Do’s and Don’ts of Using Brad Nails for Exterior Use Around the Home
As soon as the weather warms up and the sun starts shining, it’s time to grab your nail gun and a box of nails to start working on those outdoor projects you’ve been putting off. No matter how eager you are to take advantage of the perfect outdoor weather, it’s important to understand the basics of outdoor nails.
Choosing brad nails for exterior use is extremely common, but brads are not always the optimal choice. You might also consider finish nails to fulfill your craving for outdoor DIY projects. Whether you choose brads or finish nails, follow these do’s and don’ts getting too crazy with that nail gun of yours.
Do: Use Brad Nails for Delicate Wood Working
Brad nails are the ideal choice if you’re working with delicate materials. This is because brads are much smaller in diameter than your run-of-the-mill nail. The thinner gauge of a brad makes it the ideal choice for working with lightweight trim. Because the head of a brad is very small, almost nonexistent, there’s a good chance you won’t need wood putty to cover the nail’s head. The small head also reduces the chance of splitting wood materials on impact.
Don’t: Use Brad Nails for Hardwood and Plywood
We’ve already covered when to use brad nails (for delicate woodworking), but using brads isn’t right for all outdoor projects. If your working with hardwood or plywood, avoid using brads. Brad nails are not designed for a powerful hold, so you’ll need a sturdier nail when working with sturdier materials. Finish nails are better suited for this kind of work, specifically galvanized stainless steel finish nails that can resist corrosion.
Do: Review Brad Nailer Safety Techniques
No matter what type of nail and nail gun/hammer you choose to use, always go over the proper safety techniques beforehand. When using a nail gun, it is important to read the manual, wear safety goggles, and even ear protection if you feel that it’s necessary. Always be aware of your surroundings while using a nail gun or hammer; recent hospital studies show that nail gun injuries are extremely common.
DoItYourself says that on top of wearing safety gear, “never carry a nail gun against your body. An accidental trigger could send nails flying and cause serious injury. Be very careful to disconnect the nail gun and carry it away from your body when you climb ladders. Never touch the trigger when you carry the nail gun. Make sure it is switched off, unplugged and the safety catch is in place before you transport the tool.”
Don’t: Forget the Importance of Nail Length
Although brads are smaller in diameter and come with a nearly-nonexistent nailhead, the length of brads varies drastically. Brads range from ⅝” to 2 ⅛” in length, and choosing the proper size is crucial. Consider the size of the material you’ll be working with and the holding power that’s necessary before choosing your brad nail size.