Stainless steel nails come in all different shapes and sizes, so how do you ensure you are choosing the right ones for you. It can be a much more daunting task than it first appears. The consequences of using the wrong nail can have a big impact. The first question on everyone’s lips is what size nail do I need to use? The best way to check is to look at the rules and regulations that apply to building in your district but there is a general rule of thumb, no pun intended. This is to use a nail that is three times as big as the material you are nailing through. If you are unsure it is always better to use a nail that is a little too long rather than one that isn’t long enough.
Nails for pneumatic nail guns which are also called fasteners are sold in gauge sizes. The smallest is usually 15 gauge and the largest 23 gauge, the gauge refers to the thickness of the nail rather than the length. You can then have several different lengths in each of the different gauge sizes. So be careful not to confuse the two. 15 to 16 gauge are called finish nails, and these are the largest. You would use these for doors, baseboards and moldings especially for pieces of wood that aren’t visible.
Eighteen-gauge nails which get called brad nails are smaller and do not have quite as much holding power. They are better for smaller pieces of trim as they are less likely to split or damage it. 21 and 23-gauge nails are better known as pin nails they are usually so small that they do not really have a visible head and are used to hold very small pieces of trim and you may tend to use them alongside glue to ensure that everything remains in place. 18 gauge is the most versatile nail of this type.
Another thing that you have to consider is whether the nail will be inside or whether it will be outside where it may have to battle with the elements. If you use interior nails outside, then they are likely to rust and will not do their job for very long. So, there are four types of exterior nail that you need to be aware of.
Electro Galvanized which are steel nails which are given a coat of zinc as this protects them from rusting. They are however not as resilient as some of the other types of exterior nails that are available.
Hot Dipped galvanised nails are dipped in molten zinc as they are being made. This means that they have a much thicker coating of zinc and thus do not rust for many years.
The next option, the stainless steel 304, is a premium product that is guaranteed not to rust.
The final option is the stainless steel 316 nails, these are the hardest wearing of the fasteners. They have chromium, nickel and molybdenum added, this makes them very hard waring and non-corrosive.
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