What Type of Nails Do You Use When Building a Fence?

Fence Nails

Fences not only provide you with security but also safeguard your privacy. While you may be spoilt for choices regarding the type of fence, wooden fences never go out of style. However, ensuring your fence remains firm starts by knowing what kind of fence nails to use. In this guide, you get to understand the types of nails and where they’re most effective.

How do poor-quality nails contribute to rust?

Most conventional nails are made from iron, plain steel, or aluminum, which are more prone to rust. As the iron combines with oxygen and water, it’s more likely to rust, creating an unsightly appearance. Rust may also eat into wooden panels, damaging their integrity. The timber eventually gets splinters and break, causing nails to loosen. Over time, the fence will fall. Even if you treat your panels to prevent rot and insect infestations, they aren’t resistant to rust. According to Birkdale Sales, using low-quality nails won’t make your fence last for as long as you hoped. Therefore, it’s best to invest in high-quality stainless and galvanized steel nails (preferably 6-d 2-inch) for your pressure-treated wood.

How to choose the right type of nails depending on the fence material

The type of wood determines the nail type you will use to build your fence. Some wood species may react to fastener materials, compromising the appearance and structural integrity of the fence. Below are some common materials to help you decide which nails best suit them:


If your fence material is cedar, go for stainless steel. Alternatively, get double hot-tipped galvanized or polymer-coated fasteners. These materials are acid-resistant and don’t rust easily. Avoid zinc-plated steel as they react to acids in the cedar, leading to corrosion streaks.

Pressure-treated pine

Pressure treatment for pine involves preservatives, which is why you should go for compatible fasteners. Some nails may react with pressure-treated pine, rusting in the process. The best nails for pressure-treated wood fencing are hot-dipped galvanized stainless steel, silicon bronze, copper fasteners, or polymer-coated. These fasteners vary by price and durability, and most of them don’t need pre-finishing treatments to preserve their integrity. It all depends on the company that treats the wood. To ensure you choose the suitable fastener for your pressure-treated wood, weigh its pros and cons first. Also, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions manual to get the best installation advice.

Non-pressure-treated pine

If your fence is made from non-pressure-treated pine, go for zinc-plated steel or other fasteners approved for it. Considering the wood is not treated with pressure, there is no cause for alarm regarding the fastening material reacting to it.

Galvanized steel

Galvanized nails are regular steep hot-dipped, and coated in zinc to prevent rust. The zinc layer protects the metal from oxygen and moisture. Unlike stainless steel, galvanized steel is more affordable on pressure-treated wood. The hot-dipping method works by clogging the galvanized nails, hence creating a detailed surface. These nails are smooth and durable, giving you value for your money. Depending on your fence type, your provider will tell the gauges and lengths you go for.

Bright nails

Bright nails lack surface coating, making them pretty prone to rust and corrosion. As the wood expands and contracts due to moisture content in the atmosphere and the status of the weather, bright nails will rust. While they might be cheaper than galvanized and stainless-steel nails, their incapability to resist rust makes them suitable for internal interior projects, not panel wood fencing.


Manufacturing stainless steel involves ordinary steel with 10% or more chromium in a melted state. According to Jacksons Fencing, the molten chromium reinforces strength in the metal. The result is a rust-resistant nail. Unlike galvanized steel, stainless steel is smooth, glossy, and robust, giving an esthetic appearance. It’s also relatively pricier than galvanized steel because of the process it undergoes during manufacturing. It can tolerate salty environments, making it a popular choice for homes in South Coast regions. Some stainless-steel nails have rings and additional textures, providing added strength when fixing with increased friction. It’s available in gauge ranges from 2.65mm to 50mm.

Ring shank nails

These nails have spirals that pass through wood effortlessly, holding power. Upon hammering, the continued spiral pattern creates friction hence a firm grip to prevent loosening. The only downside to this nail is that they’re difficult to remove when wrongly hammered.

Round wire nails

Round wire nails don’t have spirals, allowing them to pass through wood effortlessly. Unlike ring shank rails, they don’t provide added strength. However, they have excellent reinforcement power properties, making them ideal for almost all types of fencing projects.

A buying guide for choosing the right nails size

Whether you’re building a new fence or repairing it, knowing what size of nails for your project is vital. It depends on the application, but some pointers help you make a wise buying decision.

  • 30mm nails- galvanized round wire nails- Suitable for cutting down framed fence panels
  • 50mm nails-stainless-steel ring shank nails- Suitable for reinforcing pales to rails in a conventional feather-board system
  • 50 mm nails-galvanized round wire nails- Suitable for attaching poles to panels

Before buying the proper nails for your wooden fence, first:

  • Check the type of wood you’re building with to decide which nails suit it best
  • Decide if you want aesthetically appealing nails to complement your wood fence or nails with added support properties
  • Devise the right nail length for your fence installation project

Going by Outdoor Essential Products, there are many nail options out there. But the buck stops at the type of wood you’re working with and your knowledge of how to build your fence. While the price might be a key factor determining your buying decision, it’s imperative to weigh the pros and cons of each nail option before starting your project. You’ll know you made the right purchasing decision if the nails don’t interfere with your wood fence and last for many years.

You can also read:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply