Tool Time: 11 Nails Every DIYer Should Know

Different projects demand different types of nails. For instance, installing trim and molding calls for finishing nails, while a new roof needs a—you guessed it—roofing nail. Read on to discover 10 of the most common nail types and when to use them.

  1. Common Nail


    As the name suggests, these are your everyday nails. They are generally used for rough construction work, and can be driven into hard materials.

  2. Box Nail


    These look like common nails, but are thinner. This means they are less likely to cause splits in the wood but they also have less holding power. So, if structural strength is critical, avoid box nails.

    Related:  Nailing Techniques

  3. Finishing Nail


    Finishing nails are (surprise, surprise) used for finish work. Their barrel-shaped heads are small and can be driven below the surface of the wood using a nail set (a technique called countersinking). Finishing nails are useful for installing trim, crafting furniture, and other occasions you need to hide the head of the fastener.

    Related:  The Essential Toolbox

  4. Casing Nail

    Casing nail

    A close cousin of the finishing nail, the casing nail is slightly larger and has increased holding power. It is commonly used for attaching moldings such as window and door casings where added strength is needed.

  5. Brads

    Brad nails

    Brads are used as finishing nails but are propor­tionately smaller in diameter and length. They are used in building frames, attaching plywood paneling, and in cabinet­work.

  6. Roofing Nail


    Roofing nails have disproportionately large, round heads and heavier shafts. Designed to hold composite and asphalt roofing materials in place, roofing nails are heavily gal­vanized to resist rust. 

  7. Masonry Nail

    Masonry nails

    There are several types of masonry nails available; all are designed to be driven into brick or concrete walls. The shape of the masonry nail varies by type, but all are har­dened to resist bending and breaking as they are driven into almost rock-hard materials. Be sure to wear safety glasses when using masonry nails, as flying concrete chips could harm your eyes.

  8. Cut Flooring Nail

    Cut flooring nail

    The cut nail is used for installing flooring. These nails are large, strong, and are often used in a nailing machine for easier, faster handling.

    Related:  Cut Nails - Hammering Home Authenticity

  9. Annular Ring Nail

    Annular ring nail

    Often sold in galvanized steel, annular ring nails are commonly used to hold clapboards or shingles in place on home exteriors. These thin nails, lined with rings for added holding power, are resistant to rust.

  10. Duplex Nail

    Duplex nail

    The duplex nail is a variation of the common nail. It features a second head along the shaft which allows the duplex nail to be used for temporary construction (like scaf­folding and staging); after it is driven snug, it can still be easily removed.

    Related:  Types of Hammers

  11. For More...

  12. See the Kitchen of the Week


    These innovative and beautiful kitchens may inspire your next renovation or redecorating project. Take a look to see the latest images and inspiration.