Why Bolted Connections are Better than Screws

When it comes to putting together steel frame buildings there are several ways you can go about it. You can connect the joining parts with bolts or screws; you can even choose to weld them, if you have the tools and experience to do so.

Here at Atlantic Steel Buildings, we favour bolted connections as they offer several advantages over their screwed-in counterparts.

What’s the difference?

At first glance, the difference between bolts and screws is purely cosmetic. Both employ an etched groove down their centre length to attach two or more materials together. However, their modes of operation are significantly different. A screw is normally self-tapping. That means it secures itself by threading through the material it is fastening. A bolt on the other hand, requires a drilled hole to be slipped through, and fastens with the help of a nut on the other side of the material that keeps it secure.


Bolts are much stronger than screws of a similar thickness. Part of the reason for this is the application of a washer between the material and the bolt head. These washers help to spread the load over a broader surface area whereas a screw-connected structure has all the load concentrated in the screw head. This greater strength makes bolts the connector of choice for any load-bearing or heavy-duty application, including steel frame buildings. In point of fact, it is often said that one bolt gives the strength of six self-tapping screws.


If you try to connect a steel building with screws, you run the risk of missing your mark. Putting the screw in at an angle could seriously jeopardise the structural integrity of your building. You have to overlap sheeting rails and purlins to get the spacing correct. With bolted connections, the guide holes are already there and simply need fastening with the relevant bolts and the sheeting rails and purlins are cut to length and punched at the factory.

Easy to put together

When you order a prefabricated steel frame building intended to be connected by bolts, you can get started straight away. The manufacturer will already have drilled the necessary holes into your frame and panels, allowing for easy assembly.

Easy to take apart

There may come a time when you no longer need your steel frame building or, at least, when you want to expand or adapt it. With a bolt assembled construction, removing the bolts is quick and easy, and the pre-drilled holes remain if you want to reassemble elsewhere, or attach new pieces of framework.

However you choose to assemble your steel frame buildings, you have come to the right place. As well as manufacturing and delivering bespoke steel buildings, we also offer a complete construction service. For more information and a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch with Atlantic Steel Buildings today on 01872 560488.

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