The Complete Guide To Nail Sizes For Framing

Throughout history, people have developed various tools to create an easier life. They even continue to enhance these tools so as to create new ones. For example, a hammer, the tool that pushes nails into things, without that, everything connected all around us would collapse. While using these tools, the first thing that comes to every mind is that what nail sizes for framing would be best?

Hammers and nails are a classic blend that has been around for a long time. It looks like a simple combination but there goes much more knowledge in the application. So as to get the desired results, you should be aware of the nail size chart. This is important as nails come in so many different sizes.

Framing is a significant element of the rough construction of any building. This phase involves fastening lumbers of 2 inches. One can construct walls with the help of 2×4 together and for building roofs and floors, you join 2×8 or 2×6 together. Hence, the nails should be strong enough to stand firm against shear forces. Constructors usually make use of common nails than box nails due to their thickness. As stated above, nails vary in their size. Moreover, if you are using a nail gun in place of a hammer, you will be requiring framing nails specially designed for nail guns.

If you do not choose a perfect framing nail size, you will have a feeble construction. Additionally, it will damage the wood. By using a perfect nail size for framing, there will be a strong framing and the maximum bonding strength.

nail size for framing

Nail Sizes for Framing

As you know better, all the wooden things around us require framing. One cannot think of the rigid construction phase of a building with no framing. Nails are the objects that attach everything and provide strength to them. It does not matter whether it is nails or floors; you have to select nails carefully. If you make a wrong choice, nails would split frame or wood insubstantially.

That’s the reason you should have great knowledge of different nail sizes for framing. Forget to go with long, short, or fat nails. Select the ones that feature the perfect gauge and go perfect with the load. So, let’s know more about the best nails for framing below.

What Size Nails for Framing?

The nail lengths or nail sizes that are the most common include 6d, 8d, 10d, or 16d. Here, the letter ‘d’ signifies a penny. The diameters or pennies’ sizes differentiate between each nail size. So, the next question comes how to differentiate between various nail lengths.

If you want to perform the job correctly, you need to choose the perfect nail length. Here, it is best to utilize the thumb rule, which states that the nail length you select should be three times bigger than its thickness. Meanwhile, long nails even result in split wood. That’s why keep a note on the connection of lumber components. Now, have a look at the different nail sizes for framing below!

16d nails16d nails

16d nails or 16-penny nails are the most used nails. These kinds of nails are three and a half inches long. One can employ 16d nails for performing construction-related projects like framing. Meanwhile, there are two types of 16d nails, which are sinkers and commons. So, let’s get this difference clear!

A 16d sinker makes up to a diameter of 0.148 inches and a length of 3.25 inches. On the other hand, a 16d common goes up to a length of 3.5 inches having a diameter of 0.162 inches. Both of these kinds are quite similar when it comes to physical dimensions. The main difference is that sinker nails feature a waffle-like style at the top while the common ones feature a smooth top. Out of these options, 16d sinkers are great for framing. As they arrive with vinyl, cement, and epoxy coating, these nails slide better into the wood.

10d nails10d nails

If you are looking something for trimming doors, then 10d nails would be the best nails for it. These nails do not penetrate deeper into the attached boards. Meanwhile, you can even make use of these 10d nails to adjoin flat board surfaces. The length of these nails is about 3 inches and 0.148 inches is their diameter. One cannot replace these nails with lesser diameter than that. If you are using 10d nails, the area should be three times more than the diameter of the nail. However, you should never install these nails in such a way that they would not go any further than ¾ inches.

8d nails8d nails

8d nails make up to 3.5 inches if we talk about the length. The diameter of these nails is about 0.131 inches, where the head diameter is around 9/32 inches. These nails are great for adjoining subfloors, toenailing, furring strips, sheathing, and other objects, where bigger nails cannot penetrate. One can easily spot 8d sinkers with vinyl coating in several hardware stores. Just like 16d sinkers, these nails are vaguely narrower as compared to common nails.

6d nails6d nails

These nails are great for adjoining flat woods. To accomplish such tasks, you do not require other big nails. The 6d nails are perfect for small interior tasks due to their 0.113 inches diameter and 2 inches shank length. The head diameter of these nails is about 17/64 inches. As 6d nails feature less diameter, these nails are not typically used. In the market, there are two kinds of 6d nails. These categories include box and common. So, choose the type as per your requirements.

Nail Size Chart: 16d to 6d

In order to get success at any construction work, it is important to go with accurate measurements. To avert mistakes in this field, it is best to employ the following nail size chart. It will give you an idea about the common nail measures that you require.

CommonGaugeLength (inches)Diameter (inches)
BoxGaugeLength (inches)Diameter (inches)

nail size chart

What Size Nail for Framing with Nail Gun?

As you know, a nail gun needs specific nails that go perfectly well in its magazine. The framing nails bind together in rows so as to go into the magazine. If the nails you have are not of the ideal size, they would not fit well into the magazine. That’s the reason you should always ensure the nail size for your nail gun while making a purchase. It is better to go with the nails from the same brand as your nail gun. In this way, you would not face a compatibility issue.

