There are many different types of nails. The grading system can be confusing
and the many different types of coating and head styles to go with them just add
to the confusion. This list is by no means exhaustive and will be updated from
time to time.
Nails are graded on size. The sizes are graded in a system that refers to
their size. The unit is called a "penny." The larger the number, the larger
the nail. A 3-penny (3d) nail is much smaller than a 16-penny nail.
Note: The penny sizes were once used as the price per
hundred of nails, but now we use this as a measure of length (approximate, at
least). We abbreviate the "penny" with the symbol "d".
Actually the "d" is alleged to be derived from the "denaruis",
an early Roman coin.
The four types of nails that you will usually run into are: finish,
roofing and drywall. Common nails have larger
heads that are clearly visible after the nail has been driven. They are used
for framing buildings and situations where appearance is not
Finish nails have a much smaller head that can be concealed after
the nail has been driven. These nails are used for applying trim and other
areas where appearance is important.
Roofing nails have a large head that
are intended to hold shingles and are usually galvanized.
look the same as roofing nails but are not galvanized.
Nails are generally either coated or non coated. The different coatings
Galvanized: these nails are available in
common, finish and roofing and are recommended for exterior applications as they
Adhesive Coated: These nails usually have a dark coating that is intended to
make them stay where they are driven.
Spiral: The body of a spiral nail is twisted like a screw. These nails are
excellent for exterior applications that are subjected to repeated stress. Decks are a great example
Some of these nails are coated with
Masonry: These nails are "hardened" and will endure the stress of
being driven into a mortar joint.
Cut: These nails have a square body and
head. They are used in masonry and are also found in older homes.
Aluminum: These nails are used for plaster lathe and other specialty