Does it matter what type of nail is used in your brand new wooden fence? Yes! The fence nails your fence installer uses will make a huge difference in how your fence looks 1-5 years after its installation. Since your new fence is a valuable investment of money and time, we’d like to walk you through a simple explanation of why you should ask your fence installer what kind of nails are being used.
There are basically three kinds of nails suitable for wooden fencing:
- Stainless steel nails
- Aluminum, spiral-cut nails
- Ring-shanked, hot dipped, galvanized nails
Although stainless steel nails are suitable for both western red cedar and pine fences (the most popular wooden fence materials), the cost of stainless steel nails prevents them from being the most practical or suitable choice.
Aluminum spiral-cut nails are the right choice for western red cedar fences. Because western red cedar is acidic, the wrong nail will cause the nail to rust. If you’ve seen the black lines that run down some wooden fences, you know what “weep” lines look like. They’re caused by nails that have rusted.
Because aluminum spiral-cut nails don’t rust, they’ll prevent weep lines in western red cedar fences. But they are NOT the right choice for pressure-treated pine.
Why not use aluminum nails in fences made of pressure-treated pine? Aluminum nails are not strong enough to hold up pine pickets for a long period of time. For that reason, it’s important to use ring-shanked, hot-dipped, galvanized nails in your pine fence. Not only will the galvanized nails keep your pine fence from weeping, but they’ll give it strength and holding ability.
Why galvanized nails and not plated nails? Some time ago, nails were plated with a spray-on finish that was less acidic. But today’s treatments are more acidic. Consequently, today’s plated nails are more likely to rust and cause your fence to weep.
When a fence nail is galvanized, it means a softer metal (zinc) is placed over a harder metal (steel). Over time, the zinc sacrifices its life for the steel. Years after a fence installation, when the zinc finally oxidizes, the steel remains. In a nutshell, the more galvanized the nail, the more zinc there is for protection.
The truth is, many fence installation companies only stock aluminum spiral-cut nails. That way they can order large quantities of one type of nail and use them for both cedar and pine fences. For that reason, some fence installers will try to convince you that aluminum fence nails work well for pressure-treated pine. And they’re right if you want a fence that’ll hold up for about a year. But after a year or two, your pine fence will lose strength and you won’t be happy with its appearance.
Make sure your fence installer is using ring-shanked, hot-dipped galvanized fence nails not only for the framing, but for the pickets of your pressure-treated pine fence. If your fence installer tries to talk you into settling for a less suitable nail, there’s only one good thing to do for the sake of your fence: RUN!
Accent Fence is committed to using top-notch materials and quality workmanship to ensure you’ll be happy with your new fence for a long time. Don’t take costly risks with inferior fence supplies. Call us at 770-995-7463 or submit an estimate request online at accentfence.net.