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18 ga. brad nailer?


Brakeman's Avatar
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01-07-06, 03:26 PM   #1  
18 ga. brad nailer?

I am installing MDF speed base and FJ 445 casing. Will an 18 ga. brad nailer be enough to hold the molding?

 
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chandler's Avatar
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01-07-06, 04:40 PM   #2  
Probably not, since the longest brad you can drive with it is 1 5/8", and you have to go through 1/2" molding, 1/2" sheetrock, it doesn't leave much for a bite into the substructure. On the other hand the 15 gauge nailers can take up to 2 1/2" nails. A little more expensive, but better for the job.

 
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01-07-06, 05:26 PM   #3  
Many 18 gauge brad nailer will accept up to a 2 1/8" nail. If this is the case with yours, it should work fine. But as chandler said, if you are working with 1 5/8 nails or shorter, you need a bigger nail, and perhaps a bigger gun. I always use an 18 ga nailer for casing- 1 1/4" nails to pin the casing to the jamb, then 2 1/8" nails to pin the casing to the trimmer stud.

16 and 15 ga nails will have more holding power in addition to being used in guns that have the ability to shoot longer nails. I generally use a 15 ga nailer on 3/4" thick baseboard, unless it's thin baseboard, in which case the 18 ga will be fine, provided you use 2" nails to get you thru the drywall and into at least 1" of framing.

 
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01-07-06, 05:49 PM   #4  
I forgot about the pin drivers that use the longer nail. Likewise I do believe a larger longer nail will hold up better in the long run on molding.

 
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01-08-06, 06:10 AM   #5  
If your 18 ga nailer won't shoot a 2" nail, I'd pick up a 15 or 16 ga finish nailer instead of an 18 ga that will go longer. The larger nails are going to give you a better hold, but it's not enough to require a new gun if yours will go that long.

 
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01-08-06, 03:45 PM   #6  
15 ga. vs. 16 ga.

Thanks for the info. My next question is 15 ga. vs. 16 ga. I can buy a 16 ga. 2 1/2" nailer for much less than the 15 ga. shooting the same length.
Does the small difference in gauge make that much difference?

 
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01-08-06, 04:11 PM   #7  
When deciding what gauge to buy, it's not just the size of the nail, but the style of the gun as well. Straight finish nailers are usually 16 ga while Angled finish nailers are usually 15 ga. So forget the gauge of the nail for a moment, and think about the type of nailer you want.

An angled nailer will enable you to nail into corners a lot better since the nail magazine is out of the way. With a straight nailer, if you try to nail baseboard, for instance, the magazine will hit the base if you try to angle a nail into the corner- you'd have to tip it vertically before angling it into the corner. Same thing applies for nailing crown moulding.

Some guys don't mind the straight nailer... I suppose they have gotten used to using them, and they like that it leaves a bit smaller nail hole to fill. Personally, I prefer the 15 ga angle nailer, even if it costs a little bit more.

I think the Hardware > Tools & Power Machinery forum has a few threads on this topic as it seems to be one that comes up over and over again.

 
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