spinning. The square neck sits into pre-drilled square holes.
Use them whenever you need to join wood where spinning needs to be avoided like railings, furniture, or deck framing. The smooth head provides a finished look.
How do I match paint colors for visible hardware?
Take paint chip color samples to Lowe’s paint counter. They can have colors matched to custom mix a perfect hue in the sheen you need.
For small touch ups, the chips may identify standard premixed paint colors that are close enough matches. Buy sample sizes to test.
What are the best anchors for brick and masonry?
For heavy loads on brick or concrete, use:
- Sleeve anchors – External threaded sleeve drills in then tightens down. Great pull out strength.
- Wedge anchors – Expanding metal sleeve wedge into hole. Flanged head.
- Tapcon® screws – Self-tapping masonry screws quickly fasten into concrete.
For lighter loads on brick walls, hollow wall anchors that expand inside cavities work well and are easy to install.
How can I find specific specialty hardware like gate latches?
Describe exactly what you need to a Lowe’s associate. They can check inventory availability. If not in store, they can suggest or special order alternatives.
Search Lowes.com for specialty items like safety latches and hardware suites for doors. Filter by category and subtypes to zero in.
5 Pro Tips for Choosing Hardware
Follow this advice to select optimal fasteners for every project:
Assess your exact needs – Materials, load, use factors. Make a list to match with suitable hardware traits.
Learn terminology – Understand sizing, grades, finishes so descriptions make sense. Ask if unclear.
Consider aesthetics if appearance matters. Pick finishes and heads to coordinate.
Shop in store but don’t be afraid to special order less common items you need.
Ask for help selecting if at all unsure – associates are there to assist!
Doing a bit of upfront planning and research helps ensure hardware success. Investing in quality fasteners is one of the best things you can do to build secure, long lasting projects.
While the options seem endless, Lowe’s order specialists and experienced staff simplify the process. Leverage their expertise along with the tips in this guide to make your next DIY project a breeze from start to finish.
The right hardware brings it all together! Next time you visit Lowe’s, you’ll be ready to choose screws, nails, bolts, and more that meet your needs and budget. Build, fasten, and install with total confidence using the hardware handbook you now have!