Nails

Hayward sells both Halsteel and generic collated nails, and it also sells a full line of hand nails, designed to cover all nailing applications. Hayward offers common nails, cooler nails, sinker nails, screw nails and ring shank nail, to name a few of the most popular nail styles.

Nail types
Common nails have larger diameter shanks (shaft) than box, cooler or sinker nails of the same “penny weight”. The heavier shank allows them to carry higher structural loads. Box nails have lighter (smaller diameter) shanks. They were originally designed to reduce splitting when used to assemble wooden “boxes”. The lighter shanks also meant that you received more nails (count) in a 50lb keg or carton.

Cooler nails were designed to be installed by automatic equipment in wood and had a coating that made them easier to drive (vs. box nails). The coating (vinyl) “melts” when it was driven into the wood (through friction heating) lubricating the nails for installation by pneumatic equipment (air nailers) and the coating bonds the nail to the wood when it “cools.” The light shanks and coating on cooler nails made underpowered equipment more effective and, like the box nail, reduced splitting.

Sinker nails are also commonly vinyl coated. They get their name from the flat countersunk head that makes them easy to drive flush and beyond flush: counter-“sinking” them into the wood. The shanks are lighter than “common” nails but heavier than “box” or “coolers”, and they are slightly shorter, by penny weight, than a common nail. The idea being, you could easily drive them deeper than other nails and that the shank would thus penetrate further than if using a flat head nail, like a common, box or cooler nail. Most sinkers (bulk) also have a checkered head making them easy to drive with a mill faced hammer at odd angles. The coating is intended function in the same way that the coating works on a cooler nail. The heavier shanks make them a better choice for use in wood structures.

Screw nails have a spiral thread rolled into the shank. They look much like regular screws. The nail twists and rotates as it is driven into the wood. As it spins into the wood, it twists the wood fibers increasing resistance to withdrawal (pull out). A screw nail is best for hard wood and if a threaded nail with a hot galvanized finish is required, the screw nail is commonly preferred. The screw nail resists withdrawal all of the way out, when being pulled.
This is why screw nails are preferred for wood shipping “pallets” and common on wood construction projects.

Ring shank nails incorporate annular rings that force the wood fibers into the direction of the point before locking them into the rings. Ring shank nails provide excellent resistance in soft wood but may be hard to drive in harder wood species. A hot galvanized coating will flow into the rings and may reduce the holding power of a ring shank nail. Ring shank nails have very high initial withdrawal resistance, but once the wood fibers release the nail is easily removed. This is why they are used in many crating applications as well as wood framing and sheathing. Most building codes recognize both ring shank and screw shank equally and accept either interchangeably as “threaded” nails.

Nail Coatings
Bright nails are not coated with a protective finish and are not recommended for exterior exposure or use in treated lumber (ACQ) applications.
Phosphate coating is added to nails to ease penetration in the wood and increase holding power. It offers no protection against rust and corrosion.
Hot dip galvanized nails are bright nails coated in zinc. Bright nails and a predetermined amount of zinc chips are loaded in a rotating drum furnace, where they are heated to a temperature exceeding the zinc melting point. Zinc chips melt forming a suspended molten zinc bath which is rotated with the nails, and centrifugal force is applied. A metallurgical reaction occurs between the nail surface and molten zinc forming a strong continuous and even bond. To complete the process and cure the finish, the nails are immediately quenched in cold water. The coating provide a continuous, impervious barrier that prevents moisture from coming into contact with the steel. Zinc will gradually erode, but has a much longer life than uncoated steel when exposed.

The International Building Code and the International Residential Code both require all connections to and through treated wood (other than Borate) to be fastened with ASTM A153 Class D Hot Dip Galvanized or stainless steel fasteners. Certain preservative treatments for wood may be highly corrosive.

Electro-galvanized nails are better described as electroplated. The coating of zinc is very thin and provides minimal resistance to rust. The finish is primarily a barrier coat and quite fragile. They are bright and shiny, but should not be used where they will be exposed to corrosive elements or be contact with treated lumber.

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