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framing nails vs screws

Posted by andrelaplume2 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 19, 09 at 13:48

Starting to finish my basement. I want to be up to code. I am getting different opinions on using screws vs nails (I have no nailer...will use a hammer)

Are 16D screws to big for affixing vertical studs to their top and bottom plate. I plan on building the wall on the floor, thus nailing thru the top / bottom plate into the stud? 16D seems big....is that code or is it 12D. What if I am toenailing, what size?

How about screws, I have some coated primaguard 3" screws but understand these are no code compliant in PA...?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: framing nails vs screws

I can't give you a code answer; you should ask the local building department about that. However, I would discourage the use of screws over nails from a pragmatic standpoint. Screws are generally not as malleable as nails, and some are downright brittle. That means that, while they're strong, they break under stress more easily than nails. Then there is the cost. I suggest you do this project with nails and view it as an opportunity to develop your nailing skills.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

If you want the holding power close to a screw, but have the lateral,(down force), requirements that nails give, you can use ring shank nails. Be advised however that when mistakes are made, better to cut the ring shanks with a metal blade/reciprocating saw rather than trying to pull the ring shank out.

Here is a link that might be useful: maze nails


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RE: framing nails vs screws

The building code has a minimum nailing schedule for structural members so I doubt what you are doing is covered. Bearing wall studs end nailed through the plate must have two 16d.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Re:
The building code has a minimum nailing schedule for structural members so I doubt what you are doing is covered. Bearing wall studs end nailed through the plate must have two 16d.

not exactly sure what that means...there are NO bearing walls. There will be 2 walls up against the XPS/Concrete foundation walls, a wall under a beam and a few stubby walls for a closet.

So, what the best nails to use through the end plate and if I need to toenail....16D 12D.....?

THANK YOU ALL!!!


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RE: framing nails vs screws

For nailing through the plate into the stud, 16d's. I like to use 10d's for toenailing as i feel 8d's are a tad small, but 8's are fine for that if that's all you can get. Code here requires four- 8d's stud to plate when toe nailing. I feel that takes a lot out of the stud, so that's why i use 10 d's two nails on one side, one 10 d in the middle of the stud the other.


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RE: how long!

sounds like a box of 16Ds and a box of 10Ds. Actually I remember seeing 16D 3.5" and 12D 3"....will the 12's suffice...I think the 10Ds are only 2.5".....


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Screws are not normally tested (or made) to the same standards as nails.

Hardened screws (like drywall ones) are especially bad.

Instead of bending under an overload the screws fracture.

Stick with correctly sized nails for structural work.


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pre-drill

If you aren't handy with a nail and hammer, before placing the stud, pre-drill the angle of the toenails slightly smaller than the shank of the nail in the stud ends. Place the stud, toenail away!


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RE: framing nails vs screws

One other tip...
If you aren't very good at toenailing, you can use a "helper": cut a block from a 2X4 that's the same length as the space between the studs (usually 14-1/2"). Put the block in the space, toenail the upright stud from the one side, then remove the block and toenail from that side. The block will keep the stud from moving over as you nail.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

I like those ideas. I thought of predrilling the angles but was not sure if that somehow weakend anything. I know it takes longer but I have time.

I like the helper method to.

Now only length eludes me. The 16Ds by me are 3.5" long...I assume that will suffice for nailing thru the plates into the bottom/tops of studs...not too long I hope. These have flat heads.

The 10Ds reccomended above only come in length = 2.5" by me. Is this too short for toenailing? Should I toenail with the 12Ds that are 3" long? Is flat used for toenailing or a finishing nail?

Also, I was going to grab the galvenized nails (THE GREEN BOXES, NOT THE YELLOW AT HD/lOWES)since I will be going thr pt lumber for base plates. I assume they will be fine for regular wood...perhaps overkill.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Maybe this link will help. Galvanized are fine but a little harder to drive. Better holding strength,imo.

Here is a link that might be useful: nail size/chart


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Thanks ALL! I'll toenail with 10Ds.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Hi Your last post got my attention. You said you were using pressure treated lumber. I believe they changed the poison in thier formula and it causes corrosion on nails. I believe Ca requires stainless steel nails. You May want to check it out.
Good Luck Woodbutcher


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RE: framing nails vs screws

...looking at the box and it says for treated wood...thanks!


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Restrictions where I live, your requirements may be dfferent:

For pressure treated I have to use either stainless or G185 (a type of hot dipped) nails.

And the same as everyone else said...two 16d through the sole and cap plates and into the end grain of the stud, or four 10d if toenaiing.

Any framing in contact with any concrete has to be PT framing.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Finishing a basement is exempted from Code compliance in Pennsylvania.*

You need no permit to finish an existing basement...

You do not need to comply with the PA Uniform Construction Code (ie. 2006 International Residential Code) or any other code when finishing a basement in Pennsylvania.

You can do whatever you want provided you are not making structural changes or changes to the means of egress (ie. the basement stairs).

That said, I agree with the the other posters who recommend nails over screws.

However, if you wish to build to Code for Pennsylvania, toenailing requires 3 8d nails or 2 16d nails per stud (top and bottom).

Top nailing, 2 16d nails per stud (top and bottom).

Nails must be hot dipped galavanized if used with ACQ lumber.
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*Some municipalities have pre-existing local ordinances that require permits for finishing basements. Most do not. Check with your local Code office for details.

