What size nail gun for fence pickets

Whether building a fence or repairing it, a nail gun can be a pretty handy tool either way. It not only makes your work much more accessible but also helps you do your job quickly. However, if you have no idea about using a nail gun, you will struggle with several things.

One of them is picking the correct size nail gun for fence pickets. So, if you wonder what size nail gun to pick for fence pickets, this is the place to be. I will go through all you need to know about nail guns and their use in fence pickets. Let’s get started then.

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Nail gun size for fence pickets 

Now, when it comes to nail gun sizes for fence pickets, there are many things you have to consider. First of all, you have to think of the thickness of your wood. You have to choose a nail size based on that. Then you will need a nail gun that can accommodate that nail size.

Typically, in most fence building scenarios, a 2-inch shank nail gets the job done most of the time. However, this, of course, varies depending on the wood thickness. But with the standard measurements and thickness, you will be looking for 2-inch ring shank nails.

Let’s start with the kind of nail gun you should pick for your fence pickets. Then, we will move on to the sizes.

Choosing nail guns for fence pickets 

There are typically two nail guns that are preferable when you are working with fences. I will discuss both of them one by one.

Coil siding nail gun 

This is a great nail gun to work on fences. If you pair up this gun with 1.5-inch galvanized nails, you get tremendous results. The reason coil siding nail guns work the best is because of their large head. With the large head of the coil nails, you get secured fitting on the fence pickets.

Now, the downside of coil siding nail guns is the cost. These nail guns are usually a bit expensive. Also, the use of this nail gun is limited. You can’t do much with this nail gun other than fence work and a few other tasks.

Framing gun 

While it’s a cheaper option, you can’t underestimate this one. It works pretty well for fence works. But there is a fair share of issues with a framing nail gun compared to the coil siding nail gun.

First of all, finding appropriate nails for the nail gun and the fences will be difficult. Also, the blow-through you get from a framing gun while working with fence pickets can cause problems too. Lastly, you may come across clip misfire issues at some point in your work.

As you can already tell, a coil siding nail gun is a better choice for fencing work. But if you don’t have that budget or want versatility out of your nail gun, you can still go with a framing gun for that purpose.

When you are done selecting the type of nail gun, you can move on to the real stuff. You will have to choose a nail gun capable of providing the correct size nail in your pickets. So, let’s go through that aspect now.

Usually, pickets tend to have 5/8″ size, with the rails being 2×4″. For this kind of standard fence picket setup, 2-inch-long nails work perfectly. Overall, the best size for nails is 6d to 8d, which is like a 1.5 inch to 2 inches ring shank on the nails.

Your primary goal is to get a nail gun that can accommodate nails of these sizes. So, the first thing you look for in a nail gun is whether they can shoot 6d or 8d nails.

Next up, it’s better to use ring shank nails compared to other types of nails. These nails have a better grip on the wood than any other nails out there. Because they are secured very tightly, they are pretty difficult to pull out. This makes replacing the paling much harder than you would anticipate.

Lastly, no matter what size you choose here, you have to make sure nails are galvanized. Without galvanized nails in your fence pickets, you will face rusting issues sooner or later.

Can you use screws instead of nails?

Well, this is a pretty common question regarding fence pickets. The answer is, yes, you can use screws instead of nails. There are several advantages of using screws as well.

First of all, screws provide a more secure fit on the fences compared to nails. Because screws stay in place, they don’t move around. At the same time, nails can move around over time. Also, screws stop the wooden piece from warping, which can be an issue with using nails.

Another advantage is the easy rework or removal. You can use a screwdriver to remove the screw fittings on the fence. Whereas with nails, you will have to do a lot of work and may even end up damaging the fence.

Now, before you go ahead with the screw plan, here is something you need to know. Using screws for fence pickets will take a lot of time to install. Even though it sounds like a better option, it’s not truly worth the extra time. Because the difference between the results isn’t that much at all.

Unless you are hard stuck because you will rework on your fence pickets, often nails are still viable. Also, if you are concerned with nails moving around too much, the screw is a good pick. Other than that, you can go with nails and end up with satisfying results.


Can a brad nailer be used for fencing?

Ans: Typically, brad nailers are pretty convenient in terms of building interior trim and cabinetry. But, for fencing, it won’t be a good option I assume. They shoot relatively narrow fasteners which aren’t adequate to hold the fence boards at all.

How tall should the fences be?

Ans: Comparing fence wires, if you can keep the fences nearly one-third of the fence wires, it will be more than enough.

Can you employ 16 gauge nails for fencing?

Ans: For doing this, you must have to keep 16D nails near to you. Try to make sure that the nails are galvanized all the way. If you can check the bucket list, nothing would happen, I believe!

Can you use a roofing nail gun for fencing?

Ans: Well yes, you definitely can. But I would recommend you to go for a framing nailer. Because, for fencing, you might require to hold the fence altogether. With a roofing nail, it could have been a bit hard. Whether a framing nailer would definitely get you out of this trauma.

What is the best nail for fence pickets?

Ans: 6D nails are the most ideal ones in terms of fastening on pickets.


To sum up, the perfect size nail gun for fence pickets is any gun that can accommodate 6d or 8d nails. These are the standard nail sizes for standard fence pickets. However, if you are working with different sizes, then you will have to consider them first. Just make sure you choose the right nail size and a nail gun compatible with that nail size.

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