Although some people might think that baseboards only serve an aesthetic role, they also have significant functional and protective elements that make them essential in your house.
However, installing and fixing the baseboard can be an extremely daunting task if you use regular nails and hammers for the job, and that’s where nail guns jump in for the rescue!
Despite that, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the right size and type of nail gun to be used with baseboards. If you want to know what size nail gun for baseboards will work best, this article is for you!
The size of the nails and nail guns used for baseboards will depend mainly on their measurements. Ideally, most baseboards on the market will range between 1/2 to 1 1/4 thick and 3 to 8 inches in length. For that reason, a range of 15 to 16 gauge nails with a shank length of 1 3/4 to 2 1/3 will work best. The most suitable type of nail guns are the Finish (Trim) and brad nail guns.
Keep on reading if you want to find out more about the right type of nail guns and nails for baseboard.
What Size of Nail Guns Is Ideal for Baseboards
The ideal size for nails in the baseboard depends on the size of the baseboard itself. As a rule of thumb, you need to choose the right length and diameter of the nails, which are represented by “d” and “gauge” respectively.
The nail shouldn’t be too long or too thin because it’ll result in an unstable baseboard. The ideal length for the nails is usually about 1 3/4 to 2 1/3 inches in length, which translates to 3d to 6d nails.
Most nails at that range are about 15 to 16 gauge, which is excellent for such a job and keeps the baseboards stabilized without any problems.
In fact, you might also use 18 gauge nails to get the job done. Although these nails would still work just fine, 18 gauge nails are quite thin, so they don’t have the optimal holding power to prevent the thicker types of baseboards from coming off easily.
What Is the Ideal Type of Nail Gun for Baseboards
One thing you should know is that nail guns aren’t created equal. In fact, there are 3 major types of nail guns on the market, so which one is the best for baseboard installation?
Well, to answer this question, we need to have a quick look at the different types of nail guns on the market and what they’re suitable for:
Finish (Trim) Nail Guns
These are specifically designed to drive 15 and 16 gauge finish nailheads. They’re quite easy to use and shoot nails at moderate pressure, making them one of the overall best options that you can use to install baseboards with nail guns.
Brad Nail Gun
This one is used to drive the smallest of nails into wooden projects, such as 18-gauge brad nails. They’re ideal for projects where larger nails would simply damage or even split the wood into two pieces.
Brad nail guns are suitable for thinner and lighter baseboards that can handle 18 inch nails. Despite that, they’re still not the favorable nail guns for nailing a baseboard if you already have a finish nail gun.
Framing Nail Gun
These ones are inexpensive and they’re used to drive large nails in big projects, such as fencing, roofing, and decking. However, they’re too overpowered for baseboards.
How to Install Baseboards Using a Nail Gun
Now that you know the ideal nail size and type for your baseboard, it’s time to know how to properly install a baseboard using your nail gun. Luckily, the process is fairly simple and you only need to do the following:
- Start by letting the baseboard rest and shrink for 1 or 2 days to reduce warping after installation.
- Check the baseboards to cut or trim any parts that might end up blocking a door or excess at a corner.
- Line the baseboard on the floor at the spot where you want it to be attached to the wall.
- Drive the suitable size of nails into the baseboard, leaving a distance of 12 to 15 inches between every nail. Make sure that the nails are 15 or 16 gauge because they’re ideal for baseboard measurements.
- Apply some putty over the heads of the nails to hide them and give the baseboard a clean look.
- When the putty dries, sand the excess to smooth it out.
- Finish your baseboard installation by priming and finishing with paint.
What Are the Best Baseboard Nail Guns Options on the Market
As you can see, not all nail gun types on the market are suitable for nailing baseboards. Similarly, some nail guns are simply better than others at getting the job done.
However, with all the products available out there, finding the right one can be a surprisingly tricky task. To help you with that, here are some of the best baseboard nail gun options that you can find out there:
- BOSTITCH BTFP71917 Finish Nail Gun Kit
- DEWALT DCN680D1 MAX Cordless Brad Nail Gun
- WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer Kit
- Metabo HPT Pneumatic 15 Gauge Finish Nail Gun Kit
- NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge Finish Nail Gun
There you have it! A brief guide with everything you need to know in order to use a nail gun for baseboards.
As you can see, baseboards are typically delicate and thin when compared to other wood frames of the house. That’s why you need relatively smaller nails that range between 15 to 16 gauge in order to use it.
In the end, we hope that this quick guide has helped you find the ideal size nail gun for the job. Remember to always let the baseboard panels sit inside the house for 1 or 2 days before installing because wood starts to shrink when left indoors.
This prevents the baseboard from warping or bending, which may require you to re-do the nailing.