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Staple or finish nails to put up tongue and groove wall?

MichaelBa | Posted in General Questions on

Hi guys,

I bought some 1×6 tongue and groove pine. I will be installing it for my interior walls. I’m leaning towards using a staple gun (1 1/2″ staples) to install because its seems like it would be much faster and cheaper.

Are there any downsides I am not thinking of?

Also, should I be face stapling/nailing or will nailing on the tongue be suffecient?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    First of all, it would be good to have some more information before giving advice. The most important questions concern the need for an air barrier on any insulated wall.

    Therefore, we need to know:

    1. Your climate zone or geographical location.

    2. Whether any of these walls are insulated exterior walls.

    3. The type of insulation between the studs.

    4. Whether or not you have a layer of 1/2-inch drywall or plaster between the studs and the tongue-and-groove boards.

    The worst case scenario: You live in a cold climate; the walls are insulated with fiberglass batts; and there is no drywall or plaster. That would be bad, because that kind of wall leaks air like a sieve.

    I hate staples, because staples are hard to remove if you ever need to remodel. I'm a traditionalist, and I favor the use of nails. Blind nailing at an angle near the tongue is traditional.

  2. MichaelBa | | #2

    Martin, sorry about that...I didn't leave you with much info.

    Anyways, I am in Santa Ana area. Pretty consistent warm weather throughout the year with little rain. Is fairly close to the coast so gets some morning dew. So I would say climate zone 3 with a bit of coastal morning weather.

    These walls are inside the house but the exterior walls.

    Rockwool insulation is between the studs.

    No drywall between the studs. The 3/4" t&g will be going directly over the studs.

    Good point about the staples. I was thinking about this last night. Would you reccomend not to use a gun and hand nail?

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    It sounds like you are in California (although you didn't say). Even though your climate is mild, you still want an air barrier for your wall -- especially if you ever need to operate a heating system or an air conditioner. Even in Santa Ana -- whether you are in California, or some other Santa Ana -- you probably need to run a heating system or cooling system for a few weeks of the year.

    So you need to install 1/2-inch drywall with taped seams before you install your boards. Install the drywall with attention to airtightness.

    I don't think it matters much whether your boards are hand-nailed or power-nailed -- as long as the nails are long enough to reach through the drywall layer to the studs below.

  4. MichaelBa | | #4

    Martin, all sounds good. I did not mention that my plywood and housewrap is my air barrier so I do not need drywall beforehand, correct?

    Thank you very much.

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #5

    All walls have leaks. In most cases, air between the studs (the air between the fibers of your mineral wool insulation) escapes through cracks between the top plate and the sheathing, or between the top plate and the interior finish material. This exfiltrating air is replaced by indoor air that enters the stud bays through cracks on the interior side of your wall.

    Without an interior air barrier, your wall will leak like a sieve. You need to install the drywall before you install the boards.

  6. MichaelBa | | #6

    Sounds good Martin. I will either install drywall or a vapor retarder barrier.

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