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Applications for Nails
Projects of all types — plywood, flooring, underlayment, decking, siding and roofing — require the use of some type of fasteners, and many of these projects use nails as the fasteners of choice. Nails are available in a variety of types, materials and sizes and include plain copper nails, steel siding nails, stainless steel ring shank nails and many others. The nails used for roofing, flooring and other projects are typically more durable than standard nails.

The type of shank creates the differences between the various nails. The most commonly used nails are smooth shank, and are often used for framing and general construction purposes. They provide sufficient holding power for most applications.

Compared to smooth shank nails, ring shank or twisted shank nails have better fastening and anti-withdrawing strength. Rink shank nails are used for sheet roofing nailing projects, and provide excellent holding power because the wood fills in the crevasses of the ring. They also provide friction, which helps prevent the nails from “popping” over time. Nail manufacturers make nails using a variety of materials and processes, including electro-galvanized carbon steel, hot-dipped zinc-plated steel, aluminum, stainless steel and copper. Copper nails are a popular choice among many contractors because they add an element of elegance to a project. Copper nails come in both rink shank and smooth shank meaning you can get the perfect  type and look of nail for your project.

Choose the correct size
Nail sizes range from 2d to 70d and 3-gauge (0.259”) to 15-gauge (0.072”). The standard practice for selecting a nail length is to choose a nail that has a length that is three times the thickness of the material. For roofing nails, the standard lengths fall between one and two inches, but go as high as six inches long. A sensible guide to follow is to create a minimum of 1/2" of penetration when fastening very thin materials into wood. For thin materials that weighs 50 or 75 pounds or more, make the depth of the penetration 1 1/2" to 2".

When installing soft material such as drywall or siding, add the thickness of the materials to the optimal nail length. For example, super-thick grade vinyl siding has a .05” thickness. You may decide to use stainless steel siding nails, and will need to add 1/20” to the nail’s length.

Make sure that you choose a nail that is appropriate for the environment. Although aluminum nails make a fine choice for shingle and metal roofs, you must also take into account outside elements, such as location and the environment, where salt or chemicals can have a negative effect on aluminum shank nails. Instead, select stainless steel ring shank nails, which can withstand such elements.

If you need a fastener solution that can be used just about any climate and resist corrosion, select nails with a stainless steel finish. Solutions like stainless steel ring shank nails not only show excellent strength and ductility, but also have an attractive appearance.

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