Do It Yourself: When And How To Use Brad Nails

Brad nails are specially designed for use on molding and trim. Find out some other uses and how to use them correctly with these tips and instructions.

There are many types of nails, and they each work on different types of building applications. The group includes common, roofing, casing, concrete, and spike nails, just to name of few types. One of the smallest members of this group is a nail that's known as a brad. It's also sometimes known as a finishing nail. A brad nail is a light nail that always has a very small diameter and an equally small head on it. A brad nail varies from three eighths of an inch to a full inch in length. There are longer ones available - up to two inches long- but these are usually used with nail guns.

Brad nails are specially designed to be used when you are working inside your house hanging up molding and doing trim work. You can also use a few brad nails if you have glued two or more pieces of wood together, and you need a temporary binder. Since the shafts of these nails are so thin, brads are easy to remove by using the head of a tack hammer or even a pair of pliers.

If you're manually driving in finishing nails, then a light tack hammer will do the trick nicely. Just make sure that you tap it lightly and that you hit it straight with the hammer. If you hit this type of nail too hard with a claw hammer, you can easily bend it. The thin shaft is easily driven into thin wood or plastic molding and trim without splitting or causing other damage to the material. And, the small head makes it almost impossible to detect when you look at the finished wood or plastic.



If you want the head of a brad to be completely hidden, you can use a tack hammer and a small chisel to countersunk it into the material too. Then, to hide the head, simply apply a dab of wood filler or plastic putty to the divot. Allow the filler or putty to dry thoroughly - follow the manufacturer's directions on the container in order to achieve the best results- then, sand it down so it's flush with the surrounding wood or plastic. To finish, stain or paint the entire piece of molding or trim so the putty blends in.

An air powered, electric, or manual nail gun can also be used to drive finishing nails into a wood or plastic material. Once the nails are loaded into the gun, they are released- one at a time - every time you fire the gun. The biggest advantage in using a gun, as opposed to using a tack hammer, is that it cuts your project time down considerably. Instead of tapping away at a brad nail, a gun forces it in by using one shot of air, electric, or manual force.

When you are hanging up wooden or plastic molding or trim, be sure to choose the right sized brad nail for the job at hand. As a rule of thumb, the length of the nail should be equal to two or three times the thickness of the material. That means, for example, if the trim is a quarter of an inch thick, then the brads or finishing nails you use should measure at least three quarters of an inch long.

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