The proper nail material is determined by the type of wood you’re using. Aluminium and stainless steel are appropriate for cedar and redwood fencing. For pressure-treated wood, use hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel nails.
Nails are faster than screws to install, meaning less labor for you or your builder (which may translate into lower installation cost). … You can use both nails and screws on a wood fence – some builders attach the pickets to the backer rails with nails, then attach the backer rails/panels to the posts using screws.
A fence is only as strong as the nails that hold it together, and all nails are not alike. Each type of nail has specific characteristics, and it is clearly evident when the wrong type of nail has been used to build a fence. Wood expands and contracts as it gets wet and then dries out. Expanding and contracting wood is the main cause of nails working their way out of the pickets, and pickets falling off of the rails. Rails, posts and pickets or infill boards are the common factors in wood fences regardless of the design, and all require the use of nails that are capable of holding them together.
Fences built out of untreated pine are the least corrosive to fasteners, but that doesn’t mean that any type of nail can be used to fasten the rails or pickets. A fence built out of pine is notorious for warping and curling pickets. To help minimize warping and curling pickets, use 6-d (2-inch) ring shank nails made out of galvanized steel for one-by-four or one-by-six fence pickets. The galvanized steel is less expensive than aluminium, but it has the potential to eventually corrode and is not recommended for cedar fences. Galvanized steel nails are used to help lower the overall cost of the fence.
Pressure-treated lumber is infused with chemical preservatives to provide resistance to rot and insect damage. It’s the best economical choice for wood fencing. Choosing the right nail for this type of lumber is important because the chemicals are corrosive to some metals, namely plain steel and aluminium. The standard option is hot-dipped galvanized nails, which provide more corrosion-resistance than electro-galvanized or hot-galvanized materials. The most reliable material for pressure-treated wood is stainless steel. Use 6-d (2-inch) rink shank nails to fasten pickets and infill boards.
Fences built out of cedar or redwood tend to look better than treated-lumber fences, but they are more expensive. These beautiful woods contain natural acids that can be corrosive to ordinary nails. It also reacts with galvanized nails and produces the familiar dark streaks, or bleeding, you see on many fences. The best option for cedar and redwood is stainless steel, which does not bleed and is the most corrosion-resistant nail material. Aluminium is also acceptable in many climates, but for coastal areas and very wet conditions, stainless steel offers added protection that’s worth the extra cost. Use 6-d (2-inch) nails to fasten the pickets, and 16-d nails to fasten the rails. Again, ring-shank nails offer the best holding power.
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