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Community and Q&A

The Right Nail for this Framing and Sheathing Plan

arnoldk | Posted in General Questions on


I think I have a decent understanding of the various type of nail required but after reviewing the building code (Ontario, Canada) I got a bit intimidated. I suspect I’m nervous a mistake in selecting the wrong nail could be very costly.

I will be using a 30-34 degree framing nailer which can accept 2″- 3″-1/2 nail 0.113″ – 0.131 in either clipped or off-set round head nails. Here is what I had planned to use until doubting myself.
Framing: 3-1/4″ x 0.131  Bright Smooth Shank
Sheathing (OSB):  2″ x .113 – Ring

Is it worth the extra cost to use hot dipper galvanized nails for either framing or sheathing?

Thank you,

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  1. GBA Editor
    MIKE GUERTIN | | #1

    Lots of homes are framed with 3.24X0.131 clip head and 2 in. sheathing nails so you should be fine with those if your code permits them. As far as galv or brite. If you'll be closing in the building in short order (say 3 or 4 months) then brite nails are fine. I often use electro-galv nails for framing when the building won't be closed in for 5+ months. The EG coating provides good corrosion protection in untreated lumber. You won't get much of an added benefit by using HD galv nails. They're primarily used for permanent exterior framing - like decks.

    1. arnoldk | | #2

      Thanks for the response. The siding (LP Smartside or James Hardie) will be installed fairly quickly after the framing and roofing.


  2. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #3

    I would double check if your local building officials will allow the use of clipped head nails. Many areas, especially areas with special concerns (especially hurricane-prone areas) are not allowing the use of clipped head nails. A quick call to your city building department should get you an answer here. If you're in any doubt, go with the offset round head nails which should be acceptable everywhere.


    1. arnoldk | | #4

      Hi Bill

      I have confirmed it is allowed in my area but I still won't be using them since my nailer allows full head.


    2. ar_t | | #6


      I ditto Zephyr7 reply. In California, for example, most plan sets call out per code common nails unless noted otherwise. These have larger diameter shanks and hence, a higher holding power than box nails. However, sometimes the code has alternatives, meaning clipped head, full head, boxed, etc. if noted. It depends, like most codes, on the task at hand. spacing is important also. A competent building official can lead you where you need to go. Also, most building codes are online for free to read anytime. Know the code to which you're building.

      1. Expert Member
        BILL WICHERS | | #9

        The issue with common nails, gun nails, etc., is that there are a range of diameters. Nailing schedules will often allow either type, but sometimes need more nails for a connection. An example might be 3 x 0.120" diameter nails or 2 x 0.131" diameter nails (that's just a hypothetical) for the same connection to achieve the same load rating. Gun nails are often smaller than common nails, which can sometimes be an issue.

        If you have any doubt about the nailing schedule, the architect or engineer who drew up the plans should be able to modify the design for the nails you want to use. This might mean more (or less) nails will be needed, and it might mean the nails will need to be on different spacings.

        Be especially careful with nails in any type of hanger or connector. Nails for things like Simpson Strongtie connectors are very specific in their specification, and the rating of the connector is void if you don't follow their nailing detail exactly using the nails they specify.


  3. Expert Member
    AKOS TOTH | | #5

    I keep 3 lengths. 3" spirals for anything non structural, 3 1/4" spirals for structural and 2 3/8" ring shank for for sheathing and subfloor. Both 3" and 2 3/8" I get galvanized as it can be used outdoors as well.

    Be careful with construction screws. They should only be used for anything temporary as code only allows for decking.

    Most from the box store are also pretty prone to cracking, I have found some from a local hardware store (MHC) that have longer un-threaded shanks and a smoother thread that seem less prone to cracking.

    The longer unthreaded shank works much better for 1.5" thick lumber as the head of the screw doesn't get sucked in as deep before it pulls the lumber tight.

    If you have a lot of joist hangers, buy the screws in the big box. The little boxes are only good for a handful of hangers.

    Avoid screws when possible, they cost a lot and slow to install. Most LVLs can be laminated with nails.

    1. arnoldk | | #7

      Hi Akos,

      Thanks for the detailed response. The only place I will be using screws is for the subfloor (glue and screw).


      1. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #8


        The only place I've even had inspectors check what nails I used were on hardware (joist hangers etc.) which often have their size stamped on their heads to identify them.

        1. arnoldk | | #10

          Thank you for letting me know. The garage won't have any joist hangers so I'm good in that department.


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