GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter 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

Nail reccomendations for cedar siding

Tommy87 | Posted in General Questions on


I will be installing 3/4 cedar siding this weekend (either T&g or bevel).

THis will be my first time, so I would love a few pointers to get me on the right path.

A few questions I have

1) Whats the reccomended nail? I know that it needs to penetrate 1 1/2″ into the stud. I will be needing 3 1/2″ nails to do so. My local hardware store does not sell 3 1/2″ ring shanked so will I be ok with regular 3 1/2″ siding nails?

2) Is hot dipped galvanized the way to go?

3) Is it best to avoid nail guns (I can’t even find 3 1/2″ for guns)?

4) If you have any other general tips for me that would be great!

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. user-2310254 | | #1


    Can you describe the components of your wall assembly? Where are you located? Is this new construction or a retrofit?

  2. Tommy87 | | #2

    Hey Steve,

    This is new construction. Wall assemble is 10" siding and have several vertical trim pieces with 2x6's.

    In the Southern California backcountry area.

  3. user-2310254 | | #3


    So you have installed OSB or plywood as sheathing, correct? Ideally, you would tape the seam, install housewrap, and strapping to promote drying so the siding lasts as long as possible. Martin's article on "How to Design a Wall" contains a lot of great information:

  4. Tommy87 | | #4

    Hey Steve,

    Yep I did all that and am past that stage. I was just asking for tips on installing cedar bevel siding and what nails to use.

  5. Expert Member

    Tommy, is there a layer of foam under the siding? Otherwise why do you need 3 1/2" nails?

    You can hand nail with galvanized casing nails, but most builders use something like a Bostich trim nailer for speed.

    Both t&g and bevelled siding gets a fastener 3/4" above the top of the board below. The idea is to avoid double nailing the board which will cause cracks when it shrinks.

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    If you have furring strips, you only have to nail to the furring strips, not the studs (assuming that the furring strips are at least 3/4 inch thick).

    I would use stainless-steel siding nails. They are ring-shank nails.

  7. user-6752228 | | #7

    If you're going to be doing anything other than painting the cedar with a dark color, I'd spend the extra and get the stainless steel nails. In my experience even the galvanized nails will eventually react with the cedar and leave black stains.
    If you've got a lot of siding to hang, you might want to consider a siding nailer. It looks like a roofing gun in that it takes coiled nails, but the heads on these nails are smaller than the roofers.

  8. Tommy87 | | #8

    Hi Malcom, I have 3/8 furring strips behind the siding.

    I was thinking 3.5" nails because most instructions I read say I need a pentration of at least 1.5" into solid wood. If I do bevel siding, I would be nailing into the thicker side which is 3/4". Plus 3/8 furring and 1/2" plywood. So this would give me 1 7/8" penetration into the studs (I suppose 3 1/4" would do).

    Here is one guide I was going by

    Martin, what are your thoughts why they reccomend so much penetration?

    User - have you tried hot dipped?

  9. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #9

    First of all, I love stainless-steel siding nails. I use them for all types of outdoor projects. Maze Nails, and many other manufacturers, offer stainless-steel siding nails in many sizes, including 3.5 inches. Here is a link to the relevant Maze Nails page:*WS/siding/beveled-siding/stainless-steel-304-slim-jim-wood-siding-nails

    Stainless-steel nails in lengths up to 3.5 inches can be purchased at a lumberyard near where I live. If you can't find them locally, you can always order them online.

    Finally, if your furring strips are made of plywood, you can count the penetration of the nails into the plywood furring strips, as well as the penetration into the plywood sheathing, as part of the depth of the penetration that helps retain the siding. (If, on the other hand, your furring strips are made out of some kind of plastic, that doesn't count.)

  10. Tommy87 | | #10

    Thanks Martin. Unfortunately no where in town!! So I will order.

    I assume you reccomend hand nailing (the ring shank splitless) instead of a nail gun? Was thinking of hand nailing to get board up then finish with nail gun.

    Any calculation to try and figure how much nails I need? Basically just one nail per stud. Per hoard right?

  11. Expert Member
    MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #11

    If you are going to use a gun I'd use it from the start. it's a lot easier to set the board where you want them with a gun than by hand. Depending on how fast you intend getting the siding up it might be worth renting a gun from one of the BB stores rather than buying one. Stainless nails do cost more but it isn't a significant part of the budget.,default,sc.html

  12. Tommy87 | | #12

    Hey Malcolm, I do actually have one. Do you know if they make 3" ring shank siding nails for coil gun. I would like to use at least that.

    I spaced that, always easier to put up boards with a nail gun. Perhaps I will put the board up every other stud with the nail gun (I have shorter nails) and then finish off the every other stud with a hand nail.

  13. Expert Member
    MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #13

    I don't think I've ever seen a siding gun that goes over 2 1/2". I'd suggest nailing a board with the gun and testing it. I bet you will be comfortable using it without hand nailing. At 2 1/2 the pull out resistance of the head is going to be much less than the shank into the structure.

    And yes, you need one nail per stud per board -plus a couple of coils to inadvertently sit on during your coffee breaks.

  14. Tommy87 | | #14

    Sounds good Malcolm.

    Just to clarify your last statement, you are saying a 2 1/2" ring shank will hold better than a longer smooth shank (3 1/2")? I will only have 7/8" penetration into my stud with a 2 1/2"

    I'll do my beat not to let that happen during breaks!!

  15. Expert Member
    MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #15

    I think if you manage to pull the siding off, the nail will still be sunk in the structure. The weak point will be the holding strength of the siding itself.
    We only install siding on rain-screens here. Always use 2 2/4" or 2 1/2" nails and I've never seen any failures you could attribute to the fasteners.

  16. dankolbert | | #16

    You don't want to use smooth shank nails with siding. They will pull out very quickly and your house will look like it broke out with something.

  17. Tommy87 | | #17

    I ended up getting the Maze ring shank siding nails.

    Also- was hoping for your guys input on one last thing. I am able to get a really good deal for 10" cedar bevel siding.

    I've heard bevel siding can warp/bow a bit.

    This is 3/4" thick and will be on 16 oc studs. Important to note they will be placed over 3/8" plastic furring strips. Think there will be any issue/bad idea to go 10"?

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |