Fasteners are a small, yet important, part of any construction project, and deciding which type to use is a big decision. Steel and stainless-steel fasteners both have their own pluses and minuses. To help you choose, let’s compare these two types of fasteners, as well as BECK’s SCRAIL® nail screw fasteners, so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase them for your next construction job.
What Makes Up Steel and Stainless-Steel Fasteners?
Before we compare the fasteners, it’s important to understand what goes into their individual makeup. Steel fasteners are made from carbon steel, which is a combination of iron and carbon. They are typically coated with zinc, cadmium, or other materials to enhance their corrosion resistance. Steel fasteners come in various grades, ranging from low carbon (Grade 2) to high carbon (Grade 8). The higher the grade, the stronger and more durable the fastener.
On the other hand, stainless steel fasteners are made from an alloy of iron, chromium, and nickel. The presence of chromium makes stainless steel highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation, while nickel adds strength and toughness. Stainless steel fasteners come in different grades, with the most common being 18-8 (also known as 304), which contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Other grades include 316, which has higher corrosion resistance, and 410, which is magnetic and heat treatable.
Comparing Fastener Factors
Now that you understand the differences in their compositions, deciding between fasteners can be tricky. Here are some factors to consider:
- Corrosion resistance: Steel fasteners are prone to rust and corrosion, while stainless steel fasteners are highly resistant to corrosion, making them ideal for outdoor applications or any project where corrosion is a concern.
- Strength and durability: Steel fasteners come in various grades, with Grade 8 being the strongest and most durable. However, stainless steel is a harder and tougher material than steel, making it more resistant to wear, deformation, and fatigue. Additionally, stainless steel fasteners maintain their strength and properties at higher temperatures than steel fasteners, making them suitable for high-temperature applications. (If you’re interested in taking your fastener strength to an even higher level, consider BECK’s patented Diamond Coating. Click HERE to learn more!)
- Aesthetics: Steel fasteners may have a dull, grayish appearance that may not complement the overall look of the project. Coatings can enhance their appearance, but they don’t compare to the elegance of stainless-steel fasteners. Stainless steel fasteners have a shiny, silver-like finish that adds a touch of class and sophistication to the project. Additionally, stainless steel fasteners are less likely to discolor or tarnish over time.
- Cost: Steel fasteners are generally less expensive than stainless steel fasteners, but their lower cost may come at the expense of durability and corrosion resistance.
- Magnetism: Steel fasteners are magnetic, while most stainless-steel fasteners are non-magnetic, except for certain grades like 410.
- Weldability: Steel is more weldable than stainless steel, making it easier to join different components together.
The Ideal Fastener Choice: SCRAIL® Nail Screw Fasteners
Steel and stainless-steel fasteners have significant differences in their composition, physical and mechanical properties, and suitability for different applications. When choosing between them, it’s important to consider all the factors of your project. But to make your decision easier, look no further than BECK's SCRAIL® nail screw fasteners.
The innovative SCRAIL® line of nail screw fasteners combine the speed and ease of use of a nail with the strength and holding power of a screw. With the ability to be driven in twice as fast as collated screws or eight times as fast as loose screws, SCRAIL® is the versatile solution for almost all screw applications, working just like a normal nail with a conventional pneumatic nailer. Additionally, their adjustability and easy removal make them an advantageous choice over collated nails. With SCRAIL®, you can achieve approximately 80% or more of the holding power of a screw.
Plus, many of BECK’s SCRAIL® fasteners are available in both steel and stainless! So once you’ve chosen your desired fastener material, SCRAIL® nail screw fasteners have got you covered, providing a reliable and efficient solution.