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This you probably know: hand nailing hundreds of shingles can be a huge time suck if you have enormous square footage lined up.
So, what nail gun should you use for cedar shingles jobs?
A regular brad nailer? A stapler, perhaps? Or should you rent or buy a siding nailer?
Well, to answer this question, we need to look at the type of fasteners that authorities such as the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau® (CSSB) recommend when it comes to nailing cedar shingles.
That will make our task easy as we will only need to identify a nail gun that shoots the accepted nails..
Now, here is what the CSSB says about fasteners for cedar shingles:
“Use either rust-resistant staples or shingle nails (1-1/4” to 1-1/2” long), galvanized, in stainless steel or aluminum”.
Of course, aluminum/stainless nails as well as the stainless staples guarantee unstained shingles.
It simply means that the best nail gun for cedar shingles will either be a stapler nail gun or any nailer that can shoots the recommended nails or staples!
We really don’t want to jump into the staples vs nails for cedar shingles debate but this statement caught our attention and could help you make the correct devision:
“The CSSB favors the use of aluminum/stainless steel nails for cedar shingles. However, if you’d rather use staples, go for stainless steel staples Type 316 in sites within 15 (fifteen) miles of salty water. Use Type 304/Type 316 for locations further from the defined salt water zone”.
Unsurprisingly, the industry has largely shifted its taste toward the nail in the last 15-20 years.
Back to our question: What is the best nail gun for cedar shingles?
Well, now that you understand that you can use a stapler or a standard nail gun that fires the aforementioned fasteners, we have compiled a list of 3 brilliant choices to pick from.
Most importantly, we will review each of them to give you an idea of what to expect.
Nail gun for cedar shingles – our top 3 recommended nail /staple guns
Best pneumatic nailer for cedar shingles- BOSTITCH Coil Siding Nail gun, 1-1/4-Inches to 2-1/2-Inches (N66C)
“Bostich N66C has a handy adjustable depth setting..once set, there are no issues splitting or marring shingles.”
Best budget nail gun for cedar shingles- Freeman PCN65 Pneumatic Coil Siding Nailer 15-Degree 2-1/2″ Side Load Magazine
“The PCN65 Pneumatic Coil Siding Nailer has been specifically designed to nail cedar shingles and comes at a fantastic price for the quality”
The best pneumatic staple gun for cedar shingles – Senco SNS41 16Ga Construction Stapler
“I have been using the nail gun to nail cedar shingles. I always want them to be flush with surfaces – not too deep and not proud – and it works flawlessly”.
Nail gun for cedar shingles- reviews and specs
BOSTITCH Coil Siding Nail gun, 1-1/4-Inches to 2-1/2-Inches (N66C) – Best pneumatic nailer for cedar shingles
This works great- it’s beyond doubt the most impressive of the lot.
It feels super solid, it’s superbly built, and nicely balanced.
There are absolutely no problems fastening cedar shingles here- No jamming. No double kisses. No marring/cracking shingles.
The depth adjustment is straightforward, nail loading is easy-peasy, and includes a welcome hook (makes your life easier especially when going up a ladder).
You can select rapid bump fire (for speed when roofing with cedar shingles) or sequential fire (for precise nail placement).
Be sure to adjust the nail depth and air pressure beforehand- you’ll be flying once you get it right.
Specs at a glance
- Fastener Length Capacity: 1-1/4” to 2-1/2” nails (Wire Weld plus Plastic Inserted Coil fasteners)
- Fastener diameter:080”- 0.092”
- Magazine Capacity: 350 nails (& 100 caps)
- Magazine Loading: Canister Loading
- Operating Pressure: 70-120 PSI
- Thread Fitting Type: ¼” NPT
- Actuation: Bump/Sequential
- Weight:7 lbs
- Easy to use.
- Adjusting air discharge port.
- Required quick connect plug (for air) not included.
Freeman PCN65 Pneumatic Coil Siding Nailer 15-Degree 2-1/2″ Side Load Magazine – Best budget nail gun for cedar shingles
If you own a good compressor (or you can borrow/rent one) and you’re under a tight budget, you’ll be proud of this tool.
