Clout nails, sometimes called felt nails or roofing nails, are one of the most commonly used types of nails. They usually have a short shank and a large, flat head and can be used for a wide variety of exterior and interior woodworking and building purposes, like furniture repair, cabinet making, fastening roof shingles, as well as box and crate construction. One common use for these nails is to fasten sheet metal to wood, for example when metal is used for siding or roofing. This type of nail is available in a range of lengths and sizes, and in various materials, like aluminum, copper, iron, and stainless steel. Clout nails are an old nail type that has been used in woodworking and construction for centuries.
There are different types of roofing nails. Some are smooth, while others have annular rings on the shank, making them more resistant to being pulled out. The ringed type of roofing nail is commonly recommended for roofing and exterior siding applications, because they make the construction more resistant to high winds. Depending on the size of the head, clout nails are classified as either standard head or extra large head.
These kinds of nails are used for both indoor and outdoor construction purposes. So-called wood roofing nails are commonly used for indoor construction projects like making and repairing furniture, building cabinets, making counter-tops, and attaching insulation boards. They can also be used to attach thin siding and paneling or when installing ceilings and partitions.
For exterior construction purposes, it is recommended to use nails that are resistant to rust and corrosion, like copper clout nails or those made of aluminum or zinc-dipped, or galvanized, steel. For roofing applications, two different kinds of felt nails can be used. Smaller nails, commonly 0.5-1 inches (12-25 mm) long, are called felt nails and are used to attach roofing felt. Longer roofing nails, typically 2-3 inches (50-75 mm) long, are used to affix different types of roofing shingles or metal roofing.
The term clout nail is an old one and has been used for centuries. Originally, "clout" referred to a flat, thin piece of iron, similar in shape to a washer that was fastened to the wooden parts of a cart, commonly the axletree, or a tool, like a plowshare. Clout nails were commonly used to fasten the metal to the wood, in order to strengthen the wood and protect it from wear.