The performance of fasteners in wood is primarily determined by three factors: the fastener metal and any coating, chemical composition of the wood and the environment they live in.

Galvanizing adds rust resistance to carbon steel. Galvanized fasteners and many woods work well together outdoors. Salt air, high humidity and industrial air pollution may eventually cause a breakdown of the zinc to allow rust and bleeding.

Some woods contain chemicals that react with certain metals to produce a chemical precipitate. Redwood and cedar contain tannin which reacts with zinc galvanizing producing brown to black stains. The natural acidity of some woods can cause metal deterioration. The chemical composition of woods may change with the addition of chemical preservatives and fire retardants which contain salts that can destroy certain fasteners.

Common sense and experience will dictate the proper fastener in most applications. Really tough conditions may call for aluminum or stainless steel fasteners. Special, unusual or untried applications may require consultation with your lumber dealer. Local or national building associates, wood product manufacturers or engineers at your insurance company may provide good information at no cost.

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