Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (2023)

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.

Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (1)

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.

Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (2)

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.

Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (3)Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (4)

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.

Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (5)Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (6)

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.

Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (7)Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (8)

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.

Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (9)Do Galvanized Brad Nails Rust? Can You Use Them Outdoors? - (10)

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


Can you use galvanized brad nails outdoors? ›

The process for hot-dip galvanizing includes cleaning the steel body, submerging the nail into molten zinc, and spinning it to remove excess coating. Perfect for use indoor and outdoor, HDG nails provide a good balance of cost and quality.

Will galvanized nails rust outside? ›

Corrosion and Galvanizing

Nails exposed to weather will always be vulnerable to corrosion—the product of a chemical reaction called oxidation-reduction.

Can I use brad nails outdoors? ›

Made of 304 stainless steel for strength and durability, these brad nails won't corrode and stain natural finish wood or pressure treated lumber and are perfect for indoor or outdoor use.

What kind of nails won't rust outside? ›

Stainless Steel Fasteners

304 fasteners are highly rust-resistant. These nails and screws are a great option for drier climates. Stainless steel 316 is the recommended fastener choice for humid climates. They're made from nickel, chromium and a metal called molybdenum.

What nails are best for outdoor use? ›

Stainless steel nails are the best type to use for outdoor work to reduce the occurrence of wood rust. However, stainless steel nails come in different grades. The higher grade, the better–but we have also included other grades of stainless steel nails that will work well for your construction job.

How long does galvanized metal last outside? ›

The zinc coating of hot-dipped galvanized steel will last in the harshest soil is 35 to 50 years and in less corrosive soil 75 years or more. Although humidity affects corrosion, temperature itself has less of an impact. Galvanized zinc coatings respond well in extreme cold and hot temperatures.

How long will a galvanized bolt last outside? ›

According to the American Galvanizers Association, hot-dip galvanized fasteners (assuming a minimum 2.5 mil coating thickness) in the following environments can expect the following minimum lifespan before time of first maintenance: Rural: 80+ years. Suburban: 60+ years. Temperate Marine: 55+ years.

What kind of metal won't rust outside? ›

Known as the precious metals, platinum, gold and silver are all pure metals, therefore they contain no iron and cannot rust. Platinum and gold are highly non-reactive, and although silver can tarnish, it is fairly corrosion-resistant and relatively affordable by comparison.

What can you put on metal to keep it from rusting outside? ›

Rust-Resistant Coatings
  1. Sodium hydroxide and potassium nitrate: These two chemicals, when combined, form a coating that's effective in preventing rust. ...
  2. Paint: Paint is a common and easy way to protect metal from rust. ...
  3. Oil: You can also protect metal with a coat of oil.
1 Apr 2022

Are galvanized nails waterproof? ›

Galvanized steel is coated with a thin layer of zinc. The zinc coating protects the steel beneath it from rust. It's used to make nuts, bolts, screws, and nails resistant to degradation when they are exposed to the weather. Galvanized steel stands up to water well — as long as it's not salt water.

Can I use galvanized nails in cedar? ›

Nails. Hot-dipped galvanized, aluminum and stainless steel nails are all corrosion-resistant and all can be used to nail Western Red Cedar. Other types of nails, such as electroplated, are not recommended.

What are Brad Nails best used for? ›

Brads are commonly used to attach shoe moldings and small ornamental parts on furniture. Brads are also useful when gluing delicate wooden parts together. It's often helpful to apply glue to a joint and then drive a few brad nails into your project to hold everything while the glue dries.

How do you keep your nails from rusting outside? ›

Caulking and priming the exposed nails prior to painting greatly reduces the risk of future nail head rusting problems.

Will clear nail polish stop metal from rusting? ›

Prevent rust stains

Coat the bottom of metal cans (think shaving cream and hair spray) with clear nail polish to prevent rust from developing and staining your sink or medicine cabinet.

Can you use galvanized roofing nails for vinyl siding? ›

Use only corrosion-resistant nails (aluminum, stainless or galvanized roofing.) Nails should have a minimum head diameter of 5/16". CertainTeed recommends the use of stainless steel nails or other corrosion-resistant fasteners when installing siding in coastal areas.

How long do Galvanised nails last? ›

Data shows that galvanizing can provide between 34 to 170 years of protection for steel.

When should galvanized nails be used? ›

Hot-dip galvanized nails are appropriate for any kind of mild-to-corrosive environment and provide long-term corrosion protection. Electroplated (electro-galvanized) nails have a very thin zinc coating and are therefore appropriate for interior applications.

