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December 2009
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Nail Guide for DIY’ers – Other Nails

In remodeling now that we have looked at Framing Nails and Finish Nails, we come to the other nails that may end up on your projects. Up till now we have looked at steel nails used in construction in interior and dry locations. Exterior locations, drywall, paneling and wood to concrete use speciality nails. Here is a photo of probably the most used nails in these categories.


From left to right are Galvanized, ringshank and phosphate drywall nails, and concrete nails. These are the most common types of nails most DIY’ers will need. Below we take a closer look.

Galvanized Nails
From top to bottom we have Sinkers, Roofing, and Exterior siding nails.
Galvanized nails are coated with zinc to inhibit rust and are used in exterior locations. There are three current galvanizing methods, Hot dip, mechanical and electro-plating.
Most framing nails and some finish are available galvanized for locations that are exposed to moisture, like exterior trim, siding and roofing.
The top nail is a 16d hot dip sinker, the middle nail is an electroplated roofing nail, and the bottom is a 4d mechanically galvanized siding nail for siding and or wood shingles.
Quick rule of thumb: if it is outside it needs to be galvanized.

Ringshank and Drywall Nails
Ring shank nails increase the surface area that can be gripped, increasing the friction and resistance to pull out and removal.
From top is a 2” ring-shank paneling nail, a ringshank drywall nail and a southwestern phosphate coated drywall nail.
Ring shank panel nails are used most often in attaching plywood and or particle board sub flooring.
Drywall ring shank nails perform the same function on walls and ceilings. Phosphate drywall nails were developed to minimize rusting behind taping mud, and as far as I know are one of those weird southwestern nail deals. The coating may provide some friction benefit like coated nails, but I do not know.

Concrete Nails
Concrete nails are much harder than regular nails, and eye protection really needs to be worn. You should use eyeware protection in any case in remodeling and construction, but especially when using concrete nails.
The top nail is called a Cut nail. These nails are forged rather than drawn like wire nails. Subsequently they are harder and chip easier than wire nails. These are primarily used to fasten wood to masonry or concrete. Like furring strips to the interior of brick or block houses. Despite having around 4 times more holding power than a equally sized wire nail, they have been replaced by fluted nails, sleeve and wedge anchors for attaching bottom plates to concrete floors.
The bottom one is a fluted concrete nail, doing basically the same thing.

So there you have it. Probably more than you ever wanted to know about nails.

1 comment to Nail Guide for DIY’ers – Other Nails

  • Russell G. Namie

    Good article. I’ve been reading about the differences between EG and HD roofing nails. I had a interlocking shingle steel roof installed in May. The nails are concealed, but from the underside in the attic I can see that they are pretty shiny. They are 1&1/2 inch and have barbs on the upper half-inch near the head. I know that HD are superior, but does it make a difference if they are not exposed?

    Thanks in advance