The best fall nails will help you hang pictures, repair items, and complete other DIY projects with ease.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fall Nails

With fall right around the corner, its time to start thinking about how to decorate your home for the season. One of the biggest changes you can make is upgrading your outdoor nail art. Whether its a new design or a refresh of an existing theme, adding some nail polish helps create a cohesive look throughout your space.

While it might seem like a daunting task, choosing the right nails and nail polish takes just a little bit of planning. The following sections will break down the important considerations to keep in mind while shopping for these seasonal beauties.

Length

When it comes to length, there are two options: cuticle-side entry and tip-free (or pointed) nails. Most manufacturers offer both types.

  • Cuticle-side entry nails have a long tip that sits inside the groove on the top of the nail. To install, simply squeeze off the excess water from the surface of the material and then file down the tip until it sits in the appropriate depth in the pre-drilled hole. Its a simple process, but this method does not work with all materials.
  • Tip-free nails also enter the structure at the tip, but they lack a long tip. Instead, they have a sharp pointy end that sits in the pre-drilled hole. These nails are great for penetrating thick materials, but their installation is more challenging than cuticle-side nails. Manufacturers now offer special files that make installing these nails easier.

Number of Pieces

When it comes to materials, there are two options: monofilament and multi-filament nylon.

  • Monofilament nylon is made of one continuous strand of nylon that is extruded and then cut into shorter lengths. This makes it strong and durable, and the smooth finish allows for easy painting.
  • Multi-filament nylon is actually a synthetic yarn made from many individual strands of nylon. While stronger than monofilament nylon, multi-filament nylon tends to have a rougher texture that makes it less desirable for a painted surface.

Base Metal Type

The base metal used in nail construction has a lot to do with the quality and durability of the finished nail. In general, zinc is the most popular base metal because its inexpensive, highly conductive, and readily available.

Less popular as a base metal, aluminum also works. Though less common, copper is another option. Keep in mind that while base metals like zinc and aluminum are necessary, they’re not sufficient; the best outdoor nails also use steel alloys to increase strength and durability.

Steel Alloy

As mentioned above, the three primary components of high-quality outdoor nails are zinc, aluminum, and steel alloys. The addition of other elements increases the hardness and durability of each.

In the case of aluminum, it makes up the head of the nail. While aluminum is cheaper than zinc and harder than steel, over time, aluminum can be susceptible to corrosion. Zinc, on the other hand, is completely unaffected by weather and water.

Steel alloys are primarily used for the shaft of the nail where the bulk of the installation force must be applied. While these nails are stronger than either aluminum or zinc, they too can eventually corrode if they’re left untreated in poor conditions.

Point Retention

Another factor to consider when buying nails is whether or not they retain their points after installation. While cuticle-side nails often lose their tips, tip-free nails tend to stay sharper longer.

Manufacturers coat their nails with linseed oil or harden them with something called a chromium phosphate to make them more resistant to wear and tear. However, even with this protection, after a few years, the points will still wear down and need to be replaced.

Installation Process

Beyond just having the right materials, putting the nails into place also requires a certain technique. Squeezing off the water first and then filing down the tip until it fits into the pre-drilled hole is usually the way to go. Some nailers also allow for adjustment during installation, which makes it even easier to get the tip in correctly.

For those who struggle with this technique, there are now tools that make the job much simpler. One such tool is a nail gun that holds the nails in place rather than requiring you to individually file each nail.