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Community and Q&A

Nail-Sheathing Compatibility

acrobaticnurse_Eli | Posted in General Questions on

It might be better to ask if fiberboard sheathing provides any holding power at all or if I should stick with using longer nails to hit studs.

I was looking at Paslode’s tetragrip 1 and 1/8 inch siding nails and thought they’d make fiber cement siding easier, but then realized that if I’m not replacing my 1980s fiberboard sheathing with osb or plywood the sheathing may not have nearly enough holding power and the nails may be so short that the sheathing would prevent me from reaching the studs.

This may be a silly question but I’d love to be wrong, otherwise I should likely order a regular siding nailer with longer nails.

I emailed Paslode for their thoughts and will post their response if they write back.

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  1. Expert Member

    You shouldn't rely on fiberboard to prove any holding power, regardless of the fastener. They're only barely adequate at providing any shear with an extremely tight nailing pattern as is. A good compromise here, depending on your fiberboard thickness, are standard 2 3/8" framing nails. You can use a regular framing nailer, unless you've already bought the siding nailer.

    1. acrobaticnurse_Eli | | #2

      Thank you. I haven't bought the nailer yet so I appreciate the suggestion.

  2. Chris_in_NC | | #3

    Definitely need to hit the studs for virtually any type of siding with fiberboard sheathing.

    While you have the siding off, add some type of localized blocking (if needed) behind the sheathing to have solid mounting for things like lights, outlets, etc. Fiberboard sheathing is pretty easy to patch up, so cutting a moderate-sized access hole isn't a big deal if the blocking helps to fasten the patch. I've used scraps of 1x4, plywood, or OSB depending on what needs to be mounted. Thermoply sheathing cuts great with a utility knife.

    Also address any neglected air sealing for electrical boxes and pipe penetrations, which usually wasn't a priority during the era when fiberboard sheathing was in heavy use.

    I'm speaking from experience, as my own 1980s house has a multitude of fiberboard sheathing sins.

  3. Expert Member


    I wonder if it might make things easier to add strapping through the fiber-board into the studs, and then attach your siding to it? Ending up with a rain-screen would be a nice bonus too.

    1. acrobaticnurse_Eli | | #5


      I've thought about adding 1 by 4 strapping, maybe even over rigid foam. The main thing that may hold me back would be how much siding I want to replace at once. I'd like to do all of it but am most focused on the bottom 2-3 courses of masonite siding that need immediate replacement.

      I may do a separate post to avoid confusion that gets into the whole wall assembly and climate zone to see what makes sense.

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