types of nails

Types of Nails — The Top 21 in 2023 (UK DIY Guide)

Even the most novice DIYer can recognise a common nail, but did you know there are 21 types?

This guide to 21 different types of nails will help you pick the right nail for the job.

Types of Nails — The UK’s Top 21

Below are the 21 most popular nails in the UK.

1. Annular

annular nail

Annular nails are coated with zinc and have a ridged pattern down the shaft. This means they grip timber more firmly. Annular nails can also be used with MDF.

2. Brad

brad nail

Brads are fired into wood using a brad nailer. They do not have a pronounced head which helps achieve a smooth finish.

Pro Tip: Don’t confuse brad nails with brad fasteners, the domed head split pins you find in stationery cupboards.

3. Clout Head

clout head nail

Used for nailing felt and tiles to roofs, clout head nails are distinguished by their wide, flat heads. They are usually galvanised to hold up better in rough weather. Copper clout nails are a popular choice for fixing slate tiles.

4. Copper Disk Rivet

copper disk rivet

Like clout head nails, copper disk rivets have a wide head and are used to fix roof tiles. The rivet has a shorter shaft than the clout head.

5. Corrugated Fastener

corrugated fastener

Corrugated fasteners are fired from a nail gun to create a strong fix across a wooden join, often on a mitred corner.

6. Cut Floor Brads

cut floor brads

Cut floor brads are long and thin, resembling miniature saw blades. They are used for fixing down tongue and groove floorboards, their thin shape preventing the boards from splitting. Clasp nails are chunkier, making them extra strong but less easy to remove.

7. Double-Headed/Duplex Head

double-headed nail

As you’d expect, double-headed nails have two heads, one above the other. They are used for temporary structures like scaffolding where quick and easy disassembly is required.

Hammer the nail into the wood, but only up to the first head. Later, when the work is done, remove the nail by pulling on the second head with a claw hammer.

8. Hardboard Pin

hardboard pin nail

When a smooth finish is required on hardboard items, these nails have a diamond-shaped head that sinks into the wood.

9. Lost Head

lost head nail

Lost head nails have small heads that tap right into the wood. This makes them a good choice for carpentry projects requiring a smooth finish. They are also safe for children’s furniture as there is nothing for skin or clothes to get snagged on.

10. Masonry

masonry nail

Masonry nails fix lightweight wooden objects to brick or concrete walls. For heavier items, use screws or nuts and bolts.

11. Oval Wire

oval wire nail

Used for timber joinery, these nails are strong. Their oval heads mean they can be hammered just under the surface of the wood. Oval nails are less likely to split wood than their common sibling, the round wire nail.

12. Panel Pin

panel pin

The thinness of a panel pin belies its strength. They’re used in carpentry to give a neat finish and are most commonly seen fixing the thin back panels of cupboards to the rest of the unit. They’re sometimes sold in a copper finish for added decoration.

13. Plasterboard

plasterboard nail

Plasterboard nails are a cheaper alternative to screws and are easier to put in, but they don’t provide as strong a hold.

14. Plastic Headed

plastic headed nail

Plastic-headed nails have metal shafts, but the heads come in various coloured plastic. They are used for putting up soffits and fascias, so choose the colour that corresponds with those.

15. Round Wire

round wire nail

Round wire nails are the most common type of nail and are often used for joining timber when a fancy finish is not needed.

Take caution when using round wire nails, as they’re known to split wood.

16. Sprig

sprig nail

Very similar in shape to a cut floor brad, sprigs hold the glass in window panes before putty can be applied.

17. Square Twisted

square twisted nail

While the head is round, the nail’s shaft is squared off and twisted. They’re used for fixing metal plates to joists for a firm hold.

18. Stainless Steel Slate Hook

stainless steel slate hook

Slate hooks look like a shepherd’s crook with a bent point at one end. They are used to fix slate roofing tiles in position.

19. Staple


These rounded wire staples fix wire fencing to a timber frame. The strong staples are fired from a nail gun.

20. Tack


Tacks are angular staples, similar to the kind that fasten paper. These are stronger and fire from a gun to attach the fabric to wood in upholstery projects.

21. Upholstery Nail

upholstery tack nail

Short shaft nails, these nails come in a range of decorative finishes for fixing fabric to wood in upholstery projects.

Types of Nails — Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this exhaustive list of nails wasn’t too exhausting to read, and you now feel qualified to pick the right nail for your DIY project.

For more information on essential hardware items, check out our guide to the different types of screws.