Home > 4 Nail Shank Types to Use for Your Construction Project
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Choosing the right nail shank depends on what you are building, where you are building it, and the strength required to support the application. Having the proper understanding of which nail shank to use is critical to preventing a damaged roof, a squeaky subfloor, or any other defective, unwanted result.

It is also helpful to know the appropriate level of strength. Even if you are a seasoned construction worker, pulling nails can be a frustrating process. You may even have thought, "how strong do my nails really need to be?"

In this article, we'll cover the importance of using the correct nail shank type for your next construction project and the strength required. Some of the most common types of nail shanks include smooth, screw, ring, and helical shank types.

1. Smooth Nail Shanks

The most popular shank nails used for construction are smooth shank nails. Because they are quick and easy to drive and have no threading, they can be easily driven into most surfaces. From framing to siding to finishing, smooth shank nails are an excellent solution for many construction projects. While they are strong, smooth shank nails do not quite have the strength of the other shank nail types in this list, so you wouldn't use them for a roofing project. While they aren't as strong, they are, however, quite versatile.

Smooth shank nails are one of the easiest types of shanks to manufacture, thus they are among the most affordable on the market.

Please note: Prior to beginning your construction project using smooth shank nails, be sure verify that you will meet building codes and material manufacturer guidelines.

Best Used For:

Framing applications and interior finish work

Estimated Cost:

$4.50 per lb.

Smooth Nail Shank Applications

The most common type of nail shank, we recommend you use the smooth nail shank type for the following applications:

  • Framing
  • Siding
  • Trim
  • Finishing
  • General Woodworking

2. Screw Nail Shanks

Screw shank nails, (otherwise known as spiral shank nails), get their name due to their ability to turn while being driven into the wood. The threading motion increases the frictional force in the wood. This provides better withdrawal strength for non-optimal conditions like high winds or a higher than normal level of moisture.

This shank type is the overall the stronger option when compared with the smooth shank type. Screw shank nails are best for hard woods, to prevent the wood from splitting while driving the fastener.

With their strong holding power, screw shank nails are an excellent choice for installing wood or vinyl siding, building rafters, securing hardwood flooring, etc.

Typically, this screw type comes with either a flat or umbrella head, is designed in either a galvanized, aluminum, copper, or stainless steel material, and features a diamond point. With superb withdrawal resistance, excellent holding power, and more sharpness when compared to other screw nail shanks, be sure to choose this nail for hard wood applications.

Best Used For:

Hardwood flooring, decking, siding, or framing applications exposed to high wind or moisture

Estimated Cost:

$4 per lb.

Screw Nail Shank Applications

Screw nails provide strength and durability for the following applications:

  • Decking
  • Siding
  • Flooring
  • Framing
  • Pallet assembly
  • Fencing
  • Sheathing

3. Ring Shank/Annular Ring Nails

What is a ring shank nail? With twice the strength of a smooth shank nail, the rink shank nail effectively penetrates into the wood, resulting in a tighter grip that can withstand powerful weather like strong winds or constant exposure to moisture. The strength of the design comes from when the fibers of the ring shank nail lock into each groove in the shank. Because of their strong holding power, ring nail shanks help prevent a squeaking sound in your floors. In addition, their tight grip allows excellent resistance to popping out of the wood. These are particularly effective for soft woods.

Please note: removing a ring shank nail will likely leave a ragged hole in the wood. Since these nails are quite hard to remove, we recommend utilizing ring shank nails for use when building permanent structures.

The International Code Council (ICC) identifies ring shank nails as a "deformed" type of nail, which means that they have a unique, annular (or ring-shaped) design, with a specific purpose to have a stronger, locking effect. Typically, the "deformed" ring shank nails are best used for high-wind areas and possibly for some subfloor assemblies. Shop for ring shank/spike nails on JakeSales.com today.

Best Used For:

Siding, decking, sheathing roofs and walls (particularly for areas of high winds), nailing plywood to floor joists

Estimated Cost:

$4.50 per lb.

Ring Nail Shank Applications

The strength of the annular design makes the ring nail shank appropriate for the following applications:

  • Siding
  • Roof decking
  • Asphalt roofs
  • Underlayment
  • Subfloors
  • High-wind zones

4. Helical & Other Types of Nail Shanks

Helical nail shanks are best used for hard yet brittle materials. For example, if you are working on a construction project using concrete or brick, masonry nails will effectively drive into the material due to their hardened design. Fluted shank nails, designed with special linear grooves, can easily drive into concrete with breaking it apart. Helical nails specifically are great for applications like concrete and steel. Other types of nail shanks include barbed shanks, stepped shanks, helical threaded shanks, knurled shanks, and more.

Best Used For:

Hard but brittle materials like concrete and brick. Also steel, furring, and floor plates.

Estimated Cost:

$4.50 per lb.

Helical/Other Shank Applications

In summary, helical nail shanks are great for hard (and brittle) materials. Use these nails on the following applications:

  • Concrete
  • Brick
  • Steel beams
  • Furring
  • Floor plates

Nail Shanks: Conclusion

Depending on your project, you will want to choose the most effective shank type that will drive into the material for the proper and long-lasting grip you're looking for. At Jake Sales, we provide nail shank types for roofing, decking, siding, flooring, and other applications.

Jake Sales has been open for business since 1981, and ever since then, we have been a trusted source of many different types of nails, including ring shank/spike nails, bright common nails, sinker framing nails, finish nails, and roofing nails, among others. We currently provide FREE shipping on any order to any location in the USA (including Alaska and Hawaii). For more information about nails, please contact our friendly experts by giving us a call at (406) 752-5253, or by emailing us at tom@jakesales.com.