When it comes to securing hardware cloth, choosing the right screws and washers is crucial. Whether you’re building a chicken coop, repairing a fence, or undertaking any other project that involves hardware cloth, using the appropriate fasteners will ensure a sturdy and reliable installation.
In this article, I will share my personal experience and insights on the different types of screws and washers that can be used to enforce hardware cloth. So, let’s dive in and explore the options available!
Fencing Staples and a Hammer
When we first started working with hardware cloth, my husband opted for a simple solution: fencing staples and a hammer. While this method can be effective for certain projects, it may not provide the most secure and long-lasting results. Fencing staples are usually made of galvanized steel and can be easily driven into wooden surfaces with a hammer. However, they may not be suitable for all applications, especially if you’re working with thicker or harder materials.
Washers and Deck Screws
After realizing that the fencing staples were not providing the desired level of security, we decided to explore other options. We found that using washers and deck screws proved to be a more reliable choice. Specifically, we opted for washers with a 3/4″ diameter and a 1/8″ hole, paired with 1 5/8″ deck screws. The TSC washers are designed to distribute the load evenly, preventing the hardware cloth from tearing or pulling away from the surface.
Fender Washers and Wood Screws
Another combination of washers and screws that can be used effectively is fender washers with #8×1-1/2″ wood screws. Fender washers are larger in diameter compared to regular washers, providing enhanced stability and support. They are particularly useful when attaching hardware cloth to surfaces that require a broader area of reinforcement. The #8×1-1/2″ wood screws are strong enough to hold the hardware cloth firmly in place while being compatible with the fender washers.
Consider the Length of the Screws
When selecting the appropriate screws for your hardware cloth, it’s essential to consider the length of the screws. The ideal length depends on the thickness of the materials you are working with and the depth to which you need the screws to penetrate. Generally, screws that are 1 to 1-1/2 inches long are suitable for most hardware cloth applications. However, always assess your specific project requirements to determine the appropriate screw length.
The Cost and Strength Factor
It’s worth mentioning that using screws and washers to enforce hardware cloth can be both costly and time-consuming, especially for larger projects. As I experienced firsthand, I needed around 400 screws and washers just for the hardware cloth in my 7.5×15 run. Additionally, the current market prices for hardware may make it a pricier option compared to using wood. Therefore, it’s important to weigh the cost and strength factors before making your decision.
Consider Using Trim Wood
If you’re looking for a potentially cheaper and stronger alternative to screws and washers, consider using a piece of trim wood to sandwich the hardware cloth. By placing the hardware cloth between two strips of trim wood and securing them with screws, you can achieve a sturdy and predator-proof installation. This method eliminates the need for numerous screws and washers while providing a robust solution for attaching the hardware cloth.
Wire Ties: A Convenient Alternative
In addition to screws and washers, wire ties can be a convenient alternative for enforcing hardware cloth. Wire ties, also known as zip ties or cable ties, are made of strong nylon or metal and can be easily fastened around the edges of the hardware cloth. They provide a quick and hassle-free method of securing the cloth to various surfaces. Wire ties are especially useful when working with irregularly shaped objects or when you need a flexible attachment solution.
When it comes to enforcing hardware cloth, choosing the right screws and washers is essential for a secure and long-lasting installation. While fencing staples and hammers can work for certain projects, using washers and deck screws or fender washers and wood screws offers a more reliable solution.
Consider the length of the screws based on your project’s requirements, and weigh the cost and strength factors before making a decision. Additionally, using trim wood to sandwich the hardware cloth or wire ties as an alternative can provide convenience and cost savings.
By carefully selecting the appropriate fasteners, you can ensure that your hardware cloth is securely in place, whether it’s for a chicken coop, fence repair, or any other project requiring reliable attachment.