Quick Tip: Protect fasteners from rust
Whether building a roof for your patio or assembling furniture for outdoors, it is important that the fasteners you choose are protected from rust.
When building outdoor structures or furniture you need to use fasteners that will last, or at least be able to protect your fasteners so that they don't rust, especially when you consider that it is the fasteners that hold a structure together.
When any type of fastener is attacked by rust, this reduces its strength and render it useless. While there are alternatives that can be used that won't rust, such as stainless steel screws, these are extremely expensive and not always an option for the average home DIY enthusiast. Another screw type that is for outdoor use is silicon bronze and these are primarily used for marine construction and fine woodworking, but are not easy to find and come at a high cost.
According to Wood Magazine, the most common screws for outdoor use are either mechanically galvanized or electro-galvanized. You can differentiate between the two as mechanically galvanized screws have a dull gray finish while electro-galvanized screws are shiny. Mechanically galvanized screws are considered suitable for decks and other outdoor projects but avoid use in pressure treated timber in contact with the soil, in high-humidity areas, or in areas with salt content in the air.
Drive fasteners with care
When driving screws into wood when installing a deck, building a pergola or outdoor structure, or assembling wooden furniture, make sure to drill appropriately sized pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting around the screw or fastener. In the event that you cause the surrounding wood to split, this can lead to an area where water can collect and cause the wood to rot and screws to be susceptible to rust.
Let the screw head sit just below the surface but be high enough that it will not allow water to collect at the top. When screws are driven in too deep, this is a common cause of rust taking over. Holes or dips at or around where fasteners are placed will also cause the surrounding wood to be wet and rot may occur.
One easy and simple way to protect fasteners, whether securing a roof onto posts or building an outdoor table, is to apply a coating over these. Since you will probably be applying an exterior sealer, paint or protective finish once the project is complete, also make sure to apply over the top of screws or fasteners.