Brass screws vs. steel screws

screw image by martini from

Each construction project requires its own set of hardware and tools. The types of screws vary as each has specific characteristics and designs. A variety of brass and steel screws are available. A standard steel screw will rust, but one that is galvanised will not.

Project Type

Outdoor screws must be weather resistant as indoor projects do not require the same level of moisture resistance. For example, ordinary steel woodscrews would not work for an outdoor deck project because moisture within the wood will rust the screws. Manufacturers rate screws by resistance to wet environments in hours, such as a 500-hour rating. Brass screws have a different colour than steel ones, are softer and require pre-drilling.


Projects meant to weather outdoor elements such as a picnic bench or mailbox must be built with rust-resistant screws. Moisture- and rust-resistant steel screws include zinc-plated, zinc-chromate and galvanised. Solid brass screws will not rust.


Galvanised and zinc-chromate steel screws cost more than zinc-plated steel screws because of a higher resistance to corrosion. Uncoated steel woodscrews are inexpensive and strong, but easily rust. Brass screws vary in price.