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Types of Nails to Use on Cedar Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Cedar wood is known for its resistance to decay. Using nails that resist rust also promotes the resilience of the cedar, according to the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. Improper nails can react to the natural oils in the cedar and cause stains or streaks from the nail head. For this reason, copper nails are not advised for use with cedar wood.

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Nail Design

The lumber association suggests using nails with blunt points and thin shanks for cedar wood products. This type of nail is less likely to split the wood and is especially important when working with cedar siding. The holding power of the nails can be improved by using ring or spiral shank nails.

Nail Material

The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association suggests using stainless steel nails, which is important if a transparent stain is applied to the wood. Heavier stainless steel nails are suggested in areas where the cedar wood and nails will be exposed to the corrosive action of saltwater, as is generally found in seacoast installations. Aluminium and galvanised nails also can be used.


Nails with textured heads often are used with cedar siding because the textured surface of the nail looks natural when set in the cedar siding. The textured head eliminates “shiny spots” created by smooth nail heads in a cedar-sided wall.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.

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