Types of Construction Nails

Probably the most basic and fundamental tool in construction is the nail.

Common Nails

Many types of nails are involved in construction.Many types of nails are involved in construction.
Most every construction project of any kind will at some time make use of some kind of nail. If you are planning to undertake a construction project of some sort, you should familiarize yourself with the various types of construction nails and what they are used for.

Common nails, also called spike nails, are the most frequent type of nails used in the construction trades. These nails are versatile, able to suffice for a wide variety of functions. Mostly, they are intended for use with projects that don't require an attractive appearance, such as framing lumber or building supports. They vary in size from 4 to 14 inches.

Box Nails

Box nails bear a strong resemblance to common nails, except they are smaller and lighter and are intended for use with lighter types of wood. Their shafts and heads are slightly narrower than common nails. They usually range in size between ¾ and 5 inches long.

Wire Nails

Wire nails are similar in design to both common and box nails but are even smaller than box nails.

Finishing Nails

Finishing nails are used for applying trim. They are designed with tiny heads so that once they are driven into the wood they disappear. They are used in projects where appearance is very important. They can range in size from 1 to 4 inches in length.

Casing Nails

Casing nails are very similar to finishing nails but are a bit heavier, stronger and more durable and are intended for use outdoors. They are sometimes called flooring nails and have a slightly wider head than finishing nails. They range in length from 1 1/8 to 3¼ inches.

Wire Brads

Wire brads are also similar to finishing nails but are even smaller and are used for molding. Like finishing nails, they have tiny heads that disappear into the wood after they are driven.

Roofing Nails

Roofing nails are short and squat, with wide heads. They are used to attach shingles to a roof. These types of construction nails are usually galvanized---that is, coated with zinc to avoid rust. They range in size from ¾ to 2 inches.

Drywall Nails

Drywall nails are basically indoor versions of roofing nails. They have the same shape and size, but, as they are designed for interior use, they are not galvanized.

About the Author

Justin Mitchell has been a writer since 2009. In 2002, he received a B.A. in theater and writing from the University of Northern Colorado. Mitchell worked as an ESL teacher in Europe and Asia before earning a master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York. He has written for the "New York Daily News" and WNYC.org, among other outlets.