Tag Archives: nails for nail guns

Tap…Tap…Tap…Nail Guns!


Growing up as the son (and nephew) of six framing contractor brothers, I drove probably a few more nails by hand than the average teenager.

My Dad was big on any technological improvements which allowed for more efficient use of time. As such, we were probably one of the first framing companies to use air nailers. Back in the day, the nail guns were both bulky and heavy, but they were a time saver.

Even with the nail guns we had, joist hangers still had to be nailed by hand. In my case, my left thumb always seemed to develop a bulls-eye when it came to trying to drive those 1-1/2 inch long nails.

One of the few items not supplied in Hansen Pole Buildings kit packages, are nails which would normally be driven by a nail gun. Why not? Too many different choices of nail guns – nails in coils, nails in strips, different angles on the nails.

Last week, we had a client who questioned why it was we did not send nails to be driven in by hand for the joist hangers, as (according to him) there is no nail gun which will shoot them. Well, I am happy to say, there is a gun which drives joist hanger nails.

In most cases joist hangers are being attached to a single ply 1-1/2” thick member. Because of this, the nails to attach the hangers need to be short enough in length, to not protrude out the other side – which would pose a hazard.

Not just any 1-1/2 inch long nail will work either, as sufficient diameter needs to be provided to keep the nail from shearing off when under load. Typically, the equivalent of a 10d common diameter (.148”) nail will adequately carry most loads. In order to prevent rust streaking, in the event of rain, snow or high humidity, it is recommended to use only galvanized fasteners.

Since my teenaged years of thumb smashing, innovators have developed nail guns which should keep people like me from ever having to drive a joist hanger nail again. These metal connector guns are nothing short of amazing. They are slightly different than most traditional nail guns in the way the nails sit prior to the gun being fired. The nail point actually sticks out of the end of the gun so the nail can be “placed” in the hanger hole prior to firing. Basically, put the gun up to the hole, feel it’s inside the hole and pull the trigger! The guns will even sink the nail fully into high strength engineered lumber products like LVLs (Laminated Veneer Lumber) or paralams.

Whether buying a gun, or renting, things to look for – a compact design which will fit between joists which are spaced 12 inches on center; low nail lockout to prevent “dry” fires; safety system to prevent misfires; exposed nail tip design which fires in the hole for faster, more precise nailing; and the ability to drive 1-1/2 inch paper tape collated metal connector nails .148” in diameter.

These nail guns can be used for joist hangers, hurricane clips, steel strapping, rafter tie connections and more. This is a tool which will easily pay for itself in time savings and thumb nails!