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


Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by John Patterson

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

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

To do so, knowing the different size nails 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 size nails, their types, and applications for your framing projects.

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

What Size Nails Do You 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, and gauge, we designate the common nails for framing with different names. They 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 the symbol for a penny. “d” stands for a denarius, a Roman coin similar to the penny. It is believed that 2d needs 2 English pennies to buy 100 nails for framing; that’s why it is designated 2d.

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

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 nails used in framing.

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

Common-size nails for framing 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 shanks; hence, they are 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 will give you some ideas about the most commonly used nail sizes for framing (i.e., 16d, 10d, 8d, 6d).

16d Nail Lengths/16d Nail Size

16d Nail Length/Nail Size

So, first of all – what are 16d nails, and what are the types of 16d nails?

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

I haven’t told you about the exact length, diameter, and gauge of 16d nails.

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

So, how big are the 16-penny nails? What is the diameter? And What gauge are the 16-penny nails?

Here is the answer (two types of 16d nails):

Common 16d nails –

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

Box 16d nails –

  • Length: 3.5 inches.
  • Diameter of the nail: 0.135 inches.
  • Gauge: 10

16d nails are the most commonly found (diameter of 0.162 inches). These nails are the best for construction-related work mostly.

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10d Nail Length/Nail Diameter/10d Nail Size

10d Nail Lenght/Nail Diameter/Nail Size

Like the 16d framing nails I discussed earlier, I will also answer the following significant questions for 10d nails.

How long are the 10d nails? What is the diameter of the 10d nails? And what gauge is a 10-penny nail?

Of course, I will answer the measurement for common and box nails.

For common 10d nails –

  • Length: 3 inches.
  • Diameter of the nail: 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, and attaching flat board faces.

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8d Nail Length/8d Nail Size

8d nails

You guessed it right.

Let’s get busy finding the answer to 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, and sheathing.

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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

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Metal Anchors

Metal Anchors

Well, these are not the best nails I’ve talked about 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. The 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 –

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

Nail SizeLength (inches)Diameter (inches)Gauge

nail size chart

Frequently Asked Questions

Question #1. What are the nail sizes for framing with a nail gun?

Answer: Here is the point. Not all framing nails will fit inside your framing nail guns magazine. So, when you buy the nail for your nail gun, 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 a length between 0.375 inches to 1.25 inches.

So, it depends.

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

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

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

Different Types of Framing Nails

Final Words

Let’s recap!

In this framing nail size article, I have reviewed the different nail sizes that mention 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 common best nails used for framing and described their application.

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

Now it’s time to choose the right nail.

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

2 thoughts on “Nail Size 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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