On the other hand, several nail guns’ magazines feature a steep angle towards the tip. This enables the nail gun to be employed in tight places. In order to fit, the nails should have clipped heads. That’s why you should check once if those nails could be used for certain framing and structural applications.

Top 3 Best Framing Nailer

These are top 3 best framing nailer comparison table making the best choice for your projects easily:

Framing NailerImagePower SourceMagazine CapacityShippingEditor's RatingPrice
BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing NailerCordless-Electric60 NailsFREE Shipping4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)See on Amazon
Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer, 2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Plastic Collated Full Head NailsPneumatic64 NailsFREE Shipping4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)See on Amazon
NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer Ergonomic & Lightweight PneumaticPneumatic55 Nails_4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)See on Amazon

What Size Nails for Framing Walls?

It is very important to consider the nail size while framing the interior walls. If the nail is too fat or long, you may face difficulty in driving it and it could even split wood. Meanwhile, thin or short nails would not be able to perform the task. If you are looking for the best framing nails, then 16d or 3½-inch nail is what you need.

Here, 16d nails are of two kinds, which are common nails and sinker nails. The common nails feature a smooth top, whereas the sinkers feature a textured top that helps in preventing hammers from slipping. Also, the common nails come with a diameter of 0.162 inches while the sinkers feature a 0.148-inch diameter.

Common nails are powerful and strong, but framing requires 16d sinkers. These sinkers have an epoxy or vinyl coating, which assists them in sliding through the wood easily. It is an important fact to consider as you need to drive numerous nails.

Meanwhile, you can even employ 8d nails for framing. These nails are used for joining 2×4 lumbers. You do not require large nails for adjoining furring strips, subfloors, sheathing, and other such materials. For carrying out these tasks, 8d nails come handy, which are 2½-inch long. In some stores, you will even come across vinyl-coated 8d sinkers, which are a bit narrower as compared to the common ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are taking up the framing task for the first time, it might seem a bit complicated at first. This is so as there are various sizes for framing nails available in the market. You would not be able to make out which size would work for which task. So, there must be some questions in your mind related to framing nail sizes. Here, we have tried to answer some of the most common questions associated with framing. So, let’s have a quick glance over them!

1. What size of nails can you employ for 2×4 framing?

  • “The best nail size for 2×4 framing is 16d nails, which measure about 3.5 inches.”

2. What nail size is perfect for joist hangers?

  • “To install joist hangers, you need to use 16d nails, which are double-dipped galvanized.”

3. How to place the wire for putting up an enormous picture?

  • “Initially, you should take the help of a fork. Place the fork on the nail that you have to use. After that, you have to place the picture on the wall. Next, take out the fork.”

4. Why nails twist when hammering into the stud?

  • “For this, you need to take into consideration the material that you have to use. In some cases, you require metal-based studs instead of the wooden ones. These wood studs could cause bending.”

5. What is the difference between vinyl and galvanized sinkers?

  • “A 2×4 framing to construct a wall usually uses a 16d nail to tie up the studs to the bottom and top plates. Sometimes, studs need to be doubled to create door headers or trimmers. Nails that are used for interior framing have a vinyl coating so that they drive easily. These nails are called vinyl sinkers. On the other hand, for exterior framing, you need to employ galvanized nails as they are rust-resistant.”

6. Which size is ideal for the framing nail guns, 3¼-or 3-inch?

  • “As per the building codes, you have to use 3½-inch or 16d nails for framing. These nails work great for every structural framing. However, most people employ 3¼-inch nail instead of the 3½-inch nail. But, 3½-inch is the ideal size. This nail size is used for reserving ledgers on beam, bottom plates, toe nailing trusses and joists, and several other places.”

7. Which nail size should you use for wood siding?

  • “Ideally, 8d nails are perfect for all kinds of siding materials. You need to space out these nails in such a way that each one of them penetrates a stud. However, it is not always possible to penetrate a nail into studs such as in the case of mounting shake siding. If the sheathing is about half an inch thick, 5d nails could work, which are just 1¾-inch long.”

8. What gauge nails mean?

  • “When we talk about electrical wires, the gauge of nails refers to the diameter of the nail. If the gauge is lower, then the nail would be thicker.”

9. What is the best nail size for framing?

  • “The best nail size for framing is about 3 and half inches. These nails are referred to as 16d nails. So, choose this size nail for framing purposes.”

10. What size nail gun do you require for framing?

  • “Most of the nail guns support nails with sizes ranging from 3½ inches to 1¼ inches. However, check the manufacturer’s details once before you settle on a nail gun.”


Now, you know what the best nails for framing are. Plus, you might have a complete understanding of nail sizes if you need to work with different kinds of nailers and nails. As stated above, there are lots of nail sizes for framing. If you have not worked with framing nails before, it would be difficult for you to discern the exact nail size.

Now, you do not have to worry about what nail size for framing would be best. Here, we have given answers to all the questions related to framing. If you still have some query or question regarding different nail sizes for framing, we are here to help you. Post your query in the comment section below. If you find this article helpful, we would be glad to hear from you!

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