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Old 06-29-2016, 03:14 PM   #1
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Stainless screws

I've read here of folks replacing their exterior screws with stainless ones. I'm about to start re-skinning my 1981 12 1/2' MC and will need to replace all the screws. When I search, I see zinc-plated, and something called "Stainless 410", which states, "A stainless alloy that is harder than 18-8 stainless steel, but not as resistant to corrosion." After pulling out so many little blobs of rusty metal that used to be screws, I don't like the sound of that. Is this what I'm supposed to use? Can anyone help me out with a source?

Thanks!
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:07 PM   #2
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I've been using hex head #9 roofing screws for exterior replacements. They have a metal washer with a rubber washer underneath. They come in several colors and lengths. Being #9, they are one size larger than what's there now so you get a snug fit.

They're designed for metal roofing which has to last at least 20 years so I'm not concerned with early corrosion issues at all.

Readily available at Lowes, Home Depot, etc.
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:44 PM   #3
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If your going with stainless screws, the 18-8 is the standard run on fasteners. 18-8 is 304 stainless steel. This 18-8 is what you are going to find in most big box lumber yards or ordinary hardware stores.

The 410 series is a harder screw, and yes in heavy corrosive environments it will rust before the 18-8 and it has a higher tensile strength (stronger) then 18-8. However in a camper setting, if you have an environment to corrode out a 18-8 screw, the aluminum siding will rot before the screws will.

You may also run into a 316 stainless. Again this is better in corrosion then 304 ( 18-8 ) but again, in a camper setting you will not find the difference.

18-8 will outlive the camper. Heads up though, all of the stainless we talked about here are soft metal compared to steel screws. You can pop the heads off or strip the driving slot out of them easier. Ideally set your cordless drill chuck setting on a test board and find out where the head fly's off. Then back it down.

In areas of high concern, I have used the cordless drill set on super low. Then I hand tighten the last 1/4 or 1/2 turn verses dealing with getting out a screw with no head on it.

BenB found these guys when we redid his camper last winter. Good service, good quality and good price for what you are getting. Albany County Fasteners - Nuts, Bolts, Screws, Hardware & More

Hope this helps

John
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:42 AM   #4
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It looks like 18-8 might be overkill for this project, which I'm reclassifying from "free camper" to "ghetto camper", because of my tight budget. Whatever it is, I'm determined that it be watertight.

Something like this? These are zinc plated with a neoprene washer, and the price is right. They also offer it 1 1/2" length instead of 1". Would a longer as well as thicker screw be beneficial here? Seems like it would. Most of these will be going into pre-existing holes, which I planned on filling with wood filler for a better grip.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcD View Post
It looks like 18-8 might be overkill for this project, which I'm reclassifying from "free camper" to "ghetto camper", because of my tight budget. Whatever it is, I'm determined that it be watertight.



Something like this? These are zinc plated with a neoprene washer, and the price is right. They also offer it 1 1/2" length instead of 1". Would a longer as well as thicker screw be beneficial here? Seems like it would. Most of these will be going into pre-existing holes, which I planned on filling with wood filler for a better grip.


That's the exact screw that I use. I get the #9 x 1 1/4" ones for the RV. No filler needed as they're slightly larger and longer than the #8 x 1" used bt the factory. They tighten down beautifully every time.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:30 PM   #6
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H.D doesn't seem to carry the 1 1/4". I'll try a couple of other local hardware stores. Would the 1 1/2" be too long?
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
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H.D doesn't seem to carry the 1 1/4". I'll try a couple of other local hardware stores. Would the 1 1/2" be too long?


I think they would be fine. You lose about an eighth to the washers any way.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcD View Post
It looks like 18-8 might be overkill for this project, which I'm reclassifying from "free camper" to "ghetto camper", because of my tight budget. Whatever it is, I'm determined that it be watertight.

Something like this? These are zinc plated with a neoprene washer, and the price is right. They also offer it 1 1/2" length instead of 1". Would a longer as well as thicker screw be beneficial here? Seems like it would. Most of these will be going into pre-existing holes, which I planned on filling with wood filler for a better grip.

The roofing screws you selected will work and may outlive the life left of the camper. They are 120 screws/$9.68 or $0.124 per screw

As to the stainless screws, 18-8 stainless #10 x 1" long is $7.70 for 100 or $18.29 for 250. Thar is $0.077 per screw or $0.073 per screw

Square Drive Pan Head #10 Sheet Metal Screw Stainless Steel 18/8 fasteners

If you work your way up to $25 you get free shipping. They offer no 8's too or most anything else one wants.

