Nail Sizes for Framing: What Size Nails Do You Need for Framing


How hard is it to decide the right nail size for framing if you don’t know anything about it?

I am sure; you want to use the right nail for your gun to accomplish a particular task.

To do so, knowing the different nail sizes is truly important as well as the types and their best use.

I have left no stone unturned to help you out exactly on that.

That means in this article; I am going to give you proper knowledge on framing nail sizes, their types, and applications.

So, without any further delay, let’s get down to it. Shall we?

Nail Sizes for Framing: What Size Nails Do We Need for Framing

Who doesn’t know that framing nails vary in length?

I bet you know that.

But do you know how we people denote the different lengths?

Hang on with me if you don’t know that yet.

Based on the differences in length, diameter, gauge, we designate the nails in different names. All of them are symbolized by “d” (more on this later).

So, what are those different denotations of framing nails?

Here you go – 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d, 8d, 10d, 12d, 16d, 20d, 30d, 40d, 50d, 60d, 70d, 80d, etc.

Now, what the heck is the “d” here? And what is the length of each of these?

“d” is nothing but the symbol for a penny. “d” stands for a denarius, which is a Roman coin similar to the penny. It is believed that 2d needs 2 English pennies to buy 100 nails, that’s why it is designated as 2d.

In America, the retailers use the penny system instead of length to identify a framing nail.

As I said, they vary in length and other parameters like diameter and gauge. However, not all sizes are commonly used in framing.

16d, 10d, 8d, 6d are the common ones that are used in framing.

Keep in mind; these nails are categorized mainly into four types – common, box, cooler, and sinker.

Common nails have the most substantial diameter shank than others. The heavy shank allows a common nail to carry the heavy structural load.

On the other hand, the box nails have smaller diameter shank hence it’s lighter. They are mainly designed to reduce splitting when you assemble wooden boxes.

Both the cooler and sinker nails have a vinyl coating that helps them to go through the wood smoothly.

The sinker nails have a textured head that prevents hammers from sliding.

Let’s dig a little deeper!

Now I am going to give you some ideas about the most commonly used nail sizes for framing (i.e. 16d, 10d, 8d, 6d).

16d Nail Length/Nail Size

16d Nail Length/Nail Size

So, first of all – what is a 16d nail?

I believe you got the answer already if you read the above point that I wrote on ‘framing nailer length and variation.’

That being said, I haven’t told you about the exact length, diameter, and gauge of a 16d nail.

Not to mention, I am going to list down the measurement for both common nails and box nails.

So, how big is a 16d nail? What is the diameter? And What gauge is a 16d nail?

Here is the answer:

Common 16d nails –

  • Length: 3.5 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.162 inches.
  • Gauge: 8

Box 16d nails –

  • Length: 3.5 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.135 inches.
  • Gauge: 10

16d nails are the most commonly found nails. You will want to use these nails for construction-related works mostly.

10d Nail Length/Nail Diameter/Nail Size

10d Nail Lenght/Nail Diameter/Nail Size

Like the 16d framing nails that I discussed earlier, I will be answering the following significant questions for 10d framing nails too.

How long is a 10d nail? What is the diameter of the 10d nail? And what gauge is a 10d nail?

Of course, I will be answering the measurement for both common and box nails.

For common 10d nails –

  • Length: 3 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.148 inches.
  • Gauge: 9

And for box 10d nails –

  • Length: 3 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.128 inches.
  • Gauge: 10.5

10d nails are perfect for making door trimmers, attaching flat board faces.

8d Nail Length/Nail Size

8d nails

You guessed it right.

Let’s get busy with finding the answer of the same questions for 8d framing nails.

For common 8d nails –

  • Length: 2.5 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.131 inches.
  • Gauge: 10.25

And for box 8d nails –

  • Length: 2.5 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.113 inches.
  • Gauge: 11.5

You should use 8d nails where a longer nail is not required. To be specific, 8d nails are perfect for attaching subfloors, toenailing, furring strips, sheathing.

6d Nail Size/Nail Length/Nail Diameter

6d Nail Size/Nail Length/Nail Diameter

6d nails are perfect for small interior jobs, joining flat woods, etc. where you don’t need large nails.

Now let’s get the answers to the same old questions. I mean the different measurements of 6d nails.

For common 6d nails –

  • Length: 2 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.113 inches.
  • Gauge: 11.5

And for box 6d nails –

  • Length: 2 inches.
  • Diameter: 0.099 inches.
  • Gauge: 12.5

Metal Anchors

Metal Anchors

Well, these are not the nails that I’ve talked about so far in this article.

These are called metal anchors.

First thing first. What is a metal anchor? And what does it do?

Metal anchors are used as wall anchors. Their primary task of these anchors is to ensure the support to the wall that is required for the wall to bear any load.

The anchor type certainly depends on the wall material, how it will be installed or removed, and last but not least, the weight of the load that will be hung.

Here are some of the variations that you will find in metal anchors –

Nail Size Gauge Chart: Nail Measurement Guide: 2d – 16d

Nail SizeLength (inches)Diameter (inches)Gauge

nail size chart

Frequently Asked Questions

Question #1. What is the nail size for framing with a nail gun?

Answer: Here is the point. Not all framing nails will fit inside your framing nail gun’s magazine. So, when you buy the nail for your gun, make sure to check the compatibility issue first.

On top of that, different nail gun shoots different nails of varying lengths. For instance, typically a brad nailer shoots nail that has the length between 0.375 inches to 1.25 inches.

So, it depends.

Ideally, you will have to select the perfect nail first based on your project, then pick the nailer gun that can shoot that particular nail.

Question #2. What is the perfect nail size of 2×4 framing?

Answer: 16d is the ideal nail size for 2×4 framing.

Different Types of Framing Nails

Final Words

Let’s recap!

In this nail size for framing articles, I have gone through the different nail sizes mentioning their standard designations.

I specifically mentioned their length, diameter, and gauge so that you get the whole idea before buying any of them.

Moreover, I also pointed out the commonly used nail size for framing and described their application.

I’m sure all this information will help you to choose the perfect nail size out of many for framing.

It’s your call now.

Comment below if you think I have anything more for the asking.

2 thoughts on “Nail Sizes for Framing: What Size Nails Do You Need for Framing”

  1. Hey John,
    Fantastic guide on framing nail sizes.

    Before using any nail, we all need to know its size and usage. This article consists of everything about nail sizes — a helpful guide for beginners.

    Off to share.


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