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Why Nails Are the Preferred Fastener in Construction

  • March 12, 2020

Nails and screws are the two most common types of fasteners. As you may know, the main difference between them is that the nails have a smooth shaft, whereas screws have a threaded shaft. The presence of exterior threading allows screws to create a stronger and more secure hold when joining two or more objects. Even with their increased security, though, nails are the preferred fastener in the construction industry. So, why do construction and carpentry workers typically use nails instead of screws?

Less Expensive

For starters, nails are less expensive than screws. While the number varies, it’s not uncommon for two-story residential homes to contain over 10,000 nails. Screws cost significantly more than mails, however. As a result, construction companies can save money by using nails. This is just one of several reasons why nails are the preferred fastener in the construction industry.

Increased Strength

Screws are, in fact, able to create a more secure hold when joining objects than nails because they have a threaded shaft. With that said, nails offer greater tensile strength. Screws are more brittle than nails. The exterior threading results in areas of thin metal that can easily break when exposed to stress or pressure. Nails don’t have a threaded shaft, so they aren’t as brittle as screws. And in turn, they offer greater tensile strength, making them desirable for construction and carpentry applications.

Easier to Install

Another reason nails are the preferred fastener in the construction industry is because they are easier to install. There are power tools available that can quickly and efficiently install both nails and screws. Nails, however, typically require less time to install. With the exception of self-tapping screws, most screws require the use of a pilot hole. Before a construction or carpentry worker installs a screw, he or she must first drill a pilot hole. Nails don’t require a pilot hole and, instead, can be driven directly into the respective objects.

Furthermore, construction and carpentry workers can install nails with or without a power tool. All it takes to drive a nail into two or more objects is a hammer. To install a screw, on the other hand, a drill must be used.

Easier to Remove

Not only are they easier to install than screws, but nails are also easier to remove. If a building component needs replacing, a worker can easily remove a nail using a hammer or similar tool. To remove a screw, construction and carpentry workers must use a screwdriver, which generally requires more time and energy.

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