Can I use galvanized nails in pressure treated lumber? ›

The manufacturers of ACQ, CA, ACZA and CCA and the treated wood industry are all recommending hot-dipped galvanized nails and stainless steel nails and screws with their treated wood products. Furthermore, they specify that the fasteners meet the ASTM A-153 specification for hot-dipped galvanizing.

What metal holds up best outdoors? ›

Brass and copper are reliable metals to use for the great outdoors. Copper is resistant to corrosion, malleable, and strong. Brass is the result of the combination of copper and zinc, and its color will vary based on the amount of zinc in the alloy.

How do you stop galvanized metal from rusting? ›

The most important step in preventing corrosion on galvanized steel is keeping it out of environments where it is exposed to substances with a pH below 6 or above 12. One side of this requirement is that it is important to keep galvanized steel out of acid rain.

Can you put galvanized metal outdoor? ›

Galvanised steel is a common material used for outdoor furniture as it is long lasting and rust resistant. Choosing outdoor furniture made of galvanised steel construction will help ensure your pieces ware well under exterior conditions.

Is zinc or galvanized better for outdoor use? ›

Zinc plating or electroplating is a process where zinc is applied by using a current of electricity. It is a thinner coating than hot-dip galvanizing making it unsuitable for outdoor applications. Its advantages are its brightness and uniform color making it more aesthetically appealing.

Is galvanized hardware better for outdoor use? ›

Galvanized steel is created by dipping standard steel into molten zinc by a process called hot dipping. The layer of zinc serves as a protectant from corrosion. The protectant makes galvanized steel the best option, over untreated carbon steel, for worksites that are exposed to acid rain, road salt, and sea water.

How long will galvanized steel last before it rusts? ›

Galvanization is a zinc coating applied over the top of steel. It prevents rust and corrosion far longer than paint will, often for 50 years or more, but eventually that brown rot will set in.

Will galvanized steel rust outside? ›

It can, and may if it remains exposed to intense elements in difficult environments for decades. But often, the other materials used in the project need to be repaired well before the galvanized steel materials show signs of rust.

What is the cheapest metal that doesn't rust? ›

1. Aluminum. Aluminum is one of the most commonly used metals on the planet, and it's arguably the most famous for not rusting. Aluminum doesn't rust, only iron's specific oxidation is called rust and there is no iron used when creating aluminum.

Is galvanized rust proof? ›

Galvanized steel takes a long time to rust, but it will eventually rust. This type is carbon steel that has been galvanized or coated with a thin layer of zinc. The zinc acts as a barrier preventing oxygen and water from reaching the steel, providing advanced corrosion protection.

Will vinegar stop metal from rusting? ›

For more stubborn rust, try using white vinegar. The acetic acid in this common household product is acidic enough to dissolve rust. You can soak smaller things like earrings, wipe it onto a surface with an old cloth, or just pour it directly over rust spots or bolts and screws that have rusted together.

Can you stop rust once it starts? ›

The good news is, corrosion of iron is preventable AND reversible. Using a rust converter paint on a rusting metal surface will stop the process of corrosion. Rust converters chemically penetrate existing rust, reverse the degradation and leave behind a high quality latex metal primer.

Does wd40 stop rust? ›

WD-40 Specialist® Corrosion Inhibitor

A long-term rust preventative that protects metal parts, blocking rust and corrosion for up to 1 year outdoors or 2 years indoors.

Does galvanized steel rust when wet? ›

Galvanised steel's defining attribute is its layer of zinc coating, which forms a protective layer against the combination of moisture and oxygen that can otherwise cause rust to form on the underlying metal.

What happens to galvanized steel when wet? ›

Zinc prevents oxygen and water from reaching the steel beneath. It does this by first forming a zinc oxide layer on the surface. When there's moisture present that turns into zinc carbonate. This gives the metal a dull gray patina that's insoluble in water and stops any further chemical changes.

What kind of screws won't rust outside? ›

When it comes to rust-resistant fasteners, stainless steel screws are the absolute best option. Stainless steel screws contain certain properties that allow them to withstand harsh outdoor elements to greater effect. As a result of their rust-resistant design, stainless steel fasteners see use in many outdoor projects.

What kind of nails should I use on a cedar fence? ›

For cedar fences, use stainless steel, double hot-dipped galvanized or polymer-coated fasteners. Don't use zinc-plated steel – the zinc in the fasteners may react with the acids in the cedar and create corrosion streaks.

