When Should I Use Stainless Steel Staples or Nails?

Stainless Steel

Are you confused about the different types of fasteners? Are you fed up of all of the jargon? Do you want help navigating the confusing terminology and the masses of information? We’ve got your back…

It can be a baffling industry with so many fastener, stapler and nailer sizes, brands, prices and quality options available. To make things a little easier when trying to figure out which types of products are right for you or your business, we’ve created a fundamental guide to a fastener type that is becoming increasingly popular amongst our customers (and across the industry as a whole) – the mighty Stainless Steel!

We’ve compiled all of our Stainless Steel facts, uses, hints, tips and tricks all on to one page so you don’t have to go scouring the internet for hours! There is also information on other types of fasteners (for both staples and nails), and even a handy quiz to help you determine which fastener category is best for you.

To become well-versed in the language of Stainless Steel – just carry on reading… You can also download this guide as a PDF to save it for later! Simply enter your email below!

stainless steel popularity increase graph

With that in mind, we’d like to welcome you to Stainless Steel: The Ultimate Guide. Your no-nonsense solution to stapling and nailing at a premium level. Everyone manufacturing or working with wood in any sense will need the right fasteners for the job. Common metal fasteners include screws, nails, staples, brads and pins. Let’s get going - here is the low-down on all things Stainless Steel and what you will learn:

stainless steel staples

What Are Stainless Steel Fasteners?

‘Fasteners’ can refer to nails, brads, pins, staples and screws- which can all come in many different styles, including different lengths, angles, thicknesses (gauges) and coatings. One of the biggest differences in styles is when a fastener is ‘Stainless Steel’. Stainless Steel fasteners are made of Grade 304 Steel – the most versatile kind! This type of Stainless Steel has a low carbon content, which means they are resistant to rust and corrosion! Exactly what you need for a premium project! You can find all of the properties and chemical breakdown of Grade 304 Stainless Steel here.

Not too long ago (well a couple of thousand years ago) everything was made from iron – your farming tools, your weapons and your shields. It even has an entire time period named after it! You can read more on the Iron Age here. It needed to be easy to get hold of and cheap to manufacture into whatever they needed it to be.

Then came a new age in metal manufacturing…the Stainless Steel Age (we may have just made that up but we think it deserves an era all to itself!)

Despite being one of the most widely used materials in the world from construction to medical equipment to transport – it is still considered as a ‘new’ invention. Unlike metal alternatives such as copper which have been around for thousands of years, Stainless Steel was only invented in 1913! It was created by Harry Brearley from Sheffield. He discovered that adding chromium to iron cause the end product to be ‘rustless’ and the revolutionary Stainless Steel was born! 106 years later and we’re still finding new ways to use it in our everyday lives.

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When and why should I use Stainless Steel?

You should use these superior Stainless Steel brad nails or staples when you are going to be working on outdoor structures or in damp environments. Projects outdoors are exposed to the elements such as rain, snow and high humidity and condensation. This extra moisture would cause galvanised nails and staples to rust after a short period of time. However, Stainless Steel is resistant to any corrosion that could happen in damp environments, meaning your projects will stay as strong as ever!

You can use Stainless Steel staples and nails indoors as well – they work fantastically in furniture manufacturing. You would also need to use Stainless Steel staples or nails when working with high tannin woods. These are generally quality hard woods such as white and red oak, mahogany, cedar, Accoya®, cherry, chestnut and walnut. The tannin would eventually begin to corrode unfinished nails or staples over time – but Stainless Steel is once again resistant! The corrosion caused by non-Stainless Steel fasteners doesn’t do any harm to the wood itself, but a rotting blue/brown/black fastener or rust runs can make for an unsightly finish to your projects – we wouldn’t want that now would we?

Interesting Fact: Tannin is also naturally found in tea and coffee!

What can I use Stainless Steel for?

As mentioned above, you can use Stainless Steel brads, nails and staples both indoors and outdoors without fear of rusting or corrosion. You can also use Stainless Steel fasteners in most standard joinery, construction, fencing, boat building, furniture manufacturing and upholstery nailers and staplers – and that’s just to name a few!. If you’re looking for joinery 1st or 2nd fix nails or staples specifically – Stainless Steel performs excellently in both areas!

Using Stainless Steel is necessary in outdoor projects such as decking, roofing, shed manufacturing and animal enclosures; and also in projects in damp environments such as boat building. One of our trusted customers, Jim, said that he “wouldn’t use anything else” in his boat repair business! From finish nails for exterior trim to large fencing staples – you can find Stainless Steel in them all. We even have some artists as customers who need Stainless Steel for their exhibits! Take the quiz at the bottom of the page to see which type is best for your project.

We sell these anti-rust fasteners in all of our most popular nails, for example you can get 16 gauge angled and 18 gauge stainless steel brads. And the same goes for staples – you can get your hands on 71 series and divergent point 91 series stainless steel staples! We also have headless 23 gauge stainless steel pins, and even stainless steel conical coil nails! So much variety for every project from nailers for framing to hammer tackers for carpet laying!

brad nail and tool

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What are the benefits of using Stainless Steel?

