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In general, nails are made to hold things in place. But, based on the material you are hammering them into, there are better nails for the job than others. There are also better sizes. Most nails come in a range of width and length. Common nails are available in lengths from an inch to six inches. In general, you want the nail long enough to drive through the objects you are fastening together, without the end of the nail coming through the opposite side.

Here is a list of different types of nails, followed by tips on different hammering techniques.
a.. Common Nail - a general purpose nail for construction work
b.. Box Nail - lighter nail, used for thin wood
c.. Wire Nail - smallest version of the common nail
d.. Drywall Nail - secures wall panels
e.. Finishing Nail - used for finishing work because the head is small and sinks beneath the surface; used for cabinets or areas where you want nails to be painted over and not seen
f.. Casing Nail - a heavier version of the finishing nail, can be used outdoors
g.. Wire brad - small nail used for molding, like the finishing nail, the top sinks in
h.. Aluminum Roofing Nail - for metal or plastic roofing, has a plastic washer for watertight seal
i.. Roofing Nail - used for roofs because of its extra large head to hold down shingles; also usually has a coating to resist water
j.. Masonry Nail - this is the hardest of nails, made of steel to hammer in concrete
k.. Double-headed Nail - used for project where nails will be removed later; great for overhead work, so nails can be seen, then removed
l.. Cut Nail - this is the only nail without a sharp end; it's used on flooring
m.. Tacks - these short sharp nails are used to hold carpet or fabric in place

Nails stay in place best when hammered in on an angle. If you are driving them into a joint, drive the nails in facing one another. If you are driving nails into wood, stagger the nails. If you line them in a row, the wood is more likely to split.

As long as you follow these simple tips, and select the proper nail, your hammering job should last.