Should I use galvanized nails for siding? ›

When it comes to the type of nails to use for siding, it's best to stick with siding nails. Roofing nails, while they may be galvanized, are generally shorter in length and will not allow for the required 1-1/2 inch penetration into structural framing or wood structural panels and wood structural framing.

Are galvanized nails corrosion resistant? ›

Galvanized nails, as the most commonly used nails, is covered with a zinc coating as a protective barrier to avoid rust and corrosion.

Are Brad nails rust proof? ›

Stainless steel brads are commonly used in finish, trim and molding applications because they are rust and corrosion resistant.

What can I use instead of Brad nails? ›

Finish nails, or finishing nails, are generally made of 15- or 16-gauge steel wire, making them slightly thicker in diameter than brad nails. The added thickness means that finishing nails create a stronger hold than brads.

Where can you use brad nails? ›

Brad nails are formed from a fine, 18-gauge wire, so they are smaller in diameter than finish nails and typically have less holding strength. They're better suited for tasks like light decorative trim and molding, panel installation and crafts.

Does vinegar make a nail rust? ›

To create rusty nails, you can use hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and salt to rust your nail, or you can use rust finishers to get a fabricated rust look.

Does petroleum jelly prevent rust? ›

Prevent Rusting

Along with corrosion, petroleum jelly is also good at keeping rust off your tools and other metal goods. Lightly coat your tools after you clean them with a bit of Vaseline and you'll be set to go.

What makes nails rust fast? ›

Your iron nail will indeed rust more quickly and severely in salt water.

How do I stop rusting but keep the look? ›

He recommended a product called Penetrol normally used as a paint additive to improve flow and adhesion that also seals and stops rust. It can be used alone as a base coat on bare metal and will fix the rust while preserving the appearance.

Will wax keep metal from rusting? ›

While we generally think of applying a quality paste wax over wood — such as a stained piece of furniture or even one finished with a chalk paint — wax can also be applied over metal, such as this iron band on the inside of my Arts and Crafts antique wastebasket.

Does alcohol stop rust? ›

Isopropyl alcohol refers to an isomer of 1-propanol that is a colorless liquid with strong disinfectant properties and is widely used as an antiseptic. It is also used to clean corrosion-induced rust deposits from metallic surfaces.

Will galvanized roofing nails rust? ›

Galvanized nails will eventually rust. The coating of zinc on them makes them rust resistant, but over time that coating of zinc does wear off. It weathers away and exposes raw steel which will eventually start to rust.

Can you use brad nails for siding? ›

Choose a nail gun that will accept siding nails. You cannot use a brad gun for installing siding because the brads leave two holes for each brad and do not hold up as well as siding nails.

What's the best nails to use for vinyl siding? ›

What kind of nails do you use to hang vinyl siding? Use electro, or hot-dipped galvanized steel or aluminum roofing type nails with a diameter of 1/8″ and a nail head of 3/8″ or larger. The nails should penetrate 3/4″ into a solid wood base.

Can you use galvanised steel outside? ›

This process means the nails have a protective barrier which makes them resistant to rust and corrosion. Such properties make galvanised nails perfect for outdoors projects, and are often used by homeowners and builders alike in locations that could be damp.

Does galvanized steel rust in rain? ›

Galvanized steel takes a long time to rust, but it will eventually rust. This type is carbon steel that has been galvanized or coated with a thin layer of zinc. The zinc acts as a barrier preventing oxygen and water from reaching the steel, providing advanced corrosion protection.

When should you not use galvanized steel? ›

Chlorine, the base for many commonly used bleaches, is also very corrosive to galvanized steel. This means galvanized steel should not be used in chlorine water; however, hot-dip galvanized structural steel has performed acceptably when used indoors above chlorine pools.

Is galvanized weather resistant? ›

Galvanized steel can withstand water exposure, but not saltwater exposure and should not be used in buildings near saltwater. Galvanized steel is a coating over plain steel. If that coating is compromised, the steel underneath will rust. Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion due to the added chromium.

Why is galvanized steel preferred for outdoor use? ›

Galvanized steel is better for outdoor use as this steel is coated with zinc to prevent it from rusting. Zinc being more reactive than iron, rusts first and converts to zinc oxide. This layer of oxide forms a protective barrier between the steel and atmospheric oxygen and water and hence prevents it from rusting.

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