Siding Nailer vs. Roofing Nailer: Which One Should You Use for Your Siding Project?

People may want to use roofing nailers for siding because they already have one on hand or because they prefer the smaller and more compact size of roofing nailers. Roofing nailers are generally more lightweight and easier to maneuver in tight spaces, which can be beneficial when working on a house with limited access to the siding area. 

True is that roofing nailers can be less expensive than siding nailers, which may be a factor for some DIY enthusiasts or professionals looking to save money. 

However, it’s important to note that using a roofing nail gun for siding can result in damage to the siding and potentially compromise the integrity of the house’s exterior. Learn more about differences between roofing nailer vs. siding nailer.

Siding nailer

Can a roofing nailer be used for siding?

Using a roofing nailer for siding can be risky because roofing nails are designed to be more easily removed with smooth shanks and wider heads that hold shingles flush. These features make them less secure when used to attach the siding. Additionally, roofing coil nailers are generally designed to shoot short nails, no longer than 1-3/4″ long, which may not be sufficient to securely attach the siding.

Furthermore, nailing the siding too tightly to the house can prevent the siding from expanding and contracting with changes in temperature and humidity, leading to warping or buckling. Siding nail guns have a depth of drive adjustments and are made to drive longer fasteners, usually up to 2-1/2″, and also allow for the nail to be placed just above the siding, giving it room to move.

Vinyl Siding

Roofing vs. siding nails

The main differences between roofing nails and siding nails are in their design and function. Roofing nails are typically shorter and have a larger head than siding nails. They also usually have a smooth shank, making them easier to remove, and are designed to hold shingles flush against the roof.

Siding nails, on the other hand, are longer and have a smaller head than roofing nails. They often have a ringed or fluted shank to help hold the nail in place and prevent it from backing out. Siding nails are designed to be used with siding materials, which may expand and contract with temperature changes. The longer nail and smaller head allows the siding material to move more freely while still providing a secure attachment to the house.


Can I use roofing nails for siding ?

The differences in design and function make roofing nails unsuitable for use with siding materials, and siding nails unsuitable for use with roofing materials. Using the wrong type of nail can result in a less secure attachment, damage to the materials, and potential safety hazards.

Choose the right siding nails for your house siding

Using the wrong type of nail for the siding material can lead to damage or even safety hazards. For example, vinyl siding requires nails with a smaller head to prevent cracking or breaking, while wood siding may require a larger head to hold the material securely in place. Read more about the best nails for wood siding here.

Can framing nailer be used instead of siding nailer?

Using a framing nailer instead of a siding nailer is not recommended for several reasons. First, framing nailers use thicker and longer nails compared to siding nailers, which can damage the siding material or cause splitting. Plus framing nailers do not have depth adjustment settings, which can result in overdriving the nails and causing damage to the siding or even puncturing through the material.


You should also know that using a framing nailer instead of a siding nailer can compromise the appearance and weather-tightness of the siding installation. Siding nails are specifically designed to hold the siding in place without causing damage and allow for natural expansion and contraction due to temperature and humidity changes.

nail gun

So what are alternatives if I want to save money on siding?

If you want to save money on a project that requires siding, it’s important to consider all of your options. Here are a few alternatives that can help you save money without compromising on quality:

Use a manual hammer and nails instead of a roofing nailer

While using a nail gun can be faster and more convenient, using a manual hammer and nails is a perfectly viable option that is also cost-effective. This is especially true for smaller projects. Find out more about the most important vinyl siding tools.


Rent a siding nailer

If you only need a siding nailer for a short period, consider renting one instead of buying it. This can help you save money upfront and ensure that you have the right tool for the job.


Purchase a used siding nailer

If you’re comfortable with buying used tools, you may be able to find a siding nailer in good condition for a lower price. Just be sure to inspect the tool thoroughly before making a purchase.

Consider alternative siding materials

If the cost of siding nails and a nail gun is still too high, consider using alternative siding materials that don’t require nails or a nail gun, such as vinyl siding that snaps into place or cement board siding that is screwed onto the wall.

Stay safe when using a siding nail gun

When using a siding nail gun, safety should be a top priority. Always wear protective gear, including safety glasses, ear protection, and a dust mask.

Before operating the nail gun, make sure it’s properly adjusted to the right depth and pressure for the type of siding you’re using. Keep your hands and fingers away from the firing area and avoid placing them in front of the tool’s muzzle.

When reloading the siding nailer, make sure it’s turned off and disconnected from the power source. Always point the tool away from yourself and others when reloading. And finally, when you’re finished with the job, store the nail gun in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets.

My name is Donald and I am the main author of this little page. I love working around the houses during the day and writing articles about house improvement in the evening. If you have any questions, just ask in the comments! If you need professional siding services use the form.


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