You can determine whether your municipality requires a permit and Code compliance by clicking the link below.

If your Municipality notes "Amendments", it may require a permit to finish a basement. If the Municipality shows "No Amendments", it does not.

The name and phone number to contact your Municipal Building Code Official is located in the same link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pennsylvania Municipal Code Adoptions and Code Officials


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RE: framing nails vs screws

There IS the matter of whether or not you have enough ceiling height to raise built in place walls. If you are planning a drop ceiling, you will probably have enough room. If your exterior walls go right up tight under the floor joists, you won't have room to build the walls and then raise them in place. You'll have to piecemeal them after fastening the sole plate down.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

Why would it be an issue to build the wall on the floor and raise it? The top plate woud attach to the floor joists. Exterior walls go up to sill, joists rest on that. I would think you might have to build the wall an 1/8" shorter to tilt it into place. What am I missing here...never did this so I likely am missing something! NOt sure how the dropped ceiling I will install after the fact come into place.

Now I just learned I may have access to a helper with a nail gun so maybe I am better off securing the top and bottom plates and then just adding the studs every 16".


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RE: framing nails vs screws

I've often cursed those screws for their brittleness but hadn't thought how that would affect framing, a very good point.

I guess there's still a use for those hammers after all, since I couldn't afford a real framing gun, as I understand it, the cheap ones are the clipped head? I've heard that's not acceptable for actual framing.

Having said all that, I screwed together the carport I built in Australia, and it's held up pretty well, including high winds - especially since it's not fully braced, as my (now- ex-wife) refused to let me brace it as they'd be 'ugly' lol.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

"Why would it be an issue to build the wall on the floor and raise it? The top plate woud attach to the floor joists."

The diagonal off the built wall is longer than the height of the wall.
When houses are built there is not usually anything above the floor you are working on.
The distance may only be a fraction of an inch, but it will prevent the wall from being stood vertically if it is tall enough to be snug against the bottom of the joists above.


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RE: framing nails vs screws BOTH

If you want some of the rigidity that screws provide, use nails as required by code and then drive in a few screws besides.

Nothing in code should prohibit this. I have done it plenty of times on DIY projects. You get the bending strength of nails along with the solid connection from the screws.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

In regards to building a wall to exactly fit: you can have an extra plate already on the floor (and anchored) that will give you more than enough room to build the wall flat and then raise it. (If there are lots of obstructions in the ceiling, then the side that's closest to the wall goes up first. This matters only if there's something not symmetrical in the wall.)

However, and it's a really big however, you need the wall to fit the shortest space available.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

I don't think anybody has mentioned it, but to me the most important consideration in creating a strong toe-nailed joint is technique. Whether you use 8d, 10d or 12d, the nail should be driven at 30 degrees (not 45) and should be started 1/3 of it's length from the plate. And, of course, don't split the stud.

That sounds simple enough, but in practice it takes attention to detail to get it accomplished. For example a nail won't start at 30 degrees, so I give it a couple of taps at a 45 or 60 degree angle to 1/8 to 1/4" inch penetration and then bend it up with my fingers to 30 degrees before driving it home. When you're bending it up, you want to be sort of weaving the nail tip in the wood grain, not actually bending the nail. (If the nail bends, you've penetrated too far before bending.) This weaving action of the tip actally helps prevent splitting of the end of the stud, which is especially important with the 10 or 12d nails.

And of course, use common nails, rather than sinkers, which are too skinny to form a stong bond.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

A 16d sinker/cooler nail is the same size as a 12d common nail and has either a cement/vinyl or bright finish and a crosshatched head. The only drawback for this use is that it is not hot dipped galvanized although I doubt it matters much in an interior dry environment. A 16d cement coated sinker nail would have a greater resistance to withdrawal than a 12d common nail and the same lateral resistance but I doubt it matters for this installation.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

manhattan42, I was checking out the link Pennsylvania Municipal Code Adoptions and Code Officials. I live in West Lampeter township. The site states for my township no amendments, however I was required to get a building permit to finish my basement. My neighbors have also been required, is this site up to date. How can they require me to get a building permit if this is true. Just wondering if you had more insight on this topic. Thank you for your help.


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RE: framing nails vs screws

  • Posted by
    shaun the electrician not
    (shn28@yahoo.com) on
    Sun, Jan 16, 11 at 0:50

Thank you all for your coments I read them all, because I am an electrician with 23 yrs under my belt. Now I am helping my son remodel and when it comes to framing I am a good Electrician. We built our first wall today, what a night mare. He wanted to use screws, but, I said "no" cause I new there was a reason you guys swing those hamers or shoot your guns. We had hell I got the right nails but again, sparky cant hit a nail and dont know the tricks, however, my son (very head strong) had it in his head how to build it with screws, however, I got nails and as I am buying them. Then he tried to build what was in his head, I wish I would have gotten screws cause what a cluster fck that was. My hat is off to you guys no wonder you are usually the General Contractor on the job cause you no what to nail in first. We did use the pilot drill method and it worked great but my god If in I had to build a house with nails I would shoot myself for lack of hitting the head. Thank you for the help and keep posting and if I can help you with any electrical needs let me know cause I am way out of my depth on buildig things. Thanks


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