How to choose nails: types, material, length

5 min

The assortment of nails can be discouraging for an inexperienced builder, so it is better to know in advance which nails are intended and for what purpose. There is an opinion that it is difficult to get a reliable fastening with the help of nails, and they are much inferior to self-tapping screws and screws. But this is just a myth that is easy to dispel on our own experience, but for this you need to choose the right nails that are most suitable for specific work.

Types of nails

A nail is a very simple fastener that consists of a head, a pointed end and a rod. The latter can be circular, pyramidal or square. Depending on the size of each of the constituent elements, their relationship to each other, nails may differ in purpose, and, therefore, in appearance.

To date, the following main types of nails are distinguished:

  • types of nailsconstruction nail – the most common of the nails, is used quite often, mainly for fastening wooden parts to each other. This is a rod with a pointed end, and the diameter of the head is 3-4 times the diameter of the rod. Another feature is the presence of protruding notches on the nail shaft near the head. They are designed to better hold in the fabric and improve fit. For such products, it varies widely – from 1 cm to 25 cm;

  • a roofing nail, as its name suggests, is used for roofing work, for attaching metal sheets to wooden battens. It is very similar to a regular construction nail, but it has a larger head and a larger diameter of the rod;

  • Roofing nails are also used mainly for roofing, but are suitable for fastening soft materials. Its key feature is a large cap, which is up to 6 times the diameter of the rod;

  • types of nails 2A slate nail is an exact copy of a construction nail, but it differs in a large galvanized head that protects against moisture penetration through the mounting hole under the slate sheet. The length varies widely, and its selection depends on the height of the wave crest of the slate itself;

  • The screw nail is easily distinguished by the spiral grooves on the rod, thanks to which a reliable connection of wooden products can be obtained. These nails are often used for wood flooring, as they provide a much more secure attachment than a regular construction nail. Moreover, the fastening with a screw nail will hardly loosen over time;

  • A sharpened nail is distinguished by a rod consisting of series-connected and truncated cones; it looks like a toothed profile. Connections made with such nails are considered one of the most durable, and it is not very easy to pull it out if necessary, and in most cases it is generally impossible without destroying the material;

  • the finishing nail is almost the same as the construction nail, but its head is much smaller, only 1.5 times the diameter of the rod. During installation, the cap is completely recessed into the material, and it becomes almost invisible;

  • the plinth nail looks like a finishing nail, but there is a transverse notch on its rod, which increases the strength of the fastening;

  • a decorative nail is used to fasten finishing materials and has a beautiful patterned head;

  • types of nails 3finishing nail – a wire product with a semicircular head, which only slightly exceeds the parameters of the rod in diameter. Often, the heads of such nails have a decorative coating;

  • staple nails are nails that are U-shaped and both ends are pointed. Such products are great for attaching nets, cables;

  • steel nails are a kind of common construction nails, but they are so hard that they cannot be bent, therefore they are used when working with hard types of wood;

  • plaster nails can be wire or carved. The former are more common, and instead of a hat, they have an L-shaped end bent, due to which it firmly holds the roofing shingles

  • a needle-type nail is characterized by the absence of a head; it is used to fasten panels and some other coatings;

  • a harpoon nail is used to drive into the corners of brick walls;

  • dowels are designed for driving into concrete and brick walls;

  • drywall nails – special nails that have a wide head and do not allow the material to collapse;

  • types of nails 7a nail with a double head is used in the construction of collapsible structures, as well as when fastening the film in greenhouses;

  • others. In addition, there are a number of other nails that are used much less often, only in a certain area. For example, shoe nails – products with square large caps, are used to repair shoes. There are also horseshoe nails, ship and barge nails, glass and lock nails, the scope of which is clear from the name.

Nails can also be divided according to the shape of the cap. A secret hat is better because such a nail is hardly noticeable on the surface, it can be driven in flush without disturbing the structure of the material itself. If the nail has a non-secret head, then when you try to drive it flush with the surface, you can destroy it: for example, the veneer covering of the MDF board will surely burst. You need to choose the appropriate option, starting from where the nail will be hammered and what needs to be fixed.

Nail material

types of nails 4A nail can be made from a wide variety of materials, which determines the scope of its further use. Many people do not think about this fundamental difference and use the same nails both indoors and outdoors. And then unpleasant situations often arise when the nail begins to rust and ceases to perform its direct functions.

The simplest nails are made from black steel, but they are best used in dry rooms, since they instantly rust on contact with moisture. Also, some builders use such nails for the construction of temporary structures: in this case, their rapid corrosion cannot do any harm.

types of nails 5To be sure that the nail will not rust and deteriorate, it is better to use products with a protective coating. So, the most popular are galvanized nails, which can withstand the effects of moisture, and at the same time not lose their appearance, not performance.

A coating of brass or copper will protect the nail from oxidation even in humid aggressive environments, so such products are used either in the most difficult conditions, or when you need to be 100% sure of the reliability of the result. Another bonus of brass nails is that their color allows them to be used on par with finishing nails, and they will not be noticeable against the background of the wooden lining.

You can even find aluminum nails on sale. Aluminum itself is instantly oxidized in the air under the influence of moisture, but the aluminum oxide formed on the surface stably resists all negative environmental influences, protecting the rest of the product from them.

Nail length

types of nails 6Depending on the specific case, nails of different lengths are chosen. So, you need to nail a thinner part to a thick one, and the length of the nail should be 2.5-4 times greater than the thickness of the part that is being nailed. You can also use another rule: the nail must enter the part to which it is being nailed by 2/3 of its length: this is how the reliability of the fastening is achieved, and the end will not stick out on the other side, posing a danger. If it turns out that the length of the nail is clearly greater than the width of the two parts to be fastened together, then the end of the already hammered nail is crocheted and driven into the surface.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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