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I was told (as well as read online) that I should use 16d nails for deck framing.

However I have been using nails labeled "Grip-Rite 5-lb 16D 3.5-in Hot-Dipped Galvanized Smooth Box Nails" in the last couple days and honestly they are terrible. The nails are so easy to bend when I hammer 2x8 to 4x8 treated lumber.

Am I using the wrong nails?

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Those are not the correct nails, period.

A "Box" nail is thinner than a "Common" nail, and unsuitable for framing.

Per chart found here, 0.162" .vs. 0.135" which is 144% more steel in the common nail (review geometry if you don't get that.)

Box nails, being thinner, are easier to bend, as well; but predrilling can help if you are not a skilled framer - however, the fact remains that box nails are not suitable framing nails. You may find pre-drilling the 2x8 for 16d common galvanized nails to be beneficial, depending on your hammer skills.

  • ...But the code specs out 0.135" nails for STRUCTURAL MEMBERS (per your link). Why is a box nail unacceptable? – Damon Jun 8 '16 at 13:35
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For framing a deck where you cannot see the nails, an external product is desired. A galvanized framing nail will not rust where a standard framing nail will rust and potentially eventually fail.

For areas you CAN see, I prefer screws, as they won't pull out and can be screwed flush.

It may also be worth it to rent a compressor and framing nailer for a day or two rather than do it all manually, as framing nailers don't tend to end up with bent nails unless you hit an obstruction.

  • Well someone down-voted this for some reason, but it would be nice to know what they think is wrong with the answer, so I can improve my responses. – The Evil Greebo May 31 '16 at 12:48

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