What are brad nails used for?

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What are brad nails used for?….find out in this guide

Picking the right nail for your specific project can be quite confusing especially if you’re a beginner.

Of course, each kind of nail is made for a specific job and brad nails are no exception.

So, what are brad nails used for? Well, I will be answering this question and more including “Can I use a hammer for brad nails?” and “What can you nail with a brad nailer?” in this post.

You, therefore, want to read it to the end if you have always wondered what can brad nails be used for..

What are brad nails used for?

Brad nails are specialized and designed for thin wood applications such as trims, moldings, cabinetry, and so on.

Keep in mind that they are thin-gauged, usually 18 gauge and they are perfect for lightweight wood trims because thicker nails would lead to wood splitting.

Also, due to their thinness, they have smaller heads which leave small nail holes.

We are now going to review a few projects where brad nails are most suitable….

Read on to better understand the use cases of this specialized nail.

What can brad nails be used for?

Small DIY projects

Here we have small craft projects such as small planters, photo frames, and jewelry storage boxes.

Brad nails would be the most suitable type of nails since the wood used in these DIY projects is thin and hence susceptible to splitting if thicker nails were to be used.

Cabinet installations

Cabinets are a great addition and they can be installed in various parts of your home such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Brad nails will, in general, be effective in fastening the various boards used.

Baseboards installations

Due to their small size, brads are easy to drive into wood making them an option when it comes to securing baseboards whether you’re adding or replacing baseboards in your house.

That said, brad nails are not always recommended for thicker baseboards and instead you may want to use a 15 Gauge finish nails since they have better holding power.

Pet houses

If you are a pet lover who has a thing for small pets, you might be thinking about building a small house for your favorite pet, say a birdhouse.

If so, brad nails would come in handy when connecting multiple sheets of wood for your little friend.

Crown molding

Moldings are normally finished with fine nails that normally end up perfectly hidden.

In such cases, brad nails are typically used since there is no risk of splitting the lightweight wood paneling.

Above all, they are not easily noticed.

Wall paneling

As we had earlier stated, brad nails are suitable for thin sheets of wood. This makes them an ideal choice for interior designers during paneling.

Rejuvenating antique furniture

Brad nails will securely and discretely bring antiques back to life….

From fastening to repairing to replacing ornate trims and millworks, brad nails are the go-to nails since they are unlikely to split the material they are used on.

Brad nail sizes

Brads have a thickness of 18 gauge though their lengths vary.

Now, these lengths range from ½” to 2 ½” long.

Don’t forget that brads can go as deep as the length of the nail and it is even possible to countersink them slightly below the surface of the wood using the right tools.

So, what brad nail size should you use for your project?

Well, the size that will work best will depend on your particular project but as a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to use a nail at least twice as thick as the surface that you are nailing it into.

For instance, if you want to use a brad nail for a ½” trim, then use a nail that is at least 1” (½”x2).

How to cover brad nails

Obviously, nail holes can ruin the appearance of your DIY craft or trim on the wall.

Fortunately, covering brad nail holes is a simple process and there are a number of ways to achieve this. These ways include:

  • Countersinking the nails and then covering them with wood fillers-Always choose a filler that matches the color of the wood used.
  • Countersink your nails and then spread some spackle over the nail head-Here you can use a putty knife to smooth out the surface.
  • Use wood putty – this has a con in that you cannot sand it smooth hence there will always be that bumpy feel on your wood.

Where to buy brad nails

Brad nails are easily available in any hardware near you.

They can also be bought from numerous online stores including Amazon and AliExpress.


What are brad nails used for? – Related questions

Are brad nails interchangeable?

Yes and no.

You see, when it comes to brad nails of the same brand but of different lengths, then they are definitely interchangeable.

All you would do is adjust your nailer settings.

But when it comes to different brands of brads, at times they are interchangeable but other times the nailer won’t fire the brads.

For example, you could find your Hitachi brad nailer (assuming it is what you own) ‘refusing’ to fire Bostich brads but working with other brands so I suggest you take your nailer (with you) when buying brads.

And if buying online, first order a small pack to try.

Can I use a hammer for brad nails?

If you are a new homeowner, your set may not yet have enough tools for your projects.

Yet your current project requires brads – don’t worry if you don’t have a nailer…

For the most part, you can use a hammer for brads though it may not be as smooth-sailing as when you have a brad nailer.

What can you nail with a brad nailer?

Your brad nailer is the solution to many DIY crafts and fix-it problems.

To be clear, you can use it to fire brads into a range of sheets of wood such as moldings, trims, millworks, photo frames, and baseboards.


  • Brad nails have a wide variety of uses ranging from small DIY projects to decorative interior designs such as trims and moldings.
  • Brad nails come in different sizes for different needs.
  • Brad nail holes can easily be covered through a variety of methods.



What size nails for trim? Here is what you need to know


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