What Nails Should Be Used When Building a Fence?

Using the correct nails for your fence building project is of the utmost importance if you want to maintain a good looking and properly structured fence. Using the wrong nail could lead to unsightly areas along the outside and even cause the fence to sag or tip. Knowing nail types, what they are intended for, and how they will work for you should be considered before you start hammering or using your nail gun.

This article will go over all the types of nails you can use for your fence and which ones are the most effective for your job. It will also go over the significance of using screws instead of nails in some situations. It’s always best to be informed about every tool you’re using as even the smallest pieces could end up playing a huge part in the success of the project.

Nail Types for Fence Building

Stainless Steel 

Stainless steel nails are the best types of nails to use when dealing with hardwoods. They are a solid and reliable nail that will hold each plank well and stay in place. These types of nails do tend to be more expensive than other types though. If you are living in a humid or temperate area with lots of rainfall, stainless steel nails are your best bet as they do not easily rust or corrode. 

Ring Shanked 

Ring shanked nails have concentric circles going down their shaft, similar to a screw. These are harder to get into wood panels, but they are very strong and will hold the pieces together well for years to come. The ring-shank design makes it harder for nails to slip or slide. Make sure you are precise when using these types of nails as if you need to remove them from the wood, they could cause a split or chasm in the wood.

Aluminum Spiral Cut

Similar to ring-shanked nails, aluminum spiral cut nails are able to hold almost any type of wood together and give the strength and tightness you need when building a fence. They are less expensive and work great with cedar or redwood fencing, though they can be used in most types of wood. They also don’t rust too easily which is always optimal when choosing a nail.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel nails are treated to help prevent rusting and can be quite affordable, which makes them a favorite of first time DIYers. Just remember that the type of wood you use is important as using galvanized steel in cedar wood can cause it to rust still. If you choose to go for the hot-dipped variety of galvanized steel nail, you will find they are a little more pricey but much more resistant to rust as well. 

Nails vs Screws

If you are getting ready to start building a wooden fence, you may be curious which type of fastener should be used: nails or screws. Both types do the job well, but there are differences you can note when shopping for hardware. 


When comparing screws and nails side by side, you’ll notice that nails usually have long, smooth bodies and a round flat head, fit for hammering. Some nails such as ring shank nails do some concentric rings running down the body to help from slippage. Screws on the other hand have spiral rings running all the way down their body. This comes in handy when wood expands and contracts due to rain and moisture.


While screws, with their concentric rings, may stick into the wood easier, they are a little less pliable than nails and if they get twisted or bent, they can break. Nails do a much better job with staying intact, due to heavy winds or from objects pushing on the fence. 


Both nails and screws have power tools that can get them installed quickly into fences, be it a nail gun for nails or a drill for screws. Both types are fast and easy. While hammering nails by hand may sound a little bit tedious, screwing each screw in by hand would be a very tedious chore indeed. The only added step with screws is pre-drilling holes for the screws, depending on the wood. So installation for both if using a power tool to install them is great, but screws may take just a little extra prep.


While no one wants to think about having to repair their fence before it is even built yet, it is important to remember that if mending is needed, screws will be the easier option to remove by just reversing the drill and unscrewing, whereas nails may be hammered into the wood and it could take some doing to get the nail head gripped by the hammerhead. This is a minor inconvenience, but definitely one to think about when choosing your fasteners. 

Quality Products for Your Next Project

At Elephant Construction Solutions, our quality equipment serves professionals and hobbyists alike with high-quality power tools and accessories that you’ll need to get your project or job done right. Located in the Rio Grande Valley, we offer many different options for rent, such as: drills, saws and many other power tools, professional construction equipment, as well as other machinery, including air compressors, power generators, and even scaffolding. 

Reach out to us at Elephant Construction Solutions to get a free quote for any power tools or machinery you may need for your next job or project. Whether it’s as simple as a saw, as vital as scaffolding, or as small as a screw, we have the best in high quality products you are looking for.


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