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Stainless Steel Fasteners 101

Learn about Stainless Steel fasteners and why they are the best choice for exterior projects.

No matter what project you’re tackling, you need to make sure you’ve got the right fastener for the job. Sure, you want the correct screw for the application, but it’s also critical to consider what the fastener is made of. Without a doubt, Stainless Steel is the best option for any installation as it offers the best protection against corrosion and will hold up over the project’s lifetime.

What makes Stainless Steel so great? We’ll get a bit technical here, but Stainless Steel has a “passive” oxide layer on its surface that prevents staining and rusting of the surface when exposed to oxygen. The elemental makeup of Stainless Steel fasteners also lends to their strength, hardness, and ductility, making them both high-performing and aesthetically pleasing.

Two common alloys are under the Stainless Steel category: 305 and 316. Let’s dive into the differences between the two and the applications for each type.

305 Stainless Steel

305 Stainless Steel offers high corrosion resistance in various outdoor projects, protecting against corrosion far better than a standard exterior coated carbon. That means it will keep your project safe and long-lasting while providing excellent aesthetics.

305 is required for exterior structures 3,000 feet to 10 miles from a saltwater shoreline. It is also an excellent alloy option for installing pressure treated lumber, PVC, composite, and capped composite deck boards no matter where you are. 305 Stainless Steel fasteners are widely available nationwide, so you can use these fasteners for any project.

316 Stainless Steel*

The best of the best, there is no better alloy for exterior projects than 316 Stainless Steel, which offers the highest corrosion resistance possible. 316 Stainless Steel is required in any coastal, marine, or waterway area within 3,000 feet of saltwater and is recommended within a 10-mile reach to combat aerosolized saltwater. They are also recommended in a variety of applications beyond saltwater exposure:

  • Structures near swimming pools where the surface is exposed to chlorine
  • Decks and docks that are continuously exposed to fresh water
  • Agricultural environments that deal with chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides while also facing highly corrosive animal waste and frequent cleaning treatments
  • Decks, patios, and structures that will face wood strippers, harsh cleaning agents, or ice-melting chemicals
  • Installations of cedar, redwood, or hardwood decking where tannin release caused by carbon fasteners may cause staining and streaking
  • Multi-level decks and structures in mountainous regions that require more flexibility and durability

If you want to install the following best practices and never have to worry about your fasteners holding up, choose 316 Stainless Steel for every exterior job. There are a lot of Stainless Steel fasteners on the market to choose from, but CAMO offers a comprehensive line of Stainless Steel fasteners, including screws and hand drive nails that start fast and hold strong, and collated nails to make quick work of framing projects.

Whether you are building a coastal deck, constructing a project on a farm, or working on any exterior structure, Stainless Steel fasteners will help you build better in every environment.

*Stainless steel is not corrosion-proof; it is corrosion-resistant. While it is the best alloy choice for fasteners in highly corrosive environments with strong chlorides, such as saltwater regions, pools, and areas where deicer is used, staining can still occur. It is important to regularly wash the installed screws to keep the heads and screw recesses clean from salt deposits and other residue.