Carpenters and joiners use a variety of nails in their work, often knowing what nail to use for what task to get the best finish while also providing the support and hold required for the task. If you’re new to the trade or perhaps a do it yourself (DIY) learner then you may have come across stainless steel brad nails but aren’t quite sure when and where to use them, and what the alternatives are for other similar jobs where brad nails might not quite be right.
What Are Stainless Steel Brad Nails?
Stainless steel brad nails are usually used for what is called trim carpentry, basically for attaching molding, decorative trim, furniture trim, or window beading. Because they are thin and have a small head they do the job of attaching a small piece of wood to a larger one without splitting the trim, and leaving only a very small hole to be filled afterward.
Because of their profile brad nails are often also used to attach baseboards, pinning of upholstery boards, for scribe moldings, cabinet building and picture frame assembly.
There are two head types with Brad nails so you do need to decide on which you require, the B series heads are standard nail heads and are the most popular, as they are easier to apply using a hammer or a brad nailer gun. AY series heads are much smaller to allow for a smaller impression at the entry point and therefore less chance of splitting, but are only compatible with Slight Head Brad Nailer guns.
Where Can You Use Brad Nails?
You may have questions about whether Brad Nails can be used for exterior work, and possibly areas with high salt and water atmospheres near the seaside. There are actually three grades of corrosion resistance that Brad nails are supplied in for different environment, and the level of corrosion resistance does affect the cost of the nails.
Electro galvanized brad nails are standard nails and are only best used for interior applications where corrosion isn’t a concern. They have a very thin layer of zinc coating which provides a measure of protection which may corrode if left in a damp area for a long period of time.
304 grade stainless steel brad nails are standard exterior use nails which can be used in most outdoor areas and won’t corrode or discolor. They are also ideal for ACQ treated lumber, and high moisture woods such as redwood, cedar and acidic or oil-based exotic woods. However in some climates such as tropical, seaside and saltwater contact areas, 304 grade stainless steel brad nails still might not provide the long term corrosion resistance qualities required so in this case 316 grade stainless steel brad nails are used. They are suitable for all outdoor uses and are marine grade so can cope with long term and consistent exposure to water, saltwater, tropical climates and seaside locations where other nails would corrode and develop rust marks and streaks over time.
Its always bets to pick the right nail for the job!