Selecting the Correct Stainless Steel Nails for Construction

Choosing the right nails for you construction project can make the difference between a great end result or one that will quickly deteriorate because the fasteners you selected either didn’t hold the construction together securely, or they corroded over time to discolor the wood, or rust, losing contact between the two pieces nailed together. So how can you select the correct galvanized, copper or stainless steel nails for construction?

Types of Stainless Steel Nails for Construction

The finish of your nail and the material it is made from can make a lot of difference in the durability of your work. If you buy your nails from a standard DIY store, or a generalist building firm you may not have much choice and buy whatever is available in the length and head size that you require, but actually you could easily be buying the wrong nail for the job. So we’ll look now at some of the finish and material types for nails so you can learn what is best for what job.

Copper Nails

Copper nails aren’t used very often, because they’re expensive. You probably automatically thing they’re not as durable as steel and aluminum nails as well because it’s a softer metal, but actually copper nails withstand wear and tear much better than other nails. They are particularly good for exterior construction work, and are used by roofers to hold tiles and slates because of their longevity and because they match copper flashing.

Electro Galvanized Aluminum Nails

Most standard nails are aluminum nails that are electro galvanized with zinc. These nails are suitable only for indoor applications, as they are susceptible to rust and corrosion, often discoloring which will also affect surrounding wood if subject to water. They do have a measure of protection from the elements, as indoors there is always some humidity and there can be a fluctuation in temperatures, but if they have prolonged access to high humidity, water and high fluctuation in temperature they start to corrode.

Therefore for out door application stainless steel nails are the nail of choice as they won’t corrode or discolor in the out door elements. There are two grades of stainless steel nails, there’s 304 grade which is for standard environments so can be subject to rain fall and used in ACQ treated timber, and oil based and exotic woods with high oil and water contents.

However, for more extreme environments such as in tropical areas, by the sea side, close to large bodies of water such as lakes, and where slat water is likely to contact the nail, 316 grade stainless steel nails are the fastener of choice as they can withstand extreme conditions without corroding or discoloring. They are considered as marine grade fasteners and can even be used in a submerged sea environment such as jetties and piers. They shouldn’t streak the wood, corrode or discolor when subject to sea water or high humidity tropical regions. SO make sure you pick the right nail for the job!

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