What size Finishing Nails for Baseboards?

The size or gauge of your nail will depend on what kind of project you are working on as well as the type of material. You should never use nails that are too long or which might penetrate unseen wiring or piping. A baseboard is the trim that runs along the bottom of a finished interior wall. Baseboards are used to tidy up the appearance of the junction between the floor and the wall. It is also meant to protect the bottom of the wall from damage. Trim nailers are categorized by the thickness or “gauge” of the nails they shoot.

The rule of thumb is that the bigger the gauge number, the smaller the nail it uses. Nailers that shoot the biggest trim nails are usually finish nailers and range between 15 and 16 gauges. For finer finishes on base boards, it would be best to use a finish nailer with a bigger gauge which means smaller nails.  This makes a smoother finish because the small nail barely leaves a hole, leaving you with less filling up to do.

You need a very small diameter nail when working on baseboards. Due to the nature of the material, you might end up splitting the wood if you use a nail that is too thick in size.  Baseboards are usually painted to match your interior walls and decor therefore it would be best to use the proper gauge nail to minimize the amount of filling and sanding that needs to be done after you have completed the project.

If you are using unpainted baseboards, it is recommended to use a punch to sink the hole where the wood is stained and then to fill the hole up with wood filler or putty.  This will provide a smoother finish and hide the nail head from sight. Baseboards have no structural purpose except to decorate or cover the construction behind it. For this reason, the nail only needs to be long enough to secure the baseboard.

What size brad Nails for Baseboards?

Installing baseboard trim will frame your interior walls and protect the junction where the wall and floor meet. Before you install your baseboards of choice, you should leave them to acclimatize for anything between 24 to 48 hours. The reason for this is that wood shrinks and swells according to climate and your home might have a different climate to the one where you purchased the mouldings.

Mouldings can be fastened using brad nails or a power nailer but you should never use nails that are more than 2 inches. Unless you know exactly where your homes electrical wires run you might be in for a shocking experience. 1 ½ inch nails are the perfect size for installing baseboards with a brad power nailer.

Pre-drill your nail holes if you are concerned about the baseboard splitting. You want to use a drill bit which is slightly smaller than your nail size. This method will give you a cleaner cut hole which you can easily fill up with wood glue or putty. Allow this to dry and sand down for a perfectly smooth finish.

8d Finish Nails

8d Finish NailsHave you ever wondered what the “D” stands for when shopping for nails? For historical reasons, nails are sold by a number which is followed by a “D” and then by length. The “D” stands for penny, so an 8d nail refers to an 8-penny nail. This is how the nails length is indicated. Back when the Romans occupied what we now know as England, the coin used by the Romans was called the Denarius which is also the name for an English penny.

There was a time when nails were hand-forged, one at a time and some say that a hundred 3-1/2 inch nails would have cost 16 pennies backing the day and since then they became known as 16-penny nails. Others say the “D” indicates that a single 6d hand-forged nail would have cost 16 pennies.

Nails strength is based on its length and diameter. If the nail is the correct length, it will be driven far enough into the supporting material. The strength of a properly placed nail is also dependant on its diameter because this will affect the quantity of wood fibres that will bear against the surface. The wider the nail, the more wood fibres will be able to bear thus strengthening the connection.

What size brad nail for Trim?

Before you go out and shop for a nail finisher, take the time to figure out what size nails you will be using. For trim purposes you should be looking at using 15-, 16-, 18-, or 23- gauge nails. 15 and 16 gauge nailers are the anchors of the pneumatic trim team and are the most versatile for interior trim purposes. Brad nails are thinner in cross section allowing them to leave a smaller, neater hole which can be filled up and smoothed down easily.

This makes brad nails the perfect choice for all your trim applications. Trim nailers are categorized by the thickness or “gauge” of the nails they shoot. The rule of thumb is that the bigger the gauge number, the smaller the nail it uses. Nailers that shoot the biggest trim nails are usually finish nailers and range between 15 and 16 gauges.

About the Author

Bob Robinson has been a tool enthusiast and lawn care expert for the past 11 years. First working with John Deere to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst building his love for writing in his spare time. Now, Bob runs the editorial team at BestofMachinery and tends to his garden in his spare time.

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