What size nails for crown moulding? Read this!

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This article answers the question “What size nails for crown moulding?”..

Crown moulding is sure to draw eyes and even elicit “wow!” comments both from friends and family.

Now, if you’re preparing to install crown moulding by self, one question that could be cropping up in your mind is “what size nails for crown moulding?”

In this post, I will tackle exactly that.

Read on to find out the best nail size for your crown moulding project and some bonus tips.

What size nails for crown moulding

Crown moulding is nailed to studs and joists in the walls and ceilings. As you know, studs are located in the walls of your house while joists are in the ceiling.

When it comes to crown moulding nail size, we recommend that you use 2” nails (for most crown moulding works).

Meanwhile, for the corners, you will want to use 1” brad nails together with glue.

So here is what I want you to keep in mind: a 16-ga finish nail should work fine for crown moulding though I have to admit there are folks who use 18ga brads (they may work, depending on what you’re nailing into and exact length of nail).

What size nails for crown moulding– figuring out the right nail

It is key that you remember that finish nails, which have a diameter of 15 or 16 gauge, are slightly thicker than brad nails(18 gauge) hence the finish nails have stronger holding power than the brads.

Therefore, if you decide to use to finish nails, then you can easily space them and they would still work great.

However, if you decide to use brad nails, then you will want to make sure that you space them thinly since they are not just as strong as the 15 and 16 gauged nails.

Having that in mind, now we delve into the important part; figuring exactly what nail size to use for crown moulding.

Now, the length of the nail should depend on three key factors which are:

  • Thickness of the crown moulding.
  • Thickness of stud.
  • Whether you have a drywall or plaster.

If you have a drywall, then, a 2” nail will be perfect for you. “Why?”, you might ask.

The reason is that studs are usually 3 ½” thick and most common crown moulding is ½” thick.

As such, 1” of the nail will hold the drywall and the crown moulding while the other inch gives a strong hold to the studs.

For crown moulding that is thicker than ½” or if you have thick plasters, then you will want to use 2 ½” nails.

Say, your crown moulding or plaster is ¾”, so the nail will need to be longer to get through to the studs or joists.

That being so, you would want your nail to hold the crown moulding plus plaster and at least ½ of the nail going into the plaster.


Do you need a nail gun for crown moulding?

No! It is not a must.

If you do not have a nail gun, then, you can use a hammer but take care not to split the crown moulding as you try to make sure the nail goes in as far as possible (remember accidental slippage may lead to splintered moulding).

However, we advise you to use a nail gun. This is because crown moulding is mostly intended to be used for interior design hence you do not want to have those unsightly nail heads being seen (hammering does a poor job at hiding these nail heads.).

Furthermore, some crown moulding designs would make it near impossible for them to be nailed using hammers.

Besides, some crown moulding designs would make it near impossible for them to be nailed using hammers.

So, overall, it is best to use a compressor and finishing gun or brad nail gun depending on the nail size you are using (cordless nailers work too).


16 or 18 gauge nailer for crown moulding

This is a good question and it all comes down to the diameter of the nails you intend to use.

If you use 16 gauge nails, then you will have to use a 16 gauge nailer whereas an 18 gauge nailer will be appropriate when using 18 gauge nails(brads).

We already saw that you could get away with brads for crown moulding projects so it is important to answer all your question regarding using 18-ga nails for crown moulding …

Here they are:

Can I use 18 gauge nails for crown moulding?

Yes. However, this would greatly depend on two factors. These factors are:

  • The distance between the studs or joists-For smaller distances between studs or joists such as 16”, then you can feel free to use 18 gauge nails and do not forget not to over-space them. Otherwise, we recommend 16 gauge nails for their stronger hold capabilities.
  • The thickness of the crown moulding-If you decide to use thin crown moulding such as ¼” to ½”, 18 gauge nails would suffice. For thicker crown mouldings, it will be prudent for you to go for the 15 and 16 gauge nails.

What size brad nails for crown moulding

Ultimately- and you may be aware of this by now- it will all come down to the thickness of your crown moulding and the drywall or plaster.

It is important to remember that you want at least half your nail length to go into the stud or joist you are nailing to.

Therefore, to determine the length required, add the thickness of the crown moulding to that of the drywall and then multiply by 2.

The answer you get is the recommended brad nail length that you should use for your crown moulding.


What size nails for crown moulding- Recap

Crown mouldings are not installed just for their aesthetics or sweet comments that they elicit- They may also be used to cover cracks on walls.

Here is what you need to know about the nail size for crown moulding:

16-ga finish nail (2” -2 ½”) should work fine for crown moulding though you may get away with 18ga brads depending on what you’re nailing into and the thickness of your crown moulding.


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