There are many kinds of nails that can be found at your local home centers such as City Mill. Galvanized steel nails are most commonly used, but nails are also made of aluminum, stainless steel, cooper, brass and bronze. Bright steel nails will rust, so they should not be used where rusting would cause discoloration or staining.
Hot-dipped zinc-coated nails have good rust protection. This method is considered the best way to coat steel nails uniformly.
Selecting the right kind and head of nail to use depends upon the hardiness of the wood, the chance of the head working through and the type of work to be done. A finishing nail, for example, must have a good holding power yet be inconspicuous.
The holding power of a nail is determined by its length, diameter and the shape of the shank. The thickness of the material to be nailed determines the length of the nail required, but the amount of stress the material will bear should also be considered.
For example, if a 1” thick board which bears no weight or stress is nailed to another 1” thick board which bears no weight or stress is nailed to another 1” thick board, use a nail approximately 1-1/2” long. But if the 1” board is to bear weight and is nailed to a thicker board, use a nail that is 2-1/2 times the thickness of the material to be fastened.