Can You Use A Nail Gun On Metal Studs? Everything Explained

At being slightly more expensive than wood studs (by about 30%), metal studs are increasingly preferred to wood framing because of their longevity, straightness, lightweight, and improved resistance to mold and fire. Though, attaching baseboard or drywall to metal studs is a rising concern.

It takes a lot of time to drill holes and drive screws to attach drywall to metal or wood studs. As a result, many builders choose to use nails as opposed to screws. However, can a nail gun be used to drive nails into metal studs?

The answer is yes, you can use a nail gun on metal studs, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about using a nail gun on metal studs, so you can get the job done right.

Can You Use A Nail Gun On Metal Studs?

Nail guns are a popular tool among contractors because of their speed, precision, and cost-saving advantages in the competitive market of today. It is typically used to hammer nails into the wood while constructing frames, remodeling homes, or putting together furniture.

But what about using a nail gun on metal studs? Is it safe?

The answer is yes, you can use a nail gun on metal studs. However, you must consider the following factors while using a nail gun on metal or other hard objects.

First, make sure you’re using the right type of nail gun. There are two types of nail guns: pneumatic and cordless. Pneumatic nail guns are powered by air compressors and are the most powerful type. Cordless nail guns are battery-powered and are more convenient to use, but they’re not as powerful as pneumatic nail guns. Usually, the pneumatic nail guns which are run at high pressure (about 15 to 25 bar) are suitable to drive nails into hard objects like concrete, steel i-beams, metal sheet, or studs.

Second, make sure you’re using the right kind of nails. There are two types of nails that can be used in nail guns: standard nails and spiral nails. Among the two, spiral nails will provide more resistance to tugging than regular nails because metal studs are not as thick as wood studs. Additionally, it will be better if you consider a nail with a ballistic point made of heat-treated metal for smooth penetration through hardened steel.

The scope of the project you will work on is a final factor to take into account. Purchasing a nail gun will not be worthwhile if you only need to shoot one or two nails to hang a picture frame or anything similar. An easy drill machine can be used to accomplish it instead.

Benefits Of Using A Nail Gun To Drive Nails Into Metal Studs?

Metal studs are slightly more difficult for nails to penetrate than wood ones. As a result, contractors are preferred to utilize screws to attach baseboards or drywall to metal studs. Using screws to metal studs also gives extra weight-bearing capacity in case of mounting something heavy like a Television. However, before driving screws, you must first drill a master hole, which is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Additionally, drilling may cause little sparks, increasing the risk of a fire. As a result, utilizing a nail gun is preferable when you have a tight deadline.

You can also use a hammer to drive nails through metal studs but that may bring some difficulties too. It will need to employ extra muscle power to swing the hammer. It may also injure you or others as the nails may be slipped or bounced back instead of penetrating into the metal studs.

In keeping with the ideas above, we discovered certain competitive advantages to utilizing a nail gun rather than a drill driver or hammer to connect metal studs. In the beginning, it goes much more quickly than using a hammer or drilling holes for screws. Second, because it is so much more exact, there is less chance that you may hurt the studs. Third, there is significantly less chance that you will hurt yourself or others, and far quieter than using a hammer. And lastly, it helps you save money to be more competitive in today’s challenging market.

If you use standard shanked nails, there is a risk that the nail will pop out. Spiral heat-treated nails, on the other hand, allow you to quickly overcome that difficulty and get additional strength for holding high loads.

You must exercise caution when nailing fragile trims or drywall to metal studs since there is a chance that the vibration from the nailing process can damage the materials.

What Is The Best Nail Gun To Shooting Nails Into Metal Studs?

You can attach the trim molding to metal studs (that are about 20 to 25 gauge thick) easily with a 15 or 16 gauge finish nailer. You will need to choose hardened nails in that case instead of standard nails.

However, if you need to drive nails through more hard metal, you can choose either powder actuated nail gun or a concrete nailer.

Powder-actuated nail guns use powder explosives to drive nails at high force. You can use this type of nail gun to drive nails into concrete, masonry, or metal sheets. The most popular powder-actuated nail gun on the market are Ramset or Hilti.

Concrete T nailers are the best alternatives if you want to avoid using powder-actuated nail guns. Concrete nailers usually use high pressure (15 to 24 bars) to drive nails compared to normal finish or framing nailers. You can check the PowerLite HN120 high-pressure concrete pinner manufactured by Max USA Corp. to drive up to two and a half inches of nails with 2231-inch-pound driving power. Concrete nailers are usually safer than powder-actuated nail guns.

The Steps Of Using A Nail Gun On Metal Studs

There are a few considerations you should make before using a nail gun on metal studs.

First, make sure you have the right type of nail gun for the job. There are a variety of nail guns available, so be sure to select one that is designed for use on metal studs.

Second, keep in mind the size of the metal studs you’ll be working with. The larger the stud, the more powerful the nail gun you’ll need.

Finally, be sure to always use safety goggles and ear protection when using a nail gun. Keep your finger away from the nail gun’s point and only point the nail gun at the target.

Once confirmed the above points, follow the following steps for loading and using a nail gun on metal studs.

  • It’s time to load the nail gun with recommended nails after putting on the essential safety gear. To learn about the nail size and loading technique, always read the instruction manual as it varies from nailer to nailer.
  • Now insert the battery or attach the air hose to the nail gun’s swivel connector. Shoot three to four test nails on a scrap before starting the final nailing if you’re handling it for the first time.
  • Hold the nail gun perpendicular to the surface you’ll be fastening. To avoid weakening or splitting the material you are fastening, aim the nail gun tip at the middle of the stud.
  • Do not hammer nails at an angle. As nailing at an angle to metal studs increases the possibility that the nails may bounce back, injuries may also result. On wood to metal, though, you can slant-drive nails.
  • If everything is ready, squeeze the trigger while depressing the gun’s tip to discharge a nail into the stud. To prevent missed shots, keep the gun stable at all times.
  • Repeat the above process until all of the nails are in place.


When used properly, a nail gun is an extremely adaptable tool that can be used to drive nails into concrete, metal studs or sheets, or other materials in addition to wood. It enables you to finish the assignment more quickly and affordably. If the proper nails are used, you will also gain the required strength from it.

Unfortunately, using screws to adhere drywall or baseboard to metal studs is an expensive and time-consuming task.

Therefore, the best instrument to use on metal studs is a nail gun. All you need to do is to follow some basic techniques and safety precautions we gave earlier.

Additional Resources:

Can You Use A Nail Gun On Brick Walls?
Can You Use A Nail Gun On PVC Trim?
All You Need to Know About Different Types of Nail Guns
What Order Should I Follow To Buy Woodworking Tools?
15 Must-Have Power Tools For Any Home Improvement 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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