Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors?

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With so many nail options available in the world of home building, it can be intimidating for a newcomer to distinguish between the various types. Galvanized nails are commonly used for home building and can be essential for several kinds of wood projects. But do galvanized brad nails rust? To answer this inquiry, we have researched the most common uses of galvanized brad nails to answer this question for you.

Galvanized nails are susceptible to corrosion and rust, just like any other metal product. This reaction is called oxidation-reduction, and though it’s possible, it will take longer with these nails. This is due to the nails being dipped in zinc during their manufacturing process. They are pretty much the standard when it comes to rust resistance. But are they completely impervious to rust? No.

If you’re considering using galvanized nails for your next home or woodworking project, this post can help you learn a bit more about their longevity and overall makeup. In it, we’ll also cover how to distinguish these nails from stainless steel nails as well as a few suggested products.

Galvanized iron nails piled on the table, Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors?

Galvanized Nails and Rust

Even the strongest metals will be susceptible to corrosion if they are exposed to oxygen and water for a long enough period of time.

Galvanized nails are very popular because they stand up reasonably well to rain, moisture, corrosive chemicals within treated wood and concrete. The zinc coating on the nails is effective against rust because it’s way more reactive than the iron and the nails, and it oxidizes more easily, shielding the iron from rust.

There are two types of galvanized nails: electro-galvanized nails (EG) and hot-dipped galvanized nails (HDG). Hot dipped galvanized nails are more popular because they are higher in quality and usually less expensive. These nails work wonderfully for both outdoor and indoor use, and you’ll find that HDG nails provide an excellent balance when it comes to quality and cost.

Rusted nails on the ground

They’ll last anywhere from 10 to 15 years or more before they start to show signs of rust. On the other hand, EDG nails offer a lower-quality galvanization and work best in applications where superior rust-proofing isn’t needed. These nails can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years or more, depending on the thickness of their coating.

When using galvanized nails on certain woods (mainly soft ones), such as redwood or cedar, note that if and when the nails do rust, it can leave a streak on the surface of the wood. So for these wood applications, stainless steel nails may be a better fit to ensure an excellent finish.

What are galvanized brad nails used for?

Essentially, brad nails are smaller versions of finishing nails with thinner heads. Their most common application is roofing.

However, you can also use them for finishing work such as crown molding, door and window casings, trim, furniture construction, cabinetry, and baseboards. You also find galvanized brad nails used in plywood paneling, carpentry jobs, and other non-load-bearing wood projects.

How can you tell if brad nails are galvanized?

Determining whether or not they’re galvanized can be a bit tricky if you’re not familiar with the different types of nails. This is especially true for brad nails because they are smaller and much thinner than typical building nails. However, it’s not impossible. Let’s look at these steps to do it:

Look at the box

This may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised by how easily you can overlook the product description on a pack of nails. Why? Because it’s usually small, and it’s usually next to other descriptions of the nail.

If you buy the nails from a hardware store, make sure that the box explicitly states that the nails are galvanized. If it doesn’t, assume that the nails are stainless steel.

Inspect the nail closely

If you are not buying nails directly from the store and already have them on your project, take out a single nail and note its color. The biggest distinction between galvanized nails and stainless steel nails is their color. Galvanized nails tend to have a matte silvery appearance.

In some cases, you may even notice that the galvanized nail tends to look like the coating is running down the nail (common in HDG nails). Stainless steel nails have more of a shiny silver coating (similar to that of jewelry). The appearance of the galvanized nails is due to their zinc coating, which helps to prevent them from rusting.

Rub the nail between your fingers

If you’re still unsure about the appearance, rub your fingertip across the length of the nail. It also helps to rub the nail between your index finger and your thumb to get a feel for its texture. Note that galvanized nails will have a finish that feels rough to the touch and a bit grainy. Stainless steel nails, on the other hand, will feel smooth like glass.

How long do galvanized nails last?

On average, a quality galvanized nail can last anywhere from five to 15 years or more. The amount of time they’ll last will, of course, depend on the surface in which it’s installed and the environment. Indoor nails will typically outlast outdoor nails as they are not exposed to common outdoor elements such as rain, snow, humidity, and wildlife droppings.

Galvanized nails are created to last the life of a roof or other outdoor structure.

Are galvanized nails good for outdoor use?

Yes. Galvanized nails are mainly used outdoors (though they are used indoors as well) when protection is needed to make the nails resilient to rusting. Let’s take a look at a few of our top recommended galvanized nail products.

Simpson Strong Tie 16D5HDG Structural Connect

These galvanized nails are coated with a medium zinc coating, making them suitable for most exterior environments. They can be installed on metal surfaces, brick, treated wood, plaster, and concrete. It’s recommended that you use stainless steel fasteners when installing these nails for increased corrosion resistance.

Get more details about this set of galvanized nails on Amazon

Coceca 200pcs Galvanized Hardware Nails

This nail package includes galvanized nails from 2.4mm to 1.3mm. So whether you have a project requiring small nails or large ones, this package will likely provide you with everything you need. These nails are high quality and can be used on a variety of indoor and exterior products. They’re commonly used in craft-making, general repairs, wood-making projects, picture hangings, etc.

Learn more about this galvanized nail set on Amazon.

Paslode Degree Angled Galvanized Nails

If you are looking for a durable set of nails, look no further. These galvanized nails offer superior corrosion resistance and are perfect for indoor and outdoor applications. They have a chisel point to help reduce wood splitting, meaning that you can use them on trams and other thin wood surfaces.

They’re also great for carpentry, furniture building, and hanging. These nails are equipped with a solid nail hole that reduces finish work appearance and ensures consistent drivability.

Read more details about these galvanized nails on Amazon

LOCONHA Hardware Nail Assortment Kit(200pcs) Galvanized Nails

Here is a nail set that includes four different nail lengths— starting at 2.4 mm and going up to 1.3 mm. It has one set of round heads nails, and the rest are flat-head nails.

If you work on a lot of woodworking projects or have a small home model remodeling job to do, this nail set may be just what you need. These nails are dependable, high-quality, and they also come with a 30-day guarantee if you’re unhappy with them for any reason.

Check out more information about these nails on Amazon.

Are brad nails good for cladding?

When it comes to cladding, stainless steel nails are generally recommended. More specifically, flathead ring shank nails are recommended as they tend to hold best. Overall, you want a nail with a small head so that it can pull through softwoods such as cedar and oak.

Wrapping Things Up

So to sum things up, yes, galvanized brad nails can rust — they don’t do it that easily. So, if you’re looking for a nail that can stand up to the outdoors, they may be worth a look.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How Big Are Brad Nails And How Deep Do They Go?

How To Adjust Nail Depth On Brad Nailer

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