Do I Need Galvanized Nails for Framing? (A Quick Guide!)

Framing is a critical part of the makeup of a building. It mainly involves securing several lumber boards together.

Lumber boards with a dimension of two by four are typically used to construct wall studs. For roofs and floors, you will need two by eights and two by sixes for their framing.

The importance of using the right type of nails when constructing wall studs or the framing of a roof cannot be stressed enough. It’s one of the ways you can save your home from structural failure.

When constructing or putting up the framework or studs of a building common nails trump box nails.

Common nails come in different types but we’ll be focusing on mainly the galvanized makes of these nails in this article.

Here’s if You Need Galvanized Nails for Framing:

Galvanized nails are not an absolute must for framing but they are used for most framing constructions because of their excellent holding power and resistance to weather elements. While most experts recommend using these nails outdoors, they can come in handy for specific indoor applications.

When Should Galvanized Nails Be Used?

Galvanized nails have gained quite a bit of popularity as of late. They are mainly used in roofing, wall and floor constructions.

The reason why they are called “galvanized nails” is because they undergo a process called galvanization.

Nails that undergo galvanization are covered with a protective coating of zinc to prevent corrosion and rusting. This means that the zinc coating on the nail will corrode before the nail itself.

Of course, zinc coated nails also tend to rust; however, it takes a considerable amount of time for this to happen.

It is also worth noting that galvanized nails are incredibly thin compared to nails with electro-coating.

Generally, zinc coated nails are suitable for outdoor projects such as decks.

However, you should avoid using them in areas with high moisture or places with too much salt in the air (eg. near the sea and similar areas).

It is also best to avoid using galvanized nails with anything that touches the soil. This is because the soil’s moisture will quickly eat away the protective coating, exposing the nail to corrosion and rust.

The staying power of galvanized nails is fantastic, its ability to properly fasten building materials is second to none.

You can use these nails for house trims, window frames, stairs, etc.

Are Galvanized Nails Required for Framing?

As mentioned earlier, galvanized nails are mainly used for outdoor framing because they are highly resistant to weather elements.

These nails can also be used for interior framing but most builders opt for fasteners that are inferior to galvanized nails for indoor use since the chances of them getting exposed to corrosive elements are quite slim.

Still, if your budget allows it, you can go ahead and use these zinc coated nails for interior framing.

Initially, bright nails were quite popular options for both interior and exterior framing.

As time passed, however, people quickly came to realize that galvanized nails were more durable and offered more value, because of this more people have been using these nails for framing.

There are a few reasons to avoid using galvanized nails for framing. Here are some of them.

  • If the framing area has salt in the air
  • Avoid using galvanized nails for framing if they can come in contact with soil
  • If you are working on interior framing and have a low budget.

Do You Have to Use Galvanized Nails on Treated Wood?

We do not recommend that you use galvanized nails on treated wood. You will find below a breakdown of why this isn’t a good idea.

These woods and nails have unique properties and features. So, before you start working on any project where you may need to use these materials, it is best you familiarize yourself with their properties.

Pressure treated wood contains a chemical preservative. This preservative is used to ensure the wood doesn’t rot and attract pests.

Regular fasteners are made of steel or iron. Both of these materials can corrode or get rusty after a few months or years of exposure.

Galvanization is therefore necessary for these fasteners to last long. Galvanizing nails or screws provides them with a protective layer of zinc that can withstand harsh conditions.

The chemical preservatives used on treated wood products contain salt. If you remember galvanized nails have a zinc coating. Salt and zinc do not go well together, so your nails are bound to corrode as soon as they are driven into treated wood.

For Indoor Projects

Electro galvanized nails have a thin zinc oxide coating, this makes them suitable for most indoor projects.

There will be minimal exposure to corroding elements often present in pressure-treated woods when these nails are used indoors.

This is the major reason why most people recommend using this type of wood and galvanized nails indoors.

For Outdoor Projects

For outdoor constructions or projects involving pressure treated wood which contains strong chemicals, you should use hot dipped galvanized nails instead of electro galvanized nails.

Check your nail’s packaging for the G185 code, this means that the nails have thick zinc oxide layers and are suitable for pressure-treated wood.

Galvanized Nails – How Hard Are They?

The alloy present in galvanized nails forms about thirty out of the forty-five microns of zinc on their surface.

While this coating option is not the thickest, you will notice that it is still quite hard. So, galvanized nails are quite hard and durable and will hold up any project or structure for several years.

It’d intrigue you to know that there is a caveat that concerns the production process of these nails.

A large number of renowned manufacturers produce galvanized nails. However, not all of them follow stringent quality control procedures.

The thickness of the zinc coating of the nails can therefore vary, which makes some nails corrode faster than others.

Galvanized Nails and Untreated Wood – What You Need to Know

In most cases, using galvanized screws and nails is not ideal for untreated wood.

This is because the zinc tends to react with the chemicals present in some rot and weather resistant woods like cedar and redwood, resulting in black streaks forming on the surface of the wood.

Galvanizing and Corrosion

Any type of nail or screw exposed to the weather eventually corrodes. As you may know, corrosion is caused because of a chemical reaction known as oxidation reduction.

Whenever there is water present somewhere, steel tends to send electrons towards the oxygen.

Once this happens, the ions present in the iron of the nail create iron oxide solids by reacting with water, resulting in rust. This process is sped up significantly if near coastal areas.

The galvanization process slows corrosion considerably by safeguarding nails through a zinc coat. This means that the zinc starts corroding first and the metal nail remains protected.

With that said, nails do rust eventually, but the corrosion process takes quite long.

Hot-dipped galvanized nails are arguably the most durable variants of galvanized nails since companies use molten zinc to coat them.

These nails are expensive compared to their cheaper electro-coated counter parts, which are thinly coated with zinc.

With more people realizing how beneficial galvanized nails are for framing, you can expect its use to increase greatly in the coming years, for outdoor as well as indoor projects.

Final Thoughts

As long as you know when and when not to use galvanized nails you should have a seamless building experience with these fasteners.

We hope you found this article helpful and wish you the best of luck in constructing your building’s framing.