Galvanized Nails: What Are They?

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Galvanized nails are coated with zinc to protect against rust and corrosion. Electroplated nails are shiny but not suitable for exposure to corrosive materials. They are commonly used for outdoor projects but not with redwood, cedar, or treated lumber.

Galvanized nails are a special type of nail used in construction. They have undergone a special galvanizing process, which consists of covering them with a zinc coating to form a protective barrier. This barrier also functions as a sacrificial anode, meaning that the coating will dissolve before the metal inside if the barrier itself is damaged.

Zinc oxide, which is a fine white powder, is used to coat nails because it does not break down the underlying metal surface and destroy the integrity of the nails. The protective barrier provided by zinc has many benefits, including the prevention of oxidation. In this way, the galvanized nails are highly resistant to rust and corrosion.

Many galvanized nails receive a thin layer of zinc plating through a process called electroplating, also known as electro-galvanizing. In this process, the electrically conductive metal is galvanized with the help of an electric current. This results in a smooth and uniform zinc layer. Nails that have been electroplated, however, are unable to withstand continued exposure to corrosive materials such as salt water. Therefore, the nails needed for this purpose would have to be created with the hot-dip process, which results in a much thicker layer of zinc.

Traditionally, the method used to test the effectiveness of a zinc plating coating is to determine its resistance to salt spray. Thin-coated galvanized nails aren’t likely to withstand this type of surface abrasion for extended periods of time, but they’re typically all that’s needed for most residential purposes, although a few precautions should be kept in mind .

Galvanized nails are typically used by homeowners for outdoor projects, and those made with electroplating are often bright and shiny. They are not a good choice for use with redwood, cedar or treated lumber because the acids and chemicals in these woods will eat away at the zinc coating. This will cause the nails to rust and leave black streaks around the nail in the wood. Instead, mechanically galvanized nails should be used, which are dull gray in color.

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