Why are smooth shank nails still so common in the lumberyards?
I’ve been working in construction for ten years now and have a solid method. Any flooring or wall sheething is fastened with 2-3/8″ ring shank nails, and any studs are secured to the plates and headers with 3-1/4″ ring shank. Floor joists are typically secured to treated plate with 3-1/4″ hot dipped galvanized and rim joist is toenailed to sill plate on 6 or 8″ center with 2-3/8″ galvanized ring shank. Roofs have been 2-3/8″ ring shank but I’ve been told I should be using staples.
Anyway, majority of my question is why are so many old time framers not using ring shank? They cost the same in my area, yet the majority of yards only stock smooth shank. In addition to this, their smooth shank are only 3″ not 3-1/4″! I consider 3-1/4″ a minimum as most code use to call for 3-1/2″ when nailing studs to plates.
Any comments would help ease my frustrations. And I’d really like to hear about what you guys are using and how well it has worked for you. I realize smooth shank are easier to pull, bit after a while you just don’t need to pull that many nails on a job. I slow down with the gun and make sure I am lined up, it seems to be faster than rapid firing and pulling 5 nails.
I'm not trying to insult you but the truth is your likes and dislikes have nothing to do with what other framers use. It's commendable that you go above and beyond but I expect 95% of the nails used in house framing are shot out of a nail gun and ring shanks drive a lot harder. A low bid framer doesn't care whether the nails last, hold better or are the right length. If it were a big issue to contractors they would specify nail sizes, check to make sure they were used and pay the framers more to use them.
I don't frame houses anymore, pretty much the only framing we do is on decks and we only use stainless steel ring shank nails on them. They are a lot more expensive and a lot more work as none of our guns consistently drive them flush so we have to finish them off with a hammer.
No offense taken, you give valid points and yes the industry just doesn't care. That's why I resort to here on Fine homebuilding hopefully to catch conversation with those who do care more about this thing. One reason I like ring shank is that they hold warped boards better. In this day of framing material, my plates need that extra holding power so that I can slam a couple nails in and the board won't bow back out. Sometimes the material is so bad I have to use a screw to pull the bottom or top plate into the end of the stud, then nail. But ring shanks allow me to skip that step a lot more.
In virtually all situations the loads on nails are shear loads. Ring shank nail do nothing to increase shear value. If you are using nails to resist withdrawal loads you shouldn't be. Ring shanks are good for decking not because of structural resistance to withdrawal but to avoid nail pop that comes from expansion and contraction of lumber. I've found ring shanks to be a poor choice for toe nailing because they are more likely to split lumber. If you want to build stronger using nails just use fatter nails.
Mike, see my above comment as well. Not using ring shanks for explicitly for withdrawal hold, but that is the much added bonus when working with lumber that has a bow or twist.
And to be fair, all sheathing is both shear and tear out resistance. A sheet of OSB on the wall will change size with moisture. Using non ring shank nails means the nail holding the osb can eventually be working loose from the changes in temperature and humidity for locations with all four seasons.
What fasteners do you use on a typical construction site for sheeting and for framing stud walls?
Nails in general use in Calif. are 8 and 16d gun nail sinkers and 10d shorts (the length of an 8 with the diameter of a 10. All gun nails. Stud walls are face nailed with 16s. Sheathing nailed with 8s or 10 shorts. If I use 1 1/8" decking I nail it with 16s. If wind was really an issue I'd use ring shanks. I've never had nor seen any problems with this. Stucco is usually the default exterior finish so sheathing is often just done on shear panels and not the whole wall. Some of our newest fire codes require noncomustable soffits. This is usually accomplished with stucco, so wind at the eaves is not an issue.
We're required to use ring shanks 6" oc on roof sheathing here in Florida to keep the sheathing on the trusses. Prior to that, you'd find roof sheathing nail 12"-16" oc with 6# nails which obviously wouldn't hold anything. I'd guess that even RS nails spaced 12-16" apart might just pull through the sheathing during hurricane-force winds. The ICC recommends smooth shank nails for framing and RS for sheathing and flooring.