I was curious what are the best nails to use for wood soffit when I was installing wood soffit and I did some research to find out.
What nails to use for wood soffit? Galvanized, aluminum or stainless-steel nails are the best nails you can use for outdoor constructions like the wood soffit. Also, those nails can use for any kind of outdoor construction, installation, and repairing stuff as well.
Obviously, this depends dramatically on the condition of the soffit, moisture content, and the wood type of the soffit, etc. So, I’ll include a bunch of examples later in this article. Also, from this article, you will know how to perfectly fit nails to the perfect soffit wood type.
Have a look at a brief summary of all types of nails that good for wood soffit with their characteristics.
|Soffit wood type||Structure||Handling|
|Galvanized nails||Douglas Fir, (Cedar and Redwood – only for hot-dipped)||8d and 16d lengths narrow shank, with a large head||Short and easy to use|
|Aluminum nails||Cedar and Redwood||6d Thin shank||Cannot use for old woods|
|Stainless-steel nails||cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated wood||8d x 2 3/8||Best if you live nearby sea and Can apply for hardwood. Excellent for face nailing|
So, let’s discuss each of the above nail types and their function towards the wood soffit more broadly.
Galvanized nails for Wood Soffit
Why we use galvanized nails rather than using normal nails? That is because of corrosion of nails that occur when they are exposed to different weather conditions especially when they use outside wood construction like the soffit. Galvanized nails have the ability to resist against corrosion. But how?
Nails are made out of iron steel. In the presence of water, iron atoms in the nails release electrons to the oxygen in the air. To fulfill the space that lost an electron, water combine with iron molecules and forms iron oxides which we called the rust. Imagine if you live by a sea coastal area, this corrosion process is high due to high moisture content in the atmosphere. To stop this, we use Galvanized nails specially for outdoor wood applications like soffits.
Galvanized nails protect nails from corrosion because of the zinc coating. When we use zinc-coated galvanized nails to use for soffit the zinc coat will corrode first and because of that, the corrosion of the steel will slow down. But the disadvantage of zinc-coated galvanized nails is, one day, the nail will face the corrosion and that can badly affect the soffit as well. For example, the occurring of rust.
So, the most durable method of galvanizing technique is hot dipping. These galvanized nails are called hot-dipped galvanized nails, which are dipped/submerged in molten zinc and coated. Hot dipped galvanized nails are mainly used for outdoor exposure applications and enable to be used in bad environments such as acid, corrosive, humid circumstance. So, this type of galvanized nails is also can use for wood soffit.
The other galvanized nail type is electro-coated nails, which is the cheapest option. These nails are galvanized with the help of an electric current. They are so smooth and glossy. But the main disadvantage of using these types of nails for the soffit is they are not suitable to use with acid materials, such as cedar, redwood, etc. most of the soffits are made out of cedar and redwood. So, under this circumstance, never select electro-galvanized nails for the installation process.
Also, the galvanized nails with copper flashing. Never use these types of galvanized nails for the soffit, because, with a little amount of moisture they start to corrode really fast.
Conclusion – Use Hot dipped galvanized nails for the installation/ construction or repairing process of the wood soffit. Never use electro-coated galvanized nails or galvanized nails with copper flashing.
Hot dipped galvanized nails with narrow shank and a large head are soffit nails are short and easy to handle. They don’t split the thin wood layer and covers the porch ceiling and eave soffits. We can use hot-dipped galvanized nails for soffit not only because of its off oxidation ability but also they have high staying power. Coarse zinc particles can attach very tightly to any wooden surface they’re being hammered. Most importantly before you buying a nail gun, you should select what is the appropriate galvanized nail to attach the soffit which 8d and 16d lengths are perfect.
Aluminum nails for Wood Soffit
Aluminum nails are the cheapest option you can go with. They have lightweight with very good strength. The main advantage of using aluminum nails rather than using galvanized nails is, they do not react with cedar or redwood. Because those two are the main wood types we use for soffits.
Also, there are different types of size variations in aluminum nails. If you live in a very windy area, 1 3/4 cedar soffit nails are the best option because they have annular rings to stop the pullout in very-wind areas. Standard aluminum nails are very rare which a minimum of 1 3/4” length required for the installation of the soffit. They have high tensile aluminum alloy and plain shank. We can use Appleton color-matched nails for a neat and professional job. You can buy aluminum nails in various types of colors. Such as Polar White, Herringbone, Wicker, Clay, Ivory, Sandalwood, Charcoal, Sable, Aztec, Brown, Choc. Brown, Nutmeg Brown, Black, Tile Red, Burgundy, Old World Blue, Heron Blue, Pacific Blue, Rustic Blue, Ivy Green, Jade, and Forest Green. You can match colors according to the color of the wood or paint of the soffit before the application.
The main disadvantage of using aluminum nails for soffit is they are soft and short, because of that it can be frustrating to drive aluminum nails.
Stainless Steel nails for Wood Soffit
Stainless-steel nails are ideal for attaching wood soffit. They drive better than aluminum nails which we discussed above. Because of their structural design, they are great for exterior applications. They can use for soffits that are made out of cedarwood, redwood, and also pressured wood.
The main advantage of using stainless nails is they don’t corrode. Because of that, their lifetime is very much higher than using galvanized nails and aluminum nails. You can buy a box of stainless steel before attaching the soffit a box of 200 nails for about $9 only. Which are long-lasting and cheaper than aluminum nails as well.
If your soffit is made out of cedar, redwood, or pressured wood, the perfect dimension of stainless steel nail you should use is 8d x 2 3/8 stainless steel nail. You can attach nails to the wood layer without splitting and they are perfect for the Douglas fir soffit as well.
Also, you can buy stainless steel nails in various types of colors in the market like aluminum nails according to the color of the soffit. They are white smooth, black, dark bronze, brown, burgundy, forest green, cozy cottage, navy blue, Eldridge grey, pewter, almond, wicker, clay, etc.
By using stainless steel you can avoid the main disadvantage of using aluminum nails, which is bending. Stainless steel nails don’t bend easily.
As a summary, let’s see what are the advantages of using stainless steel nails rather than other nail types for soffit installation.
- High corrosion resistance
- Affordable price
- High life expectancy. (No need to repair for a long period of time)
- Streaking and staining are minimal
- Very strong
- High tensile strength
- The load-bearing capacity is 20% higher than plain steel nails.
- Nontoxic – You are applying this for soffit so it needs to be environmentally and health-friendly.
- 100% recyclable.
Overall, however, stainless steel nails have a good life cycle arrangement, compared with other types of soffit nails.
So let’s see what are the FAQ regarding the nails and the installation of the soffit.
What nails do you use for fascia?
- Galvanized nails
- Aluminum nails
- Stainless steel nails
How do you nail a soffit?
This is an interesting question. Soffit nailed with 1 1/2 or 2” size aluminum roofing nail or ring shanked siding nail. You should avoid the face nailing, but at the same time, you need to drive the nail in. That’s is why we recommend using stainless steel for the installation process of the soffit. They drive so well smoothly.
My wood soffit is made out of pressured wood, what nail should I use?
Highly recommend using Stainless steel nails. Never use galvanized nails with copper flashing, because the wood layer can be split and they react with the cedar and redwood.
Are galvanized nails toxic?
Galvanized nails have zinc coating around the steel. So, with time some amount of zinc and lead particles can detach from the metal surface. Zinc is a poison. So, according to my point of view, there is some kind of health effect of using galvanized nails. Especially for household exterior activities.