TKL News

All About Common Wire Nails

by TKL Steel May 20, 2023

When it comes to construction and woodworking projects, having suitable materials on hand is crucial. Common wire nails are a go-to choice for professionals and DIY enthusiasts due to their versatility and ease of use. With a flat head and tapered shank, these nails can be quickly inserted into various materials, making them an essential item in any toolbox. So whether you’re framing a building or constructing furniture, common wire nails are an excellent option.


common wire nails


Types of Common Wire Nails

Different types of common wire nails have distinct characteristics and are designed for various purposes. Finishing nails, for example, are ideal for projects that require a smooth and polished finish, while box nails are better suited for light-duty construction. Masonry nails are used to fasten wood to concrete or brick surfaces, and roofing nails are specifically designed for roofing applications. With so many options available, selecting the correct type of common wire nail can make all the difference in ensuring a successful construction or woodworking project.

1. Finish Nails

When it comes to finishing work like trim and molding, finished nails are essential. These small-headed nails are perfect for creating a polished and seamless appearance. Available in various lengths and thicknesses, they can be used with different types of wood and finishes. Made with steel or stainless steel, finish nails prevent rusting and damage to the surrounding wood. Whether using a nail gun or hammer, handling them with care is crucial to avoid denting the surface or breaking the head.

2. Casing Nails

Regarding finishing work, casing nails are the go-to choice for many professionals. Their small head and smooth finish make them perfect for attaching trim and molding without leaving noticeable marks. Casing nails also come in various sizes and materials, including stainless and galvanized steel, making them suitable for different applications. In addition, their small size makes them less likely to damage the surface being nailed, which is a bonus. Remember to choose the right length and gauge based on the fastened material’s thickness to ensure a secure hold.

3. Box Nails

Box nails are an excellent choice for light-duty construction projects that require precision and accuracy. Due to their small size and lightweight nature, they are ideal for attaching trim, molding, and paneling without damaging the attached material. When using box nails, choosing the right size is essential to ensure a secure hold without splitting the wood. Additionally, pre-drilling holes can help prevent splitting and provide a smoother finish. With their versatility and ease of use, box nails are essential for any DIY enthusiast or professional woodworker.


Common Wire Nail Sizes

When it comes to common wire nail sizes, understanding the gauge system is crucial for selecting the right nail for your project. Lower gauge numbers indicate thicker nails, with 16 gauge being the thinnest wire nail and 10 gauge being the thickest. Different nail sizes are suitable for different types of wood and projects, so it’s important to consider factors like the thickness of the material you’ll be nailing into and the holding power required. 

6d and 8d Common Wire Nails

These nails are versatile and can be used for various applications, from framing and trim work to crafting and woodworking. 

10d and 12d Common Wire Nails

It is important to consider the length of the nail and the thickness of the material you’re nailing into. These nails are commonly used for framing, construction projects, and woodworking tasks that require a sturdy hold. With their smooth shanks, 10d and 12d nails can be driven easily into the wood without splitting it, making them an ideal choice for various applications. 

16d and 20d Common Wire Nails

When it comes to heavy-duty construction projects, 16d and 20d common wire nails are the go-to sizes for many builders. The thicker gauge of these nails makes them better suited for tasks that require durability and stability. While 16d nails are commonly used for framing and other heavy construction work at 3 1/2 inches long, 20d nails take it up a notch with their whopping 4-inch length.


Common Sizes of Wire Nails and Their Best Uses

When choosing the right common wire nail size for your project, it’s essential to consider the type of material you’ll be nailing into and how heavy the load will be. The most common sizes of wire nails are 16d, 8d, 6d, and 4d nails, each with its own unique uses. For example, 16d nails are ideal for framing and heavy construction projects, while 6d nails are best suited for trim work and finishing tasks. Selecting the appropriate nail size for your specific needs ensures your project is structurally sound and long-lasting.

#14 Gauge Wire Nails

If you’re undertaking a heavy-duty construction project, #14 gauge wire nails may be the perfect solution. These nails are strong and durable, able to easily penetrate even the most challenging materials like hardwood. At 3-1/2 inches in length, they’re ideal for attaching larger pieces of wood. With their superior holding power and ability to provide a solid connection between materials, #14 gauge wire nails may be just what you need for your next project.

#10 Gauge Wire Nails

Regarding heavy-duty construction, #10 Gauge wire nails are a popular choice. These nails are strong and durable, making them suitable for various applications such as roofing, framing, and fencing. They are available in different lengths, so choose the appropriate size for your project. Using a hammer with enough force to drive the nail in and avoid bending or breaking is essential. Remember that selecting the right size and type of nail will ensure the best results.



Choosing the correct size of common wire nails for your project ensures it holds up well and serves its purpose. Understanding the types of common wire nails, their sizes, and their best uses is crucial for optimal results. Factors such as the material of the surface you’re nailing, the type of wood you’re nailing into, and the type of project you’re undertaking should be considered when choosing the nail size. To ensure that you are using the right size of common wire nails and using them correctly, read our tips on using common wire nails of different sizes.