Different construction projects require fasteners with various qualities to ensure the project’s structural soundness. Construction workers use nails in all kinds of tasks, from roofing to flooring. It’s essential for workers to use a suitable nail size, type and material for their application.
Nail size is standardized according to several factors, including diameter, gauge and shank length. These characteristics make various nails suitable for different projects. Understanding nail size is essential for selecting the proper hardware for your job and potentially saving yourself money and time. Discover the right nail for your application with these nail size charts.
Standards for Nail Sizes
The nail sizing charts below provide the industry standards for nail sizing. To understand a nail size chart, you first need to know the measurements used to determine nail size:
Penny size: The penny size is a standard unit of measurement for nails, abbreviated as “d.” This measurement initially referred to the price of 100 nails, with longer nails costing more. Now penny size indicates nail size, although it doesn’t correspond precisely to another unit of measurement. For example, a 16 penny nail is abbreviated as a 16d nail and is longer than an 8d nail.
Gauge: A nail’s gauge is a unit of measurement referring to its diameter or thickness. Higher nail gauge sizes correspond to thinner nails, with smaller nail gauge sizes correlating to thicker, stronger nails. For instance, a 12-gauge nail is thinner than a 5-gauge nail.
Shank diameter: The shank of the nail refers to its longer portion driven into the material rather than the flat head. The shank’s diameter is a measurement of its thickness in inches.
Shank length: Shank length refers to nail length and is measured in inches.
Head diameter: The nail head diameter is an approximate measurement of the nail’s head in inches.
Nails exist in various sizes and types to serve different functions. Pullout resistance is one factor that influences nail selection. Nails with threaded or ringed shanks resist pullout more than those with smooth shanks. Whether a project involves hardwood or softwood also influences a construction team’s choice of nail.
Nail materials vary, with stainless steel and copper-plated nails some of the most common. Copper nails provide excellent structural support and longevity, making them ideal for environments with high humidity. Stainless steel nails work well with soft materials and provide corrosion and climate resistance.
Different applications also require unique nail heads. For roofing, nails must lie discreetly under shingles while providing tear resistance. Flat, wide nail heads are ideal for this situation. Specialty nail designs and coatings allow construction workers to find suitable hardware for their job.
Based on these factors, the three most used nail types include:
Common nails: Common nails have smooth shanks ideal for structural work, repairs and other applications requiring typical resistance. The smooth shank of common nails makes them adequate for supporting lateral loads where pullout resistance is a minor factor.
Box nails: Box nails have smooth shanks similar to common nails. The primary difference is that box nails typically have a slightly higher gauge. These nails are ideal for projects where the construction team is less concerned with holding strength, like working with thinner wood, crates, trims and other non-structural projects.
Annular and threaded nails: Annular or threaded nails have threaded shanks that provide additional grip once inserted into the material. These nails offer superior pullout resistance and structural support. Construction workers use annular nails in projects that require extra holding power, like subflooring and drywall replacement.
Common Nail Sizing Chart
Here is the nail size chart for common nails:
2d, 15 gauge: 15-gauge shank, 0.072-inch shank diameter, 1-inch shank length and 3/16-inch head diameter
2d, 14 gauge: 14-gauge shank, 0.083-inch shank diameter, 1-inch shank length and 13/64-inch head diameter
3d: 14-gauge shank, 0.083-inch shank diameter, 1.25-inch shank length and 13/64-inch head diameter
4d: 12-gauge shank, 0.109-inch shank diameter, 1.5-inch shank length and 1/4-inch head diameter
5d: 12-gauge shank, 0.109-inch shank diameter, 1.75-inch shank length and 1/4-inch head diameter
6d: 11-gauge shank, 0.12-inch shank diameter, 2-inch shank length and 17/64-inch head diameter
8d: 10-gauge shank, 0.134-inch shank diameter, 2.5-inch shank length and 9/32-inch head diameter
10d: 9-gauge shank, 0.148-inch shank diameter, 3-inch shank length and 5/16-inch head diameter
12d: 9-gauge shank, 0.148-inch shank diameter, 3.25-inch shank length and 5/16-inch head diameter
16d: 8-gauge shank, 0.165-inch shank diameter, 3.5-inch shank length and 11/32-inch head diameter
20d: 6-gauge shank, 0.203-inch shank diameter, 4-inch shank length and 13/32-inch head diameter
30d: 5-gauge shank, 0.220-inch shank diameter, 4.5-inch shank length and 7/16-inch head diameter
40d: 4-gauge shank, 0.238-inch shank diameter, 5-inch shank length and 15/32-inch head diameter
60d: 4-gauge shank, 0.238-inch shank diameter, 6-inch shank length and 17/32-inch head diameter
Box Nail Size Chart
This box nail length chart can help you determine the best size of box nail for your application:
16d: 10-gauge shank, 0.135-inch shank diameter and 3.5-inch shank length
20d: 9-gauge shank, 0.148-inch shank diameter and 4-inch shank length
Annular and Threaded Nail Sizing Chart
Consider this annular and threaded nail size chart when selecting threaded nails for your project:
6d: 0.12-inch shank diameter and 2-inch shank length
8d: 0.12-inch shank diameter and 2.5-inch shank length
10d: 0.135-inch shank diameter and 3-inch shank length
12d: 0.135-inch shank diameter and 3.25-inch shank length
16d: 0.148-inch shank diameter and 3.5-inch shank length
20d: 0.177-inch shank diameter and 4-inch shank length
30d: 0.177-inch shank diameter and 4.5-inch shank length
40d: 0.177-inch shank diameter and 5-inch shank length
50d: 0.177-inch shank diameter and 5.5-inch shank length
60d: 0.177-inch shank diameter and 6-inch shank length
70d: 0.207-inch shank diameter and 7-inch shank length
80d: 0.207-inch shank diameter and 8-inch shank length
90d: 0.207-inch shank diameter and 9-inch shank length
Find the Right Nails at All Points Fasteners
Nail size varies widely depending on the type of hardware your project requires. Understanding the requirements of your work and the types of nails available can help you select the best one.
At All Points Fasteners, we offer a wide selection of quality nails, screws, bolts and other fasteners to fit your application. We will work with you to find the products to help you accomplish your project.
To work with our support team on a fastener solution to fit your unique needs, request a quote today!
Head Screw Lady Since 1986! Specializing in breaking down the language barrier between suppliers and end users.
During her 35 years working in the fastener industry, MaryLouise has worked directly with end users, contractor’s, OEM’S and DIY, as well working within the import industry, working with fastener manufacturers and distributors. This has given her the unique perspective of having the technical knowledge needed to perform in the fastener world but also be familiar with the needs of end users who don’t necessarily know the fastener jargon or applications to know exactly what they need for their jobs.