Buying Metal Roofing Tools: How to Choose a Nail Gun

A hammer is usually the best way to drive a nail, but in terms of roofing tools, a hammer is pretty useless. On the other hand, a quality roofing gun will let you quickly and accurately drive in thousands of nails a day with very little maintenance. There are many kinds of nail guns on the market, so read on for information that will help you decide which is best for you.

Nail Gun Types

There are 2 types of nailguns that are widely used by roofers. The styles are set apart by the style of clip and the type of nails that they use.

  • Stick - These nail guns use nails that are attached by strips of paper, plastic or very thin wire. When together, the nails resemble a long, slender stick that slides into a magazine on the nail gun. The amount of nails on a stick varies between 20 to 40 nails. You could compare the style to that of a 45 caliber handgun.

  • Coil  - A coil style nail gun uses nails that are held together by a thin wire and stored in a circular magazine. The magazine of the nail gun rolls the string, allowing upwards of 300 nails at a time. You could compare it to a Tommy gun.

A coil nail gun may be the right choice for you if you have a large job. Keep in mind that more nails leads to more weight as well as more likelihood of jamming.

Application and Use

The job you are doing can also determine which type of nail gun would work best. There are some mdoels made specifically for certain applications while others are created to handle a wide array of jobs.

  • Framing - These nail guns are created for fast, high-powered work, like fastening large pieces together as in a house frame.

  • Finish - Very lightweight, these are meant for such applications as furniture and cabinet building.

  • Tackers, Staplers and Brad - Also light, these nailers are mainly used for precision work.

  • Roofing - If you are a roofer by trade, this is the nail gun for you. It is specifically designed to attach shingles.

When shopping for a nail gun, consult a professional at a hardware store who can point you in the right direction for your specific needs.

Power Supply

The 2 most common power sources for nail guns are electricity and compressed air. An electric nail gun runs off of a battery, which can compromise power as the battery weakens. A nail gun that uses compressed air has to have a constant connection to the compressor in order to work, but will maintain its power the entire time.