Can You Use A Brad Nailer For Roofing? Learn The Hard Fact

Can you use a Brad nailer for roofing? Or, Is it only suitable for minor furniture or DIY projects? This is a reasonable question when you’re a DIY homeowner with a Brad nailer in your hand.

A brad nailer is a sort of small duty nail gun designed specifically for delicate finish carpentry work. It’s ideal for a variety of DIY projects, including crown molding, decorative trim, baseboards, cabinet assembling, and making a photo frame.

A roofing nailer, on the other hand, is available for roofing work. Roofing nailers are typically used to attach asphalt, fiberglass, or cement roofing shingles. That is to say, they are built to last do heavy-duty work.

We don’t often see Brad Nailer used for roofing because of its small size. We’ll better know the subject once we’ve gone over the details of a Brad nailer and a roofing nailer.

Let’s have a look at them in more detail below.

What Is A Brad Nailer?

A brad nailer is a small duty nail gun intended to handle DIY projects. They are designed to shoot tiny nails compared to framing or finishing nails known as brad.

Brads are made of thin wire not more than 18 gauge or 0.0475 inches thick. They are often headless and long, varying in length ranging from ½ to 2½ inches.

Brad nailers are of two kinds based on the power source: pneumatic and cordless.

Pneumatic brad nailers are needed compressed air driven by an air compressor to run. They are often lightweight and strong in design to support continuous nailing.

Cordless brad nailers, on the other hand, are easy to maneuver as they’re run by batteries or gas cartridges. However, they’re a bit hefty and expensive compared to pneumatic ones.

WEN 61721 18-Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer

What Is A Roofing Nailer?

A roofing nailer is more like a framing nailer in terms of functionality and sturdiness. But it is often designed with a coil magazine instead of the strip to make it petite in shape and reduce the number of reloads.

Its petite shape makes it ideal to work conveniently on the roof and its sturdiness gives it enough strength to drive the roofing nails precisely. Roofing nails are not as long as framing nails, but they are the same in thickness and often the big heads to provide a strong grip on the roofing shingles with the roofing decks. Usually, a roofing nail is 1 to 1-¾ inches long, ⅜ inches in the head and 10 to 12 gauge thick.

Like other nail guns, roofing nailers are also available in two power sources: pneumatic and cordless. However, pneumatic roofing nailers are the most common.

Metabo HPT Roofing Nailer

See Also:

Can You Use A Brad Nailer For Roofing?

We receive a quick overview of both the brad nail gun and the roofing nail gun from the above definitions. This indicates that brad nailers are more suited to driving large gauge nails than roofing nailers. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the nail is and the weaker its gripping strength.

As a result, it is clear that a brad nailer cannot be used for roofing. However, if you want to acquire additional thoughts and opinions on this subject, continue with us till the end.

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Differences Between A Brad Nailer And A Roofing Nailer:

Scope Of Works:

With a brad nailer typically you can do the following light-duty tasks –

  • Installing trim or crown molding,
  • Addition of plain panel or under stair thread,
  • Attaching door or window casings,
  • Light furniture works,
  • Crafting or model making,
  • Crafting ornament boxes or picture frames,
  • Making birdhouses or bat boxes, etc.

With a roofing nailer, you can do the following tasks –

  • Drive nails through asphalt or fiberglass shingles,
  • Fastening metal, wood, or synthetic shingles,
  • Attaching waterproof tar paper,
  • Attaching Insulation boards,
  • Siding installations (in case of blind nailing), etc.

A brad nailer can be used for a variety of light-duty crafts or artworks, as shown above, but a roofing nailer is a specific sort of nail gun that can only be used for roofing or re-roofing and related tasks.


Both nailers share the same internal construction. When it comes to the pneumatic variant, compressed air power is commonly used to fire nails. Compressed air from an air compressor enters the nail gun through a regulator at a preset pressure. The pressurized air is then delivered through a pneumatic motor, which converts compressed air’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy, allowing nails to be fired at a precise force.

However, if you look from the outside, you will find a brad nailer is smaller in size compared to a roofing nailer. The magazine arrangement of a brad nailer is typically straight and perpendicular to the drive blade. It often looks like a box. Due to its compact and straight magazine, it can only hold a limited number of nails, usually no more than 100.

On the other side, the roofing nailer looks a bit hefty and sturdier than the brad nailers. They often obtain coil-type magazines instead of straight ones. Because of their coil magazine, they are often called coil roofing nailers and this arrangement makes them compact for easy to maneuver while working on the roof.

Coil magazine also allows them to hold a large number of coil nails. Usually, they can hold 120 nails, which helps to reduce the number of reloads.

Fastener Size:

The nail size has already been discussed in the definition section of both nail guns. A brad nailer is designed to shoot ½ to 2-½ inches long, 18 gauge (1/20 inches) nails known as brad. They are thin and headless. As a result, they’re ideal for applications where you need to conceal nail gun markings while still securing delicate wood trim without splitting it.

A roofing nailer, on the other hand, is designed to fire 1 to 1-3/4 inch long, 10 to 12 gauge (9/64 to 7/64 inches) nails. Roofing nails have a thicker shank than brads and a wide head, the standard size of the head is 3/8 inch in diameter. As a result, they are great for gripping roofing shingles against high wind gusts and are easy to pick off when re-roofing is required.

brad nail vs roofing nail

As a result, it’s evident that the nail size and gauge for a brad nailer and a roofing nailer are not identical. A brad nailer can only drive 18 gauge nails, thus you can’t use it to drive roofing nails. As a reason, a brad nailer cannot be used to secure shingles or other roofing materials.

Gripping Power:

Compared to roofing nails, brads are slightly bigger in length. As a result, you could believe that the brads will penetrate deeper into the decks or wainscoting, giving you additional holding power. However, this is not the case.

The brads are thin and headless while being longer than roofing nails. As a result, they’re better suited to delicate finish carpentry rather than heavy-duty chores like roofing or framing.

Roofing nails, on the other hand, are a little smaller for a good reason. In the case of three-tab asphalt shingles, the shingles are normally 3/16 inches thick. Shingles made of wood or metal are a little thicker. Wood shingles are typically 3/8 to 5/8 inches thick. So, a 1 to 1-3/4 inch nail is sufficient to secure a wood shingle to the roofing deck.

What size nails for roofing shingles

You could believe that a brad nailer can simply drive nails ranging from 1 to 1-3/4 inches in length. So, why can’t a brad nailer be used for roofing?

Yes, a brad nailer can drive that length of the nail, however, it can’t drive nails that are 10 or 12 gauge. The asphalt shingles must also have a broad head to protect them from wind gusts.

Roofing nails with a broad head and extra thick shank provide the needed gripping strength to keep the shingles in place for many years.

Can You Use A Brad Nailer For Cedar Shingles?

Wood or Cedar shingles differ from asphalt or fiberglass shingles in a few ways. They are usually more expensive than standard shingles, but they are more durable and attractive. It can be observed that well-maintained cedar shingles can last for more than 50 years.

Cedar shingle installation necessitates extra caution. Typically, homeowners enlist the assistance of a professional to complete this task. In this scenario, professionals do not use standard roofing nail guns since the roofing nailers have a wider shaft, which increases the risk of damage.

A siding nailer is a superior option in this scenario because it can drive 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ nails effortlessly. To be clear, a brad nailer can be used for the same purpose. However, because the brads are 18 gauge, whereas siding nails are normally 13 gauge, you’ll need a bit longer and a few more nails.


We hope you’ve already received your response. In conclusion, we would like to state that using a brad nailer for roofing and a roofing nailer for finishing carpentry work is not possible. They are both designed for specialized reasons, and neither can be considered a replacement for the work of others.

However, in the case of wood shingles, a coil siding nailer or brad nailer might be used as an alternative.

As a result, the manner of installation will be determined by the materials you choose for your roofing.

Related Reviews:

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10 Best Cordless Framing Nailer
10 Best Finish Nailers For Light-Duty Projects
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Tushar Mirror

Toolsmirror is a group of co-fighters led by Engr. Tushar is dedicated to gathering information, analyzing & test various items, and releasing reviews on various woodwork and outdoor tools. Our mission is to provide our readers with the most up-to-date ideas and approaches, as well as reveal the genuine features that will assist them in selecting the best items for their professions and DIY projects.

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