Pneumatic and electric powered nail guns make it possible for you to do carpentry work faster, and do carpentry work with less strain on you.
Many people do not realize that using a nail gun instead of a hammer allows you to nail boards in older homes without damaging older plaster, or other elements of the home.
The problem is that there are many different nail guns and many different nail sizes, and which one do you need for what purpose?
We asked our expert carpenters if they would prefer to use a 16 gauge or an 18 gauge nailer for baseboard installation. They gave us the following information.
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16 or 18 Gauge Nailer for Baseboard
Nail Gun Basics
A nail gun uses the power of air or electricity to force a nail out of the gun and into the board or item you want it to attach to. Nail guns are effective at driving a 2 inch nail into anything that it is pointed at. Remember that the nail gun can shoot a nail into you and can cause serious injury. You should always be careful when using this type of equipment.
The nails that are used in these guns are categorized by how thick they are. The categorization represents the larger numbers as being the smallest nails. The 18 gauge nail is actually smaller than the 16 gauge nail.
16 Gauge Nail Gun
The 16 gauge nail may be as much as two and one half inches in length. You would use this nail if you were nailing up thick trim. Many carpenters simply use the traditional 15 gauge nail when they are putting up thick trim. The 16 gauge nailer is not that much thinner and the larger nail gets a firmer hold than the smaller nail.
18 Gauge Nail Gun
The 18 gauge is consider to be the perfect trim gun. The 18 gauge nails are small enough to be used in fine detail work like furniture repair, and they are thick enough to be used in most trim applications. Most of the 18 gauge nail guns can shoot nails that are up to 1 ¼” in length.
You can purchase an 18 gauge nailer that is capable of shooting a 2 inch nail. The 18 gauge nailer that shoots the longer nails is a little more expensive than the other nailers, but you are then capable of using it to hold thicker boards in place, like the common baseboard.
Crown molding is the narrowest and thinnest of all trims that you apply on or around the walls of your home.
Baseboards are often fashioned from 1” x 4” boards. Some baseboards are done out of 1” x 6” boards, but the 1” x 4” is the most common baseboard size. The average 18 gauge nail gun shoots a nail that is 1 ¼” long so it is perfectly long enough to go through the baseboard, but the longer 2” nails can go through the baseboard and draw it up tightly against the surface area of the wall.
When you are nailing trim into position it helps if you cut a small block of wood that you can use to hold pressure on the edge of the baseboard so that it lies flat against the flooring and does not rise up or buckle. The longer 2” nails can help hold the baseboard more firmly so it cannot warp or rise. The thicker 16 gauge nail will grab more “meat” when it is nailed into the board and this will allow the baseboard to be more secure in its position.
16 gauge nails are thicker and the thicker nail often holds a board more tightly in place. The 18 gauge nail is thinner and is less likely to cause the trim board to break or be damaged when it is nailed into the board.
The experts agree that when it comes to nailing up baseboards the 16 gauge and the 18 gauge nail guns can both do an effective job of holding the trim boards in proper position.
If the board you are using is not perfectly straight then the 16 gauge nail will be able to hold it tighter and not allow the warped portion of the board to effect the outcome of your trim.