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Can you use brad nails for HardiPanel in Central Florida?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 22, 2012 ~ No Comments

Humidity and temperature do not change to much in central Florida and I wanted to know if I could use a brad nailer for the cement fiber 4' x 8' panels.

Joseph - FL

Jeffrey Anderson

Joseph, I know it might be tempting as air tools can be so easy to use, but I would not recommend using a brad nailer to install your fiber cement siding. I made the same mistake many years ago when installing some wood fencing. The only air tool I had at the time was a brad nailer and it looked like it might work, so I gave it a shot - within two years every board had to be re-nailed.

Hardiplank siding is very heavy and while you may have mild temperatures in Florida, there is also the occasional hurricane that passes through. James Hardie's website has detailed instructions on how their fiber cement products should be installed in your region and I don't see brads mentioned. I suggest using the fasteners they recommend to keep the siding on your home in the event of a major storm and also to avoid having a problem with their warranty.

Their instructions are based on whether the home has wood or steel framing and the type of intermediate sheathing on the exterior. I would use one of the fastener options they provide and also pay close attention to the nail spacing for your type of construction.

Depending on the size of your home, it may be worth your while to invest in a pneumatic framing nailer for the siding. It can be difficult to nail through fiber cement with a hand hammer. Many installers have to pre-drill holes for that type of application to give their arms a break and to avoid cracking the siding. An air-nailer should make the job much easier and ought to work with the same compressor that you use with your brad nailer.

If you decide to purchase a pneumatic nailer, make sure it will accept the type of nails that James Hardie recommends for Hardiplank.

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