Firstly, using Stainless Steel pins, nails, brads and staples will be financially friendly to you and/or your business. Their anti-rust and corrosion technology means that you will not have to replace or repair the fasteners in your work when they become weak from water exposure, like if you had used galvanised fasteners. We all love having a bit of extra money in our pockets! Lower quality fasteners may seem to have a more desirable price-point at first – but consider the long-term costs of repairs and replacements due to rust. You may also reduce the chance of a bad review from a customer if you’ve taken every precaution to protect their project from unsightly rust! A lot of our own customers love the Stainless Steel range and receive great feedback from their customers too – take a look at our Trustpilot to see the testimonials!

Also, using Stainless Steel fasteners is eco-friendly! We think it is important to try and run a sustainable business in these times, and your stapling and nailing choices should be no different. We’re pretty big on recycling over here at My Toolkit and Stainless Steel fasteners are 100% recyclable as they are not coated in any harmful toxic materials. Even if any of these staples and nails found themselves in a landfill rather than being recycled, they pose no harm to the environment as they are toxic material-free! Also, Stainless Steel does not require as much energy to manufacture as 70.1% of it is recycled! Right from the start of the Stainless Steel journey you are helping to reduce the industrial carbon footprint. You can read more about the eco-friendly benefits here.


What is the difference between 1st and 2nd Fix Joinery?

1st Fix = Everything required for the internal and external structures of a project e.g. door frames, roofing, timber framing, wall studding, staircases etc. (34° Stainless Steel Collated Strip Nails are excellent for 1st Fix applications – enquire here!)

2nd Fix = Everything after the main structure is complete (the cosmetic parts) e.g. doors, architraves, skirting, moulding etc. (16 and 15 Gauge Angled Stainless Steel Finish Nails are often the best choice for these jobs!)

Wood to wood nailing
fabric to wood stapling
Wood to wood nailing

What other types of fasteners can I get?

As well as Stainless Steel fasteners, there are a number of other types of staples and nails available too:

Galvanised – (Also known as Electro-Galvanised) This is the most common finish found on staples and nails. The fastener is dipped in a thin layer of zinc to coat the primary metal to protect against rust and corrosion. However, as it is such a thin layer of zinc, it could be easily damaged, exposing the fastener’s under-layer to corrosion. They are still a very popular choice however! Take a look at our 71 Series Galvanised Upholstery Staples here.

Bright/Liquor – This type of fastener have little to no coating on them, making them the cheapest options usually available. While the price may look nice, bright and liquor fasteners have no protection from rust or corrosion. You may find yourself having to repair or replace these fasteners quite often if left exposed to the elements. Take a look at our 23 Gauge Liquor Headless Pins here.

Hot Dipped Galvanised – (Also known as Extra-Galv) This type of finish is for nails only. The process involved nails being placed in a bath of molten zinc to ensure a greater level of rust protection than on normal galvanised. It is not fully resistant to corrosion but will be a little more protected in damp environments.

Our friends over at Bostitch have put together a handy guide to the different types of fastener finishes – take a look here.

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Are there other factors to consider?

As always, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to every stapling and nailing problem. There are of course variations that will be different for every person. Here are just a few more things to consider regarding stainless steel, woods and tools. When consistently working with high tannin woods, be sure to consider the material of the tools and driver blades you are using. Additionally, regular cleaning and thoroughly drying your tools may help reduce the chance of corrosion.

Also, some research carried out by Corrosion Science in the USA notes that certain wood preservatives that can be added to help keep the wood in good condition can help to speed up the rusting process. Check what additives have been introduced to the wood you’re working with to avoid any unpleasant corrosion surprises! This comes from the Journal of Environmental Degradation of Materials and its Control.

What type of staple or nail is right for me?

It can be quite confusing having so much information piled on to you in one go. For quality and sustainability purposes, we will always recommend Stainless Steel fasteners. However, we understand that they may not always be the best fit for you or your job. So, we’ve created a little quiz to help you figure out which types staples are right for you and the job in hand:

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There you go – you are now a Stainless Steel connoisseur …or at least know a little bit more than when you first found this page! If this page has been helpful and you want to continue to get industry trends, early access to our sales and exclusive news then leave your email address below.

Have you got a specific question about Stainless Steel, types of fasteners, or general stapling and nailing questions that we didn’t cover in our guide? Or is there anything you would like to go over in more detail? If the answer is yes, then you can get in touch with us over the phone or via our online messaging system. We have a dedicated team of industry experts who would be happy to help you out. © April 2019

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Also, you can book in for a private 30-minute consultation with one of our most experienced experts! This is the perfect opportunity to ask more specific questions such as “which Stainless Steel pins would be best for my air tool?” or “which tools can I use Stainless Steel upholstery staples in?” For this month only we are offering your first consultation completely free of charge (usually £30)! All you need to do is leave your name, phone number and request a time via the link below and we will select which of our experts we think would be able to answer your query best!

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