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Brad or Finish nailer

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  • Brad or Finish nailer

    Hello, I am still very new to the wood working so I have a few questions. I am going to be enclosing our porch and making it into a four season room. I will be putting in car siding for the walls and the questions I have is I only own a brad nailer and was wondering if this would be good enough. I really don't want to purchase a finishing nailer for this one project. Does anyone know if there will be problems with using a brad nailer (18 ga) and not a finishing nailer (16 ga) ? Also how far off the floor should I have the first board (not sure what type of flooring we will be installing yet - hardwood/carpet) and do I put the grove or tongue side up ? thanks.

  • #2
    Really never hear of car siding. If it is tongue and groove pine run horizontal then here are my thoughts..
    The distance from the floor (anywhere around 1/2") is not as important as having the first row level unless you are running right up tight to the ceiling. If that is the case you may want to consider the ceiling height and the width of the boards so you don't end up needing a 1/2 wide piece to finish the gap at the top, it would be better to rip a bottom piece that will be hidden by baseboard as a starter strip. You may also want to make the starter strip level with the roof instead of the floor, depends on the difference between floor, ceiling and real level, it is a balancing act to end up with a finished room that looks right. The boards are installed tongue up and you nail through the tongues to hide the nails. The 18 gauge is not enough to hold the wall up on its own but if you use and adhesive (PL premium or even wood glue) it will be more than enough.


    • #3
      Thanks WBrooks, excellent tips on the starter row. I wouldn't of thought about the row that hits the ceiling until it was to late.

      Being on a budget I really (ok wife) don't want to purchase a finish nailer. As far as adhesive goes I already insulated and poly'd the walls. Could I use two brad nails on each stud (I'm not going through and sheet rock) to get the extra strength needed ?

      Does it matter on doing the side walls or end walls first - I do plan on putting a trim board in the corners ?

      One last question, if I were to purchase a finish nailer - would you recommend a nailer or stapler - pro's/con's with each ? thanks again.


      • #4
        Just a thought, you could use your brad nailer to tack the panel in place and then resort to that ancient method of fastening, using a hammer, finishing nails, and a nail set! Certainly a lot cheaper then buying a second nailer.



        • #5
          Why not buy a 15ga angled finish nailer and use it for your project. A new name brand nailer will run you in the neghborhood of $200. Once the project is done, you could probably sell the nailer very quickly for around $150.

          Or, Harbor Freight currently has their 15ga angled nailer on sale for around $80. For $80 you just might want to keep it for future jobs.
          I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


          • #6
            I wouldn't use the 18 gauge to hold up the wall if it was me just because I don't think it has enough holding power (nails too short and heads too small) but try it for yourself. Wack a piece on the wall and see how hard it is to pull it off. Consider the stresses that wood puts on the fasteners as it moves seasonally. I would find the $ for a proper nailer.
            If all the walls are a fairly even height you can start on any wall but I would layout the entire room first to position your starter rows. This is one place where I like to have a laser, project a beam that is level around the entire room and layout is a snap, even the cheep lasers do a good job here they are just a bit harder to setup accurately


            • #7
              Thanks for all the great info. I think I'm going to be looking at a finish nailer. I know the Rigid finish nailers are new to the market but does anyone have feed back on them yet.


              • #8
                Kudo63, Great to hear from another Minnesotan. If your ceiling is level, I strongly reccomend starting from the ceiling and working down. (the tongues would be down, in that case) By starting from the top, you won't end up with a small piece for a top row, it will be easier to put pressure to straighten a curved piece, (a lever and a piece of wood works wonders) and by leaving the bottom piece about 3/8" off the floor, it is easy to get the last piece in without ripping off part of the groove. If the ceiling isn't level, level a line around the room and scribe the first (top) row to the ceiling and go down from there. HTH Jim


                • #9
                  Ok so I think I'm going to get a finish nailer but I seen recommendations of 16ga and 15ga. Right now I'm only planning on using it for walls. My thinking is that the 16ga would be more useful for other projects like molding. However right now I can get a very good used porter cable DA250B for about $110 - is this a fair price.


                  • #10
                    That is an EXCELLENT price on a DA250B, I'd jump on that immediately.

                    For your carsiding project, the 15ga would also be a much better choice than a 16ga. The 15ga finish nails are much closer to actual nails when it comes to holding power. The 16ga are more like brads than nails.

                    With both a 15ga and an 18ga gun you'll be able to do most light nailing jobs. On the other hand, you'll be limited to what you can do if you have an 18ga gun and a 16ga gun. That of course is JMHO.
                    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


                    • #11
                      Thanks BadgerDave, I purchased that nailer off of ebay and should have it shortly. Says it's 2 months old and mint condition - hope they are right.