Home Improvement Guide Nails river2u.com
Designs & Ideas
There are over a dozen styles of nails, and they are available in sizes ranging from tiny tacks to huge spikes. Nails are fasteners that rely on friction to keep them in place, so they should be used to secure against forces that are across the length of the nail rather than along its length. Consequently, a greater diameter provides greater strength; however, care must be taken not to split the material into which the nail is driven, and the wider the nail, the more likely the need to pre-drill the hole before nailing (when pre-drilling, be sure to drill a hole smaller than the nail in order for their to be friction to hold the nail in place).

The size of nails is designated by the term "penny" (abbreviated "d"). Some claim that the term indicates the nail's weight as "pounds per thousand." For example, a twenty-penny nail (20d) weighs .02 pounds. Others say the term refers to how much 100 nails use to cost -- 20d would mean you could get 100 nails for 20 cents. Since nails are generally proportional in shape, a 20d nail, which has a length of four inches, is thicker and longer than 10d nail, which has a length of three inches. When picking nails, consult with a size chart to make sure you get the length you want.

Below is some more information on the more common types of nails:

Box Nail

Box nails are thinner gauge nails (made from thinner wire) used in applications where splitting wood is likely with a thicker common nail. They have a full, round head.

Casing Nail

These nails are used where the nail head must be hidden. They have small heads and smaller diameters than common nails. Casing nails have a conical head, sometimes cupped, and are somewhat thicker than a finishing nail. They are sometimes sold already painted and are used to attach trim.

Common Nail

A general purpose nail for construction work.

Drywall Nail

A nail with a large, very thin head for securing wall panels and drywall.

Finish Nails

These nails have a very small head and a slight indentation in the center. They used most commonly when you want to hide the nail (the small head allows it to sink into the wood (called countersinking) and the indentation facilitates using nailset tool). Used typically for trim and molding, but because of its common availability and neat appearance, they are frequently used for other purposes such as hanging pictures.

Masonry Nail

The hardest of nails, made of steel to hammer in concrete (yes, you can nail into concrete).

Roofing Nail

As the name implies, roofing nails are used for roofs because of its extra large head to hold down shingles; also usually has a water resistant coating.


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