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What Are Masonry Nails?

C.L. Rease
C.L. Rease

Masonry nails are a a hardened nail designed to be driven into concrete or the mortar used to hold together bricks or cement blocks. The hardened steel shaft of the nail allows it to be driven into the harder materials without bending or dulling during installation. This lends masonry nails to a wide variety of installations ranging from attaching plywood subfloor to securing carpet tack strips before carpet installation. All installations center around two types of masonry nails that are designed specifically for the type of material attaching to the masonry product.

Cap nails have a large diameter head designed to hold softer materials to a concrete surface. The shaft of masonry cap nails is thin and tapers to a fine point to pierce soft materials easily without damaging the nail on its way to the masonry product. Keeping the nail perpendicular to the concrete during installation or the point of the nail shaft will hit the masonry at an angle and bend or cause the surface of the masonry to break away from the rest of the masonry product. Hitting the hit forcefully against the surface material will cause the material to compress and lead to damaging or weakening of the material's surface.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Fluted nails have a thicker shaft than cap nails, and the shaft contains numerous flutes or ridges that allow the nail to grab into masonry. Each flute cuts into the masonry as the nail is driven into the material, causing small grooves to form in the masonry. This gives the nail extra strength and keeps it from pulling easily from the concrete. These nails are commonly found on carpet tack strips and are preset in construction accessories designed to mount to masonry walls. Another type of masonry nail drives into masonry without manually swinging a hammer.

Power-driven masonry nails use either a thin shaft life cap nails or thick shafts like fluted nails. Both pneumatic and powder-actuated tools are used to drive power-driven masonry into the surface of concrete, but can cause damage to softer mortar sitting between bricks or blocks. A user operating a power tool to install masonry nails should exercise caution to avoid injury from flying concrete or nails that do not fully set when shot. Matching a nail type to the conditions and material type ensures the installed nails provide adequate holding strength for an installed material.

Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- Masonry nails probably would work for your counter top installation project, but aren't necessary unless you are attaching the materials to some type of concrete or stone surface. Basic, common nails will probably work just as well.

When you install your kitchen counter tops, chances are that you will also be using some type of screws to hold them into place. Since screws are ribbed, they hold better, and are good options for heavy home repair materials.

I think that the best way for your to get the right nails or screws for your counter tops is to check with the sales representative where you purchase your materials. He or she will be able to evaluate your project and give you sound advice about whether nails, screws, or a combination of both will work best for the materials you will be using.


Would using masonry nails be a good idea for installing kitchen counter tops? I need nails that are durable and able to hold heavy materials.

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