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One of the biggest factors in determining whether to use a screw or a nail is knowing if the fastener will experience any side-to-side or shear force.
Screws do a much better job of holding vertical forces because it’s threads bite into the wood. Since nails are held into place by friction, they can work themselves out.
However, nails perform much better where shear force may be an issue because they are flexible. Screws will snap.
For example, nails holding deck boards in place can begin to pop out by walking on them, so screws are a better choice.
But houses are framed with nails because they can shift from side to side and the nails won’t snap.
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