Getting The Right Angle On Framing Nails

Jul 17, 2023 | NEWS

When building a wood frame structure, selecting the optimal framing nail is crucial for strength and durability. Framing nails are designed to provide a sturdy connection between wood studs, joists, and rafters. An important factor in framing nails is the angle of the nail shank. Common options include 33 degree, 22 degree, and 21 degree angled nails. But what do these angles mean and how do they impact performance? Read on to learn the key differences between these popular angled framing nail types.

21 degree framing nails galvanized

What the Angle Means?- Leading Nails Manufacturer Explain To You

The angle designation refers to the slant of the nail shank relative to the nail head. 33 degree shank nails have the gentlest slope, 22 degree nails are steeper, and 21 degree nails have the sharpest angle. This angle controls two important factors:

• Ease of driving – The sharper the angle, the more effort required to drive the nail into wood.
• Holding power – Steeper angles provide greater resistance to pull-out for enhanced grip.

33 degree framing nails offer a balance of relatively easy driving with moderate holding power. 21 degree nails maximize holding strength but are harder to drive. And 22 degree nails provide a middle ground. Consider the nail angle needed for your specific framing application.

33 Degree Framing Nails

With their gently sloped shank, 33 degree nails are the easiest to drive into wood. Less hammer force is required compared to steeper angled nails. This makes 33 degree nails a good choice for:

• Manual nailing where effort needs to be minimized
• Connecting to more delicate or brittle materials
• Tight spaces where full hammer swings aren’t possible

The downside is less holding strength. For most indoor, low load framing, 33 degree nails provide sufficient grip. But for structural framing or outdoor builds, consider a steeper angle.

22 Degree Framing Nails

Representing a good midpoint between driveability and strength, 22 degree framing nails are a popular default choice for most jobs. Their moderately angled shank provides noticeably greater holding power versus 33 degree nails while still requiring reasonable driving force.

22 degree nails work well for:

• Outdoor builds where weather resistance is needed
• Structural framing like rafters, headers, and shear walls where strength is critical
• Connecting framing members made from harder woods

For a capable all-purpose framing nail suitable to both indoor and exterior projects, reach for 22 degree nails.

21 Degree Framing Nails Galvanized

Maximizing holding strength, 21 degree nails have the steepest shank for greatest resistance to pull-out. This makes them ideal for:

• Permanent outdoor builds like decks, fencing, and garages
• Structural framing in earthquake zones that require maximum shear strength
• Connecting very heavy timbers and beams
• Galvanized Coating makes nails with higher anti-corrosion and anit-rust

The downside is difficult driving. Significant hammer force is required to seat the nails properly into wood without bending. Pre-drilling pilot holes is advisable for 21 degree nails. Though not required for most jobs, consider 21 degree nails when structural strength is the absolute top priority.

Galvanized Framing Nails

For exterior and permanent framed structures, galvanized framing nails are a must. The zinc coating provides superior corrosion resistance and longevity compared to standard bright steel nails. Without galvanization, exterior nails will eventually rust and compromise the structural integrity of the frame.

Some tips when selecting galvanized framing nails:

• Look for G90 grade nails a minimum. This means 0.90 oz of zinc coating per square foot of surface area.
• Choose hot-dip galvanizing over electroplating if possible – it provides greater coverage and protection.
• For highest corrosion resistance, use 304 or 316 stainless steel nails.
• Pay attention to nails for pressure treated lumber, as the chemicals can react with some galvanized coatings.

Proper Use Guidelines To Framing Nails

To get the best results from your angled framing nails:

• Use the recommended nail length for your wood thickness – too short risks reduced strength, too long splits the wood.
• Drive nails perpendicular to the wood grain – skewing them reduces holding power.
• Space nails appropriately for design loads – consult building codes for structural nailing patterns.
• Set nail heads flush without excess damage to wood surface.
• Consider pre-drilling dense or hardened woods to prevent bending nails.