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Thread: What size nailer do I need for door trim and chair rail?

  1. #1

    What size nailer do I need for door trim and chair rail?


    Iíve just bought my compressor, and now I need to buy my (hopefully only one) nailer.

    I want to install chair rail molding (no lip, just flat chair rail) along some of my interior walls. And I want to replace the door trim around my interior doors. Both the chair rail and the door trim will be pine.

    Can I do all of this with an 18 gauge brad nailer? Iíve found a Porter-Cable 18 gauge brad nailer that will shoot up to 2 inch brads.

    Or must I use a 16 gauge finish nailer? I donít want to buy 2 nail guns, if I donít have to.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Mustang, OK
    I just did a bathroom remodel and I used 18 gauge 2" brads and it worked fine. I have a 16 gauge finish nailer but it makes a good size whole to have to fill.

  3. #3
    I've redone about 1/2 of the chair rails and door casings in my house and have used 18ga brads 2". Came out find and is holding 6 years now. Personally, I'd plan on getting at least 2 nailers: an 18ga for trim work and glueups, and a 15ga for light construction projects and crown molding.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Leesville, SC
    For a finish nailer, I like a 15 gauge nail gun that can handle up to 2.5 inch nails.
    Army Veteran 1968 - 1970
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  5. #5
    I'm a trim carpenter by trade, and I use an 18 guage nailer with 1-1 1/4 brads for the inside edge of casing, and a 15 gauge nailer using 2-2 1/2 nails for the outside. Sure you could use a brad nailer for all of it, but the holding power isn't nearly the same.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Mid Missouri (Brazito/Henley)
    I ADMIT IT! I fudged and used my 18ga brad nailer to attach oak wainscot and base in my bathroom remodel! IF you hit the studs squarely, 2" brads hold oak just fine! Soft woods may differ! I enjoy the tiny holes to fill--much less noticable than a 15 or 16ga finish nailer!
    Necessisity is the Mother of Invention, But If it Ain't Broke don't Fix It !!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Allen, TX
    it depends on the size of the casing. in my old 1908 house the casings are a full 3/4 thick and 5.5" wide, even a 15 guage nail won't hold them, i had to use finish screws or they pull loose during seasonal changes. they were originally put up with regular old 8 penny framing nails (lots of them).

  8. #8
    i use my 18g 2" nails for 75% of all my interior trim and my 16g nailer for the rest. door jambs, casings and other trim profiles that receive plenty of stress should always be nailed with a larger nail like the 16g. smaller trim profiles that are purely decorative could be nailed with 18g. regardless of the gauge of the nail you should size the nails to have at least 1" of penetration into the stud.
    Last edited by sean m. titmas; 04-28-2009 at 4:50 PM.

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