Types of nails

There are many different types of nails on the market, according to below various parameter, it can be named accordingly.

  • Materials
  • Heads
  • Shanks
  • Points
  • Finish
  • Usage

types of nailsMaterials comes firstly, as it decides the yield strength, chemical composition, corrosion resistance, hardness etc, further will decide its application and usage. There are carbon steel nails, aluminum nails, copper nails and stainless steel nails in grade 304 and 316.

Heads is the wide part at top of a nail, it will influence the looking when surface is nailed and for some usage, special heads will be used.

  • Flat head: most common nail head. Provides large surface area for greater holding power.
  • Large flat head: larger than standard head, usually more than 3 to 3-1/2 times the shank diameter. Provides greatest surface area for ultimate holding power. For applications such as sheathing and insulation.
  • Checkered flat head: helps to stop slippage of the hammer on the head with applications such as framing, where excessive hammering may take place.
  • Countersunk head: conically shaped bearing surface, which compresses the surface of the material under it as it is driven. Aids in concealment of the fastener head.
  • Deep countersunk head: reduced holding power, but increased concealment of the fastener head. Using primarily on casing nails.
  • Brad head: deep, circular, barrel-shaped Reduced holding power, but increased concealment of the fastener head. Used primarily with finish and trim work.
  • Duplex head: for temporary nailing jobs, such as scaffolding and concrete framing.
  • Cupped head: concave or recessed top surface to accommodate material to aid with concealment. Used primarily with drywall fasteners.
  • Oval head: used in certain geographic areas primarily with siding to avoid contact between the hammer and the siding.
Shank is the middle part of the nail. It will decide the holding power. There are smooth shank, ring shank, screw shank, grooved shank etc.

  • Smooth: most common for everyday projects, provides the least amount of loading power.
  • Barbed: horizontal or herring-bone indentations in the shank. Relatively better hold than smooth shank, but far less than a comparable threaded nail.
  • Screw/spiral: designed to drive into hard woods and dense materials. Nail actually turns when driven, much like wood screws. Very good holding power.
  • Ardox: designed to drive into hard woods and dense materials. Square wire is twisted to form the spiral shank, which results in the threads reaching all the way to the head of the nail. In comparison, most nails are made from round steel wire and the spiral of ring shanks are actually cut into the wire.
  • Ring/annular thread: a series of closely spaced concentric rings around shank. Nail does not turn when driven, instead the wood fibers are forced over the ring shoulders into their annular grooves like wedges. Gives greatest holding power in soft or medium woods.
  • Fluted: vertical thread for driving into cinder block, mortar joints, or other relatively soft masonry to minimize cracking and provide high holding power.
Points determines how easily nails could be driven. There are diamond point, long diamond points, needle point, blunt points etc.

  • Diamond point: most common nails point. To avoid splitting wood, best for medium to soft wood.
  • Long diamond point: for use with drywall. Eases driving into harder materials.
  • Blunt point: reduces splitting, but not as easy to drive as a diamond point.
Finishes decide how much it could resist corrosion. Commonly, nails are made of steel, there are hot dipped galvanization, electro-galvanized, blued treatment to protect. And because of material property, aluminum, copper, stainless steel could be used directly.

  • Bright: bright, uncoated steel finish intended for use where corrosion resistance is not required.
  • Blued: degreased and heat-cleaned to form thin blue oxide film required by lathers.
  • Cement coated: resin coating which provides short term holding power.
  • Vinyl coated: eases nail driving and provides greater holding power.
  • Phosphate coated: chemically treated with a gray ferric phosphate protective coating. Surface is also etched for greater holding power. Good base for paints and other finishes.
  • Electro-galvanized: zinc coating applied to steel with an electrical charge. Offers limited resistance to rust.
  • Mechanically galvanized: zinc coating applied by tumbling with powered zinc and glass beads. Offers increased corrosion resistance, comparable to hot galvanized when equivalent amount of zinc is used.
  • Hot galvanized: zinc coating applied by a heat treatment. Offers increased corrosion resistance.
  • Hot dipped galvanized: zince coating applied by dipping into molten zinc.
  • Gold dichromate: gold-colored zinc dichromate applied over electrogalvanized surface for additional corrosion resistance. In addition, gold color provides a more aestheticly pleasing appearance.
Usage-nails are used in different application, thus there are brad nails, finish nails, galvanized nails, concrete nails, common nails, fence nails etc.

For more details about types of nails, please click here.

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