Both are options in the same general price range with stainless slightly cheaper, Home Depo might be quicker if you cannot wait the time to ship, you pick what fits for your needs.

Heads up though, stainless screws in the big box stores sold in packs of 2 or 3 screws in a little bag can add up to mega cost due to the way they market them. It's not the actual screws, just the marketing. If your buying any kind of quantity in the 50 to 100 range, the big box stores are not the place to buy stainless screws

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:21 AM   #9
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You might check your yellow pages for a local fastener supply house they will be the cheapest and better quality than the big box if you are going to buy a lot of them. If you use the metal roof screws a roofing supply house will have them either by the pound or box.
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:48 AM   #10
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John, now I'm more confused. That link led me to pan head screws. Aren't I supposed to be using washer head screws?

I can wait for shipping. I still have to finish cleaning the old putty off of the aluminum before I rent the narrow crown stapler to put it back together. I'm hoping to only need it for a day ($12/day).

Albany County's hex washer heads only come in zinc. They have a slotted hex washer head in 18-8 stainless, but the #10 x 1" runs $11/100, and it doesn't have the neoprene washer. I tried calling them. A real person picked up, but told me there was no one available to answer my (very simple) question. Lost my business in the blink of an eye.

No fastener supply houses nearby, just general hardware stores. Any more suggestions, other than "we're-too-busy-to-talk-to-you" Albany?
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Old 07-01-2016, 11:15 AM   #11
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Pat,

There is not a need for a washer on the pan head screws. The head size is as big or bigger then the original.

Bummer on your call the Albany Fastener. Don't know what to say on that. That has not been our experience. Son bought many pounds of stainless from them for his deck and the camper. Had good experience from them.

Here is the industry hardware store. They have selection and their ordering is outstanding. Most in industrial know them
McMaster-Carr

These guys are also big in the industry. They may even be locally in your area.
https://www.fastenal.com/

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:11 PM   #12
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Virtually all of my old screws were destroyed by water, and it was very clear that the screws themselves were the avenue of entry. Unless there's a reason not to use them, I'm kind of sold on the rubber washers.

Thank you very much for the links, I'll let you know what I find.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:17 PM   #13
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Steel roofing screws if you want washers you should be able to find them most any hardware store in assorted colors.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Virtually all of my old screws were destroyed by water, and it was very clear that the screws themselves were the avenue of entry.
Hi Pat,

Yes, the RV design allows water to wick in the screws over time.

I have had to deal with camper rot and the methods use to build them and I fully agree the method contributed to the failure. We really do not know the factory expected life of a camper. This is not a Sunline exclusive issue. Most of the RV industry builds with some of the same pit falls. Sunlines actually last longer in many cases.

I do not know which area your screws came out of, many areas have the same ills.

See here on mine, I caught this in time before the screws rotted and wicked water in.

This is the rook line gutter rail. Problem 1 on a camper.








The RV gutter is just plan too small. It fills with water, get clogged with 1 twig and water then gets behind the vinyl strip snapped in to cover and starts wetting the screws. Water soaks and lays in that air space (water space) and molds, I my case green... Over time the screws break down from rust and start to turn into mini water wicks.

This same problem can occur on the corners of the camper, cargo holes and windows/doors.

The rubber washer screws if made from quality rubber should out last the camper. If the rubber it not good quality, it will rot, crack and then deteriorate over time. Since the ones you pick are used for roof service, they should be good quality to hold up to the sun. But you never know with all the import screws now a days. I would say you have high odds they will work well for you. Just try and shoot them in straight so the head and washer are flush.

In my case on my 2004, I was going to keep it a good long time. I C'sunk the channel slightly and put stainless flat heads in. I then Eternabond taped over all of it to seal the water from that joint.








This is not the cheapest way out of the design problem, but I know water is not getting in these areas and it covers the pit falls of the gutter rail water infection.

As I stated the rubber washer screw will work. If you have a vinyl strip you want to put over it, that might not work the same as the head will stick out further and the vinyl not snap in place. Some thing to check if you plan on putting new vinyl strip cover on.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:04 AM   #15
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Good points, John, thanks.

I can't quite tell from the pictures... you used eternabond tape over the screws, then the plastic strip, or instead of the plastic strip?
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:02 AM   #16
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Hi Pat,

I put the tape over the screws and skipped the plastic strip.

Here is a post on doing this. It's pic heavy but shows how I did it
Eternabond Roof Seal Tape on a Sunline (Lots of pics)
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