GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

First time framing with a nail gun what nails do I use

PLIERS | Posted in General Questions on

Hi hope everyone is doing well. About to frame with a paslode for the first time. Before that I have used deck screws with a screw gun but got a nail gun last year for a gift so I figure would give it a try. I’m framing a 3 doorways and 1 8 foot wall in my basement. I’m using a combination of 2×4 pressure treated wood and regular studs. I have everything ready and then got stumped in the nail aisle. I had no idea the smallest box at the box store is 2,000 nails I will never need that many. There were a lot of choices, but I specifically want to buy the nails made for paslode. Do I just buy the galvanized ones, are they multi purpose or is there a reason why I would want to switch which nails I use depending on wood. They also have the brite/interior which is steel but not galvanized. Also what size do I want, 3 inch?

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. Expert Member


    You want 3 1/4" full-head nails f0r most framing. If you are using pt wood you need to use galvanized. Before using the gun see if it is set up for sequential firing or bump. if you have never used one you should start with it set for sequential firing. Watch the position of your other hand. That's the one you are most likely to end up putting a nail through.

  2. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #2

    The basic rule is galvanized for outdoor, brite for indoor. Brite nails are cheaper. You can use galvanized nails inside too, but they cost more and sometimes paint won't adhere to them as well if you're going to be painting over the heads of the nails. You can also get stainless steel nails (lots more expensive), which is what I'd recommend if you'll be nailing into pressure treated wood.

    You need to get nails that match the angle and head type of your nailer. The angles can vary, but there are mostly just two common types of head: clipped head, and offset round (full) head. The use of clipped head nails is limited in many areas for code reasons, so be aware of that. As far as I know, the modern Paslode framing nailers can all shoot offset full head nails, so that's what I always use.

    The size AND DIAMETER of the nails you use will be dictated by the nailing schedule for whatever you're building. Paslode 3" nails are available in 0.120" and 0.131" diameters. I use mostly the 0.120" nails, which often need more per connection compared to 0.131" nails, but they drive easier and are less likely to split the wood. For everything you ever wanted to know about the strength of these nails, refer to the ESR-1539 document:


  3. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #3

    It doesn't sound like anything you're building is holding up the rest of the house so it's not that critical. As Bill noted, the chemicals in pressure treated wood corrode steel so you have to use galvanized fasteners with it. Most likely you're only going to want to buy one box.

    If you think 2000 is too many you can buy boxes of 500 on Amazon. Although you might be surprised at how easy it is to shoot a lot of nails once you get going.

  4. kbentley57 | | #4

    Buy the 2000 cnt, galvanized, and keep them in the garage. You'll find a reason to use them eventually, or lend them out with your nail gun in return for a 'favor in the bank'.

  5. PLIERS | | #5

    Thanks for all the advice. I will pick up the galvanized 2000 pack and hold onto them. I will find a reason eventually to use them. $70 a box, have nails always been this much? Maybe it’s cheaper than screws but sold in bulk

    1. Expert Member
      NICK KEENAN | | #6

      They're 1.4 cents each Three inch deck screws are about a dime each.

      Nails used to be more expensive than the wood they held together. People would reuse old nails. They would burn wood to get the nails out for reuse.

    2. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #7

      Steel is up about double from it's long-time average price, so that might be part of it.

      Remember that nails are sold by WEIGHT more than they are sold by quantity.


Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |