Can You Use A Nail Gun On PVC Trim?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

There are all sorts of benefits to using PVC trim instead of wood or other materials. It won’t chip or rot like wood. In fact it is a very long-lasting material as long as it is well cared for. It is not, however, the most forgiving and durable when it comes to installation. As you prepare to install your PVC trim, you might wonder if you can use a nail gun or if you need to choose a more delicate method.

You can use nails from a nail gun to fasten your indoor and your outdoor PVC trim. Make sure you use a coil nailer gun when working on PVC trim, and use the right nail size for the project. Nails, however, are not always the best option. Nails from a nail gun can cause cracking, dents and unnecessary pressure on the PVC when it expands and contracts.

It is definitely possible to install your new PVC trim using a nail gun. There are also a variety of other methods, like glue, screws and other fasteners. If you have your heart set on using your nailer, then know that it is possible. Before you reach for your nailer and start shooting nails into the PVC trim, however, make sure you have the right equipment and know the potential risks involved.

Is It Possible To Use A Nail Gun To Install My PVC Trim?

The short answer is yes, you can use a nail gun to install both interior and exterior PVC trim. But in order to make sure this installation occurs successfully with no damage and long-lasting results, you need to consider a few factors.

For one, PVC is not as forgiving as wood. This means it cracks under pressure. The impact of nails, especially from a nail gun, increases this pressure. This is why many professionals recommend using screws, or even glue as a safer alternative. Still, nails are an option. And if you decide to go this route, you will need to make sure you have the proper equipment to do the job right.

The Proper Equipment When You Use Nail Gun On PVC Trim

Successfully installing PVC trim with a nail gun is all about preparation and using the right tools. Sure, you can use a nail gun, but make sure you are using the right nail gun and the right nails.

The Best Nail Gun For PVC Trim: Coil Finishing Nailer

If you are looking to use a nail gun on your PVC trim there is really only the ideal option – a finishing nail coil nailer. Lower impact coil nailers are the best nail gun option for those trying to nail through materials that are more delicate. More powerful and extreme nailers designed to get through dense wood and other materials should not be used. These types of nailers will surely crack or destroy the PVC trim itself. A coil nailer is able to precisely fasten the PVC without damaging it.

Best Nails For Interior PVC Trim Nails

Just as you need the right nail gun, you also need to make sure you select the proper nails for you PVC trim. If you are securing an interior PVC trim it is best to use a 15-gauge finisher nail, or something close to that range. You can use any standard non-galvanized nails, but that is taking into account that your home’s interior is climate controlled and won’t undergo frequent extremes in temperature.

Best Nails For Exterior PVC Trim Nails

If you are installing exterior PVC trim you will need a slightly different nail. In this case it is best to use something like an 8d nail. For exterior nails you want to make sure you are protecting against rust and oxidation. Therefore using a stainless steel or otherwise properly coasted nail is crucial. Otherwise you might notice rust stains along your PVC trim, as you may have seen in the past while walking by questionable DIY work.

Six Potential Problems Caused By Nail Guns On PVC Trim

Sure, it is perfectly possible for you to use a nail gun on your PVC trim. If you decide to do so, however, you need to be very careful when selecting your equipment and doing the work, as there are several issues that can arise. Here are seven of the most popular mistakes and problems when using a nail gun on PVC trim.

1. You Are Using The Wrong Nail Gun

It is critical you use a coil nail gun and not something more powerful. If you don’t have a coil nailer, you should consider a different method.

2. Selecting The Incorrect Type Of Nail

The wrong type of nail can cause all sorts of problems. It may cause a faulty installation, rust, or damage to the PVC itself.

3. Leaving Big Nail Holes

Nails in general can cause problems. The impact is strong and instant, unlike that of a screw or other installation techniques. This can cause divots and nail holes that require delicate patch work.

4. Excessive Cracking Left From Nail Gun

One of the biggest causes for concern when using a nail gun to install PVC is the potential for PVC cracking. Cracking due to impact, or the nail penetrating too deep are both likely. Making sure you have the proper nails, nail gun and technique are all important.

5. Exaggerated Problem With Expanding And Contracting Of PVC

PVC will expand and contract frequently over its lifetime. This constant ebb and flow can loosen the nails, or even potentially widen any holes created by the nails. While other fasteners like screws are more firmly planted, nails can wiggle loose due to this frequent expansion and contraction.

6. Dent Marks In The PVC Trim

When you nail PVC trim with a nail gun it is possible to push that nail in too far, especially when using the force of a nail gun. This can cause dents or dimples in the PVC. This should be avoided by making sure you have the right size nail and pressure. Practicing on a scrap piece of PVC first is a good way to ensure you won’t have this costly issue.

Reasons To Reconsider PVC Trim

While PVC trim can last a very long time, and won’t rot or crack like wood, there are some reasons you may want to reconsider using it. Wood, while it won’t last forever, may be a better option, especially if you are looking to use a non-coil railgun. Below are the three top reasons to reconsider PVC as a trim material.

It’s Expensive

PVC can be much more costly than wood, especially if you need to have it custom made. It is not as easy to custom size and cut PVC, so it can cost you a pretty penny. Make sure you will get a return on the investment.

Bad For Environment

PVC lasts forever, literally. It is not very eco-friendly, and not always easy to recycle either. Wood, on the other hand, is compostable and biodegradable.

Not Ideal In Weather Extremes

PVC works well in normal weather conditions, but it will not do well in extremes. It expands and contracts in weather. It also can become more vulnerable if exposed to extreme cold and heat. This can cause the nails to loosen and lose their effectiveness.

Concluding Points On Using Nail Gun On PVC Trim

If you are keen to use your coil nailer, you can certainly use a nail gun on PVC trim. Just remember to select the right nails, which will vary based on interior versus interior trim. Make sure you only use a coil nailer, as anything stronger can cause major damage to the PVC. Screws and other fasteners are preferred to nails in general when it comes to installing PVC pipe. Nails are more likely to cause cracks, dents, and other damage than other installation methods, so make sure you are particularly careful.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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