Last updated: August 19, 2021

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The construction and repair of objects, however alien you may see it, will always be a part of everyone's life, in all circumstances. For this reason it is important to choose the right tools to be able to do the job properly. Nails are an important part of this.

A badly used nail can cause the complete failure of a door, for this and other reasons it is essential to have them at home, but even more, to know how to use them. At the moment of acquiring this small but significant piece, you must understand that it can represent the real repair of your problem.

As there are so many types of nails, it is normal to get confused, but through this article you will learn everything you need to know about this tool, so that when you think about acquiring it you can choose the perfect nail, according to the work you want to do.




Summary

  • Nails are tools or supplies for construction work, which allow the fastening of one surface to another firmly, preventing them from separating easily. They also resist weight, which makes them useful for hanging accessories or decorations on walls.
  • Nails come in many varieties, and there are two essential ones that you should be aware of to avoid buying incorrectly: concrete nails, used in strong materials and with high thickness and length; and wood nails, which are usually thinner and lighter, for applications in that material or similar.
  • It is important to note that, at the time of purchase, you should know certain types of comparative points, which will allow you to discern which of the many models is the right one for your needs.

The Best Nails: Our Picks

When you don't really know a product you intend to buy, the best way to really find out what it is and what its quality standards are is through the market. With the following ranking you will get to know the best nails, so that you can familiarise yourself with them.

Buying Guide

After looking at the best types of nails, you may have a clearer idea of what they are, what quality they are and which one can best meet your needs. However, it is important that, before you even think about making a decision, you know certain terminology associated with it, so that you are sure of what you are buying.

The perfect nail can ensure a good construction or repair. (Photo: Matthew Howard / 123rf.com)

What are nails and what are their advantages?

A nail is, in a nutshell, a piece or tool for construction or repair work, which works to secure or tighten something on a surface, as well as to join two surfaces at key points to hold them together. They are indispensable both on construction sites and in the home, as they are very practical and versatile.

Among their most important advantages is their secure fit. Nails are tools that allow a very strong fixation of one surface to another, as well as having high resistance to weight, so they work for hanging pictures or decorative wall hangings, without the need to damage or break them excessively.

Although it may sound like the perfect purchase, the truth is that nails, like any other product, have advantages and disadvantages, which show the reality of it. This is not to say that it is a bad buy, as every product has disadvantages. However, it is important to know all aspects before buying.

Advantages
  • High strength
  • quick to apply
  • inexpensive.
Disadvantages
  • Can cause accidents when applied
  • can be easily lost due to size
  • some can puncture the surface too much and weaken it.

Wood or concrete nails - what should you look out for?

While there is a wide variety of nails, there are two models in particular that are important to differentiate. This is because confusion between one and the other can detract from the job at hand altogether, as the two are very different, although they serve the same basic function.

Nails for wood: Nails for this type of surface can vary in thickness according to the strength of the wood. However, they are not too thick, as this could crack the material. They are applied manually with a hammer.

They are manufactured with low carbon content and are commonly galvanised or vinylised, depending on the intended use. They are normally smooth. They can be applied to furniture, wood, thick cardboard and can be used in automatic nailing machines.

Concrete nails: These nails are special nails for heavy-duty surface work. They are made of hardened steel. They can be thicker than other models, although this may vary according to use.

Among the main jobs where concrete nails can be used are fixing doors, windows and frames. They can also be used for fixing into concrete blocks or bricks, and even to support shelves. They can be applied manually or impact-applied with a nail gun.

Nails for wood Nails for concrete
Uses Furniture, cardboard, wood Frames, doors, windows, bricks and concrete.
Strength Medium - High High.
Mode of application Mostly manual Manual or automatic.
Thickness Medium thickness Can be very thick depending on use

Are there other types of nails?

As you can imagine, there are many different types of nails, and while it may be difficult to mention them all, there are some that are essential. By getting to know them, you will know their characteristics and where you can apply them, so that you can use them in the right situations.

Standard nails: These types of nails are perfect for any type of construction. They work for masonry work, as well as furniture. They are extremely versatile. They also come galvanised.

Trupán nails: They are very strong, and are used in particular situations, such as finishing rooms, and furniture. They can be a little more rustic to the touch than ordinary nails. They are long.

