Should I Use Box Nails or Common Nails for Lap Siding?


Use a Common Nail

  • Common nails are heavy and strong nails. These nails, usually 5/32 of an inch thick, are commonly used in construction for framing and sheathing. Siding manufacturers such as James Hardie and CertainTeed recommend common nails or siding nails for their fiber composite lap siding.

Use a Box Nail

  • The box nail is lighter and thinner than its common nail counterpart. Approximately 1/16th of an inch, this nail is utilized for securing lighter-weight trim wood and siding. Due to the thinness in gauge, the box nail is not as strong as the common nail.

Bottom Line

  • According to master carpenter Norm Abrams from This Old House, box nails are best for siding; these nails are thinner and are less likely to split the siding than the heavier common nail. Siding manufacturers recommend corrosion-resistant size 6d common nails or siding nails. If your siding is thin or brittle, drill a small pilot hole before nailing the siding with a common nail.

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