Nail guns have recently become more affordable. The lower prices of these items and the fact that there are now many nail guns that are completely electric has increased the number of homeowners who own them.
The increase in non-professional carpentry experts owning nail guns has also increased the number of people who ask “Do I need a specialized nailer, or can you use a siding nailer or roofing nailer for other purposes”?
In order to answer the debate of siding nailer vs roofing nailer, you have to closely examine each type of nail gun and discover what they are designed for, and what other things they can do.
Siding Nailer Vs Roofing Nailer
Your siding on your house is not going to ever be as thick as a 2 x 4” or 2 x 6”. The majority of all house sidings are less than one inch thick. You have some sidings that are almost two inches thick, but those sidings are rarely used.
You do not need your siding to be nailed in place with a nail that is three times longer than the siding is thick. You want the nail to be about one half to three-quarters of an inch longer than the thickness of the siding you are installing.
The coil siding nailer is going to shoot nails that are shorter than the nails that can be dispensed by a roofing nailer. Most siding nails are between 1 ¼” and 2 ½” long.
Most siding nails are not as thick as the common roofing nail that is used. The siding is thinner so the thinner nails are less likely to cause any damages when it is forced through the material. Thicker roofing nails are apt to split the siding material, and that would leave you buying more siding to replace the broken pieces.
The siding nail gun is actually lighter than the framing gun is. The framing gun has to be able to drive with more force so it is heavier and bulkier. Most siding nailers weigh around five pounds. Most roofing nailers weigh between 8 and 9 pounds.
Siding nailers are used when you are hanging materials like fiber cement and some wooden sidings. If you are installing vinyl siding, you hang it with specific attachments instead of nailing it. The vinyl material expands and contracts so it can pull free from nails, or buckle when it does not have the ability to expand properly.
This type of roofing gun is often referred to as a coil framing nailer. They are also called a framing gun. They look just like the siding nail gun but there are subtle differences in their capabilities.
These roofing nail guns can shoot larger nails and longer nails. They can shoot nails that are over 3 ½” in length. When you are framing a house you may have to nail 2 x 4’s, 2 x 6’s, 2 x 8’s, or 4 x 4’s, or other size boards together. When you are attaching thicker boards you have to have a gun that can dispense longer nails so the nail is able to get a good grip on the board.
You do not want just a small piece of the nail to catch one of the boards you are fastening together. You want the nail to go far enough into each board so that the tensile strength of the connection is the greatest that it can be.
You also want to have thicker nails when you are attaching boards that are going to hold up the weight of other materials. Thinner nails could break under the pressure of the added weight of other materials. You want strength and durability.
There are differences between a nail gun specifically designed to attach siding and a nail gun that is specifically designed to frame the roof of a structure. Does that mean that you can never use a roofing nailer to attach siding? No, it does not. If you have no other alternative then you can use the roofing gun to do the siding application. You should use the shorter nails that your framing tool can shoot, and use a light hand when you are doing the work.
Can you use a siding gun to do framing work? Probably not, the nails for the siding gun are simply not as strong and not as long. When framing these things matter a lot.