Consider stainless steel fasteners | Pro Construction Guide

It’s time to consider stainless steel fasteners

Using stainless steel fasteners reduces replacement costs

Using stainless steel fasteners reduces replacement costs and maintains the appearance and life of the project.

Are the fasteners you use as good as the material you’re installing? When a contractor is asked to use a better quality material, for example siding, roofing or decking, the customer expects the fastener to match.

Unfortunately, too often the fasteners chosen are below the quality of the product being installed, as when “lifetime” siding is installed using five-year nails. Or if you’re installing a superior roofing system with electro galvanized roofing nails, you could see rust in less than two years in some areas.

PrimeGuard MAX stainless steel fasteners are designed specifically for use on decks, fences, roofing, siding, trim and other outdoor projects. All PrimeGuard MAX premium fasteners have gone through rigorous testing and monitoring, and offer a lifetime guarantee against rust and corrosion.

“Our customers have been asking us for a stainless steel fastener they can count on to withstand the outside elements,” says Michael Mcfarland, product manager for Grip-Rite. “It makes sense that a homeowner who pays for higher-end siding, decking, roofing and trim products designed to last longer gets a fastener that offers equal performance. Plus, a quality project attests to the quality of the builder.”

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is solid, not plated.

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is solid, not plated, and is immune to the dangers of chipping and scratching that can leave coated fasteners susceptible to corrosion.

Why stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is solid, not plated, and is immune to the dangers of chipping and scratching that can leave coated fasteners susceptible to corrosion. Typical stainless steels are alloys of iron and other elements (nickel, molybdenum, copper, titanium, silicon, aluminum and sulfur) added to improve corrosion resistance and workability, and to vary material strength.

Stainless steel always includes a minimum of 12 percent chromium for greater corrosion resistance. This mix is important because as the chromium is exposed to oxygen, it becomes a corrosion-resistant film. Nickel also resists corrosion, and stainless steels made with molybdenum, such as Type #316 Stainless Steel, are even more durable.

Using stainless steel fasteners reduces replacement costs and maintains the appearance and life of the project. Grip-Rite PrimeGuard MAX stainless steel fasteners are guaranteed to last the lifetime of the project and cost less than 2 percent of the total project cost. The product line includes stainless steel nails, screws and collated nails, available in a vast array of styles and sizes.

Makers of high-quality siding are recommending stainless steel fasteners.

Makers of high-quality siding, trim and building materials have seen low-quality fasteners undermine their products and are recommending stainless steel fasteners.

Recommended by the best

Makers of high-quality siding, trim and building materials have seen low-quality fasteners undermine their products and are recommending stainless steel fasteners.

For example, the fastening requirements for James Hardie fiber cement siding say, “Stainless steel fasteners are recommended when installing James Hardie products near the ocean, large bodies of water or in very humid climates.”

The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) and Southern Pine Council also recommend stainless steel fasteners. As does the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau: “Each Certi-label shake or shingle shall be applied with two fasteners. Construction nails must be stainless steel Type 316 in locations within 15 miles of salt water. For locations outside the salt water zone – nails must be stainless steel, Type 304, Type 316, or hot-dipped galvanized. Stainless steel nails offer the highest degree of corrosion resistance.”

In agreement, the installation instructions for MiraTec treated exterior composite trim say, “For installations near oceans, large bodies of water or in high humidity climates, CMI recommends using stainless steel fasteners on MiraTec trim. For these installations, do not use electro-galvanized fasteners, due to poor long term rust resistance.”

And Azek PVC Decking installation guidelines say “Due to the durability of AZEK Deck products, a high-quality fastener is recommended that meets the following specifications: stainless steel, minimum screw size: #7, minimum length:  inches. For salt water coastal applications, we suggest using the above minimum fastener requirements in Type 316 stainless steel.”

Why other fasteners corrode

Fastener corrosion is a chemical reaction between a fastener and chemicals in the wood or the environment that causes metals to wear away. Galvanic corrosion is a reaction between two unlike metals. When dissimilar metals come into contact, galvanic action occurs and the zinc, for example, on the galvanized fastener will corrode.

Galvanic action also occurs when tannic acids (redwood, cedar, teak and other insect- and rot-resistant woods contain relatively high amounts) are released from within the wood and rise to the surface around the fastener head.

Other types of corrosions include: general surface, filiform, stress cracking and microbial and are caused by things like moisture, heat, ocean-salt air, de-icing salts, bacteria, friction and stress.

A corroding fastener results in a blue-black stain that will worsen with continued exposure.

–By Pam Sturgess


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