Smooth nails: These come into use in the concrete area, for applications that require strong drilling and high strength without fear of deformation. They are perfect for installing frames or doors, as well as fixing materials to concrete or brick surfaces.

Staples: Extremely versatile. They can be used to install fences, for furniture, thick carpentry work and fixing wires, they are very practical and resistant.

Choosing the right type of nail means safe and steady work. (Photo: Pavlo Burdyak / 123rf.com)

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate the different models of nails

As a final point, it is important to take into account certain aspects that work to establish comparisons, especially with a product with as much variety as nails. Therefore, we will show you which are the key points to analyse in order to discern which will be the ideal model according to what you need.

  • Area of use
  • Application
  • Length
  • Materials

Area of use

As you could see, there are areas of use with different materials, such as wood and concrete. However, there are others that are just as important, and it is preferable that you know about them so that you can determine the exact use of each nail, and you can make the right choice before buying.

Furniture and craft nails: They are small in size compared to the other types, not very thick, so they are excellent for applications and fastenings in smaller surfaces that are made of wood or similar material. They are made of steel wire.

Roofing nails: These are made of galvanised steel, and are only used for roof fastenings, such as the installation of roof tiles, for example. Their length depends on the surface to be fastened.

Using special roofing nails is important for a safe repair (Photo: Kolessl / 123rf.com)

Application

The way of applying the nails also determines which one to buy, as there are nails that are applied manually, while others are special nails for automatic nailing guns. According to the way you do it, you should choose the type of nail.

Manual: These are the most common nails, which you will normally find in any hardware store, as you need a hammer and your own strength to apply them. They can cause very easy accidents, from stepping on your finger while nailing, to nailing directly into your hand. Therefore, it is important to be cautious.

There are certain surfaces where manual work is more advisable, as they require a very subtle and delicate nailing, due to the weakness of the material, so you should also evaluate the surface before deciding on the application.

Automatic: This type of application requires less effort, as the machine is the one who uses the force to drive the nail into the surface. The nails are usually very strong and do not deform. This mode also has its risks if the shots are not controlled.

In both cases there are good and bad things, while in the manual mode the process can be more economical, in the automatic mode it is faster and less tiring. What is true is that both have a level of risk, so you can take safety measures, such as covering your eyes, wearing gloves and non-slip footwear when working.

Length

The length of a nail is determinant in certain cases for the resistance to weight, the ease of falling, as well as the breakage and weakening of the material where it is inserted. Therefore, before buying a nail, you should look where it will go, so that you do not end up breaking the material due to the length of the nail.

Small nails. These are the 3/4, 7/8 and 1 inch nails, they are perfect for fastening applications, especially if it is one material to another. They will not break the material where they are applied, although the thickness also has an influence there. They should not be used to support weights, as they can give way.

Medium nails. If you are looking for larger sizes, such as 1 ¼; 1 ½; 1 ¾; and 2 inches, they may be useful for hanging objects on walls and supporting weights, as well as for fixing surfaces to others, especially if they are very strong. Concrete nails are usually found between these and the following sizes.

Long nails. The longest lengths are 2 ¼ and 2 ½ inches, with them you can work on very resistant surfaces, and they will help you to fix others easily. They are weight resistant, ideal for work with very strong materials, such as brick or concrete.

The longer the nail, the better it is for heavy-duty, weight-bearing surfaces. (Photo: Julia Sudnitskaya / 123rf.com)

Material

Depending on the material the nail is made of, its strength may vary. That is why it is important to know what material nails are available on the market, so that you can take this into consideration when carrying out the construction work.

Steel: They are the most common, very resistant and with a firm security when they are applied. They do not tend to deform easily, but this also depends on the thickness at the moment of applying the force to fix them.

Aluminium: They are lighter and do not suffer from rust because they are made of this material. They are resistant to weathering, although the possibility of deformation is higher. They are also resistant, although they are not really suitable for very firm surfaces.

Copper: This type of nails are ideal for roofs. This material does not rust and is very durable. Other types of nails may wear out due to constant contact with the sun and rain, but not with this type of nails.

(Featured image photo: Pavel Rodimov/ 123rf.com)

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