It has loads of awesome features including bump fire, adjustable exhaust, built-in rafter hook, and bump firing (The nailer is actually “bump fire” only).
The siding nailer’s safety lock prevents accidental firing while the simplistic depth adjusting setting allows you to quickly and easily slam nails to the correct depth.
A comfort grip handle has been added to reduce fatigue and boost accuracy too.
Indeed, this sinks fasteners pretty much like the costlier Dewalt, Makita, and Hitachi siding nailers.
The results are simply spectacular!
However, be ready to be disappointed if you hook it up to a small-ish air compressor- it tends to double fire a lot when used for bigger cedar shingles projects with insufficient air.
Other than that, it’s a nail gun for cedar shingles you’ll be happy with for years to come particularly if you only have occasional cedar shingles tasks.
- Fastener Length Capacity: 15-degree, 13-14 ga plastic/wire-collated siding nails, 1-1/4” to 2-1/2”.
- Magazine Capacity: 200-400 pcs.
- Fastener diameter: 09”-0.113”
- Magazine Loading: Side
- Operating Pressure: 70-110 PSI
- Actuation: Bump
- Weight:5 lbs
- Economical option.
- Plenty of storage options.
- Air hose connection pre-installed.
- Good capacity air compressor needed.
Senco SNS41 16Ga Construction Stapler– The best pneumatic staple gun for cedar shingles
If you’re looking for a reliable staple gun for shingles, we propose this wonderful staple gun from Senco.
It’s painless to use, shoots fast, and performs reliably.
SENCO’s SNS44XP nail gun is of lighter weight and like most of its peers, features the all-important adjustable depth-of-drive control.
Plus, the tool has just the precise power for the job.
In short, there are absolutely zero problems when nailing cedar shingles (or shakes)- just feed it the endorsed cedar shingle fasteners to avoid splitting the shingles or have them fall off soon after.
Suffice to say that the SENCO SNS45XP and SNS41 models works perfectly as well for cedar shingles(or shakes) though the SNS41 seems more popular.
- Height: 11″ (279mm)
- Staple Capacity: 160 pcs
- Operating Pressure: 80-120 psi
- Fitting Type: 3/8″ NPT female
- Weight: 6 lbs
- Nails: 7/16-inch crown staples, length 1”-2”
- Fastener gauge: 16ga
- Firing actuation: dual
- Collation angle: 0
- Excellent balance.
- Easy clearing of the infrequent jams.
- Reload indicator lets you know it’s time to reload fasteners.
- No major downside.
Nail gun for cedar shingles – frequently asked questions
What size nails for cedar shingles
As mentioned earlier, your nails must be 1-1/4” to 1-1/2” long to achieve professional results when attaching cedar shingles.
The thing is nearly all shingle manufacturers usually specify fasteners in their installation instructions and many want either a regular nail (with a head) or a staple.
Can you use a nail gun on cedar shingles?
Of course, yes. It’s going to be pretty faster than hand nailing- and you should either use a coil siding nailer(see our recommendations) or a 1/4” stapler (You can try the Milwaukee 1/4 crown stapler).
That said, keep an eye on the air pressure and depth setting otherwise you’ll have tons of jams and misfiring not to mention you could overdrive nails and splitting everything.
Also, shooting the fasteners too quickly can make you miss the skip-sheathing beneath shingles (Any missed fastener is quite likely to cause the shingles to splinter and curl).
You also want to use the approved corrosion-resistant fasteners as the wrong fasteners could lead to bleeding issues – an ugly streak triggered by the chemical reactions between fasteners and wood’s natural acids.
As you have noted, for the most part, nails work better than staples for cedar shingles so it’s best to invest in one of the two siding nailers (or rent depending on how frequently you’ll be tackling cedar shingles installation projects).
But if you are a fan of using staples, the Senco SNS41 staple gun will leave you thoroughly satisfied with the end results.
Final thing: You can always re-sell your nailer on eBay (or other sites) when you’re done and recoup some of your investment.