How to Choose the Best Stainless Steel Nails for Siding and Other Outdoor Projects
Home improvement experts use stainless steel nails for siding, roofing, cladding…just about any outdoor project imaginable. There are many reasons for the popularity that stainless steel has gained over the years, the main one having to due with this material’s extreme durability. Stainless steel is one of the most durable building materials on the planet.
In addition to durability, using stainless steel nails for siding and other outdoor projects is fairly cost efficient. Sure, stainless steel nails aren’t the cheapest option. But when you consider just how long they last, it actually makes way more sense to use stainless steel instead of another common material, like aluminum or copper.
Yet another benefit of stainless steel is the fact that it is an environmentally-friendly building material. Most forms of stainless steel are 100% recyclable. Even years after your building project is gone, the nails can be gathered, recycled, and melded back into their original form to begin another life. If you’re convinced that stainless steel is the way to go for your next home improvement project, follow this guide to help you decide on the right stainless steel nail for you.
Chromium Content Should Be the First Consideration
Just like all forms of stainless steel, stainless steel nails contain a certain amount of chromium. Chromium, according to Wikipedia, “is a chemical element with the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in group 6. It is a steely-grey, lustrous, hard and brittle transition metal. Chromium is also the main additive in stainless steel, to which it adds anti-corrosive properties.”
The majority of stainless steel nails on the market contain 10.5% chromium by weight. Because of the special anti-corrosive properties of the element, stainless steel is the optimal choice for all outdoor projects. Even if you live somewhere along the coast where corrosion and rust is common, stainless steel nails should withstand the test of time.
Yes, chromium content is important, but it is important to realize that not all chromium is created equal. For the most resistance to corrosion and outdoor elements, look for stainless nails containing oxygen. An addition of oxygen along with the chromium means that you’ll never have to worry about corrosion ever again, even if you live in an area with salty air.
Next, Think About the Grade of Nail
When we say “grade”, we’re not talking about A+ or B-. By nail grade, we’re referring to the specific carbon content found in a stainless steel nail. The most common grades established by manufacturers include 302, 304 and 316. A lower grade means that there is a higher amount of carbon present. More carbon means less resistance to corrosion, so ideally you would invest in the highest grade possible.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a high-grade box of nails will cost significantly more than a low-grade one. Finding a happy medium is possible with the popular 304 grade. These nails are still very resistant to corrosion, but they are much less costly than nails graded as 316.