Choosing The Right Nail Diameter, Type And Size For The Applications

Jul 28, 2023 | NEWS

When it comes to nailing down a professional finish for construction projects and DIY jobs around the house, having the right nails makes all the difference. Factors like nail diameter, type and size must be matched to the specific application. For instance, an 18 ga nail diameter works for trim carpentry, while 10d nails are ideal for framing, and concrete calls for coil nails. In this blog, we’ll explore how to select nails for optimal strength, appearance and durability.

10d nails for framing

Why Nail Diameter Matters?

Nail diameter or gauge indicates the thickness of the actual nail shank. Common sizing runs from 18 ga (.040″) for the thinnest up to 8 ga (.164″) for the thickest. Thinner nail diameters allow easier insertion with less splitting on delicate molding and trim materials. Thicker diameters provide greater holding strength for framing and load-bearing applications. Matching nail diameter to the task results in better grip with less damage.

Knowing When To Use 18 Ga Nails

With a .040″ diameter, 18 ga nails are well suited for detailed finish work because they:

  • Minimize Splitting – Thin shank reduces the chance of splitting delicate wood trim and molding.
  • Create Smaller Holes – Leaves only a tiny hole for an inconspicuous appearance.
  • Allow Easy Insertion – Thinner diameter slides in smoothly without heavy hammering.
  • Provide Adequate Holding – Sufficient grip for interior trim, cabinets and other light duty uses.

While 18 ga lacks the strength for structural joints, it excels at creating invisible, secure fastening for finish applications.

10d Nails – The Framing Gold Standard

In construction, the “penny” size nails like 10d have become standard for framing applications. The “d” stands for “penny” and 10 indicates a nail length of 3 inches. With a thicker .148″ diameter, 10d nails for framing provide:

  • High Holding Strength – Thick shank and greater surface area resists pull out.
  • Load-Bearing Ability – Ideal for critical structural joints that support weight.
  • Won’t Crack Wood – Thicker diameter less prone to splitting framing lumber.
  • Large Head – Wide head better grips across wood grain for stability.
  • Cost-Effective – Readily available in bulk for high volume framing jobs.

For strength you can depend on when framing walls, floors, roofs and more, 10d nails get the job done right.

Specialty Coil Nails For Concrete

While smooth shank nails work for wood, nails for masonry and concrete applications require special designs to grip securely. Coil nails feature knurled shanks or annular rings that provide added holding power. Hardened steel resists bending when driven into concrete. For concrete form work, siding, framing and general repair jobs, coil nails like Paslode Impasse nails are an ideal choice.