what type of fasteners to use with pressure treated wood


When it comes to building outdoor structures, pressure treated wood is a popular and practical choice due to its resistance to rot and insect damage. However, not all fasteners are created equal when it comes to working with this type of wood.

In this article, we'll go over what type of fasteners to use with pressure treated wood and why it's important to choose the right ones. We'll also cover some tips and tricks for working with pressure treated wood to ensure that your outdoor projects turn out strong and sturdy.

Why Does it Matter What Type of Fasteners You Use?

Using the wrong type of fastener with pressure treated wood can lead to serious problems down the line. Because this type of wood is treated with chemicals to resist rot and insect damage, it can corrode certain types of metal. This can cause the fastener to fail, leading to instability and potential safety hazards.

In addition, pressure treated wood is often used in outdoor structures where it will be exposed to the elements. This means that it will be subject to moisture and temperature fluctuations, which can cause the wood to expand and contract. Using the wrong type of fasteners can lead to warping or splitting of the wood, which can compromise the integrity of the structure.

What Type of Fasteners Should You Use?

When working with pressure treated wood, it's best to choose fasteners that are specifically designed for this type of wood. Here are some options to consider:

1. Hot-Dipped Galvanized Nails: These nails are coated in zinc, which provides a layer of protection against corrosion. Look for nails that are designated as "hot-dipped galvanized" rather than simply "galvanized," as the hot-dipping process provides a thicker, more durable coating.

2. Stainless Steel Nails: Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, making it an excellent choice for outdoor projects. Look for nails with a high level of corrosion resistance, such as 316-grade stainless steel.

3. Coated Deck Screws: Deck screws are designed to hold up to the rigors of outdoor use, and many are coated with materials like ceramic, epoxy, or polymer to provide additional protection against corrosion. Look for screws that are specifically labeled as being compatible with pressure treated wood.

4. Structural Screws: These heavy-duty screws are designed to hold up to the demands of structural projects, making them a good choice for building outdoor structures like decks and pergolas. Look for screws that are designated as being compatible with pressure treated wood.

5. Bolts and Washers: In some cases, it may be necessary to use bolts and washers to secure pressure treated wood. Look for bolts and washers that are made from materials like stainless steel or zinc-coated steel to provide protection against corrosion.

Tips for Working with Pressure Treated Wood

In addition to choosing the right type of fasteners, there are some other tips and tricks to keep in mind when working with pressure treated wood:

1. Wear Protective Gear: Pressure treated wood can contain chemicals that are harmful if ingested or inhaled, so it's important to wear gloves, eye protection, and a mask when working with it.

2. Pre-Drill Holes: Because pressure treated wood can be prone to splitting, it's a good idea to pre-drill holes before inserting nails or screws.

3. Use the Right Size Fasteners: Make sure that the nails, screws, or bolts you use are the right size for the job. Using too-small fasteners can compromise the strength of the structure, while using too-large fasteners can cause splitting.

4. Seal Cut Ends: If you need to cut pressure treated wood, be sure to apply a sealer to the cut ends to prevent moisture from entering the wood and causing it to rot.

5. Allow the Wood to Dry: Pressure treated wood can be very wet when you first purchase it, so it's important to allow it to dry out for a few days before using it in your project. This can help prevent warping or splitting down the line.


Working with pressure treated wood can be a great way to build strong, durable outdoor structures that will stand the test of time. By choosing the right type of fasteners and following some simple tips, you can ensure that your projects turn out sturdy and safe. So the next time you take on an outdoor woodworking project, make sure to choose the right fasteners for the job!


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