Siding Nailer Vs Roofing Nailer: Are They The Same Or Different?

Siding Nailer Vs Roofing Nailer

You know, it’s surprising how many homeowners ask themselves this question – should I use a siding nailer or roofing nailer?

In order to answer it, let’s compare them side by side. Roofing nails are designed with a wide head and a pyramidal point that helps the nail be driven into wood or composite decking. Siding tacks have narrower heads and round points to allow them to slide beneath the siding without snagging on the lap joint or other parts of the siding surface. When a roofer attaches shingles to their product, roofing nails are used, whereas siding nails are used to hold the vinyl siding in place.

Some people believe that they’re interchangeable, but there are key differences between both types of nailers. Let’s look at the discussion on siding nailer vs roofing nailer in more depth.

Siding Nailer Vs Roofing Nailer: An Overview

Professional woodworkers know exactly what tools they’ll need to complete their projects and gather them properly. However, as DIY homeowners, we are constantly looking for multi-purpose equipment that may be utilized for a number of tasks. A framing nailer, for example, can be used for a variety of tasks such as framing, decking, sheathing, fencing, hanging picture frames on the wall, assembling furniture, and more.

However, this isn’t always the case, and we regularly have to deal with specialized tasks such as installing hardwood floors and fixing roof shingles or vinyl sidings, which necessitate the use of specialized equipment like roofing nailer or siding nailer. Because regular frame nailers aren’t designed to do those jobs.

The fact that the roofing nailer and siding nailer have such a close resemblance often perplexes us. They not only have the same shape, but they also operate on the same principles.

Roofing Nailer:

They’re not like other types of nail guns you’ve usually seen. They are designed to drive nails into asphalt and fiberglass shingles, watertight tarpaper, or insulating board of various kinds. Roofing nailers are designed precisely for what they are designated for, whether you are installing a new roof or re-roofing.

Coil Roofing Nailer

The roofing nailers are often equipped with coil-type magazines to reduce the number of reloads. Depending on the power source, they can be pneumatic or cordless. Pneumatic roofing nailers are the most common and widely used among them.

Because the roofing season is so brief, roofing nailers are designed to be sturdy enough to be used year after year. Roofing nails, on the other hand, are meant to be easily taken out as the shingles need to be replaced at any moment (due to damage by natural calamity) or after a set period of time.

Siding Nailer:

If you look at the siding nailer the first time, you cannot distinguish it from a roofing nailer. However, siding nailers are particularly built to attach siding to exterior walls instead of driving nails or fixing roof shingles.

Coil Siding Nailer

Siding nailers are frequently used to secure vinyl siding to wood which is retrofit in nature. This means they are prone to crack in extreme weather conditions like the cold or intense sun. If you don’t leave enough space between the nails while nailing, it may break. Siding nailers are designed with these considerations in mind.

Like roofing nailers, the magazine of siding nail guns is also coil type, and they run by either compressed air or battery power. They are usually lightweight and allow the user to work a long time without any fatigue. And they can generally drive comparatively thin heads and longer nails at a faster rate.

The most significant difference between a siding nailer and a roofing nailer, as we’ve seen, is the nails they’re built to shoot. Let’s take a closer look at each of them to learn more about them and determine which one is best for a homeowner.

Roofing Vs Siding Nailer: A Close Comparison

You will find a wide variety of nail guns all using either compressed air or battery or gun powder to fire nails to fasten materials. Each of them has some specific job. But when you compare roofing nailer with siding nailer, you find that both accept coil collation which falls you in confusion.

I hope after reading the below comparison, all the confusion will be eradicated, and you can choose the right tool.

Intent and Design:

Despite their identical architecture and operating principles, they are designed to perform different jobs. Siding nailers, which resemble coil frame nailers, are used to secure exterior sidings such as wood, vinyl, aluminum, or fiber cement. They’re usually strong but light, so they can drive long nails into the siding to keep it firmly in place.

On the other hand, roofing nailers are also coil-type nailers that are used to install asphalt composite shingles (consisting of fiberglass with a mineral or asphalt coating), metal, wood, or synthetic (rubber) shingles. They are usually less expensive and have less power than siding nailers.

Nail Used:

The nails that roofing and siding nailers are designed to fire are the main differentiating factor between them.

As roofing shingles are only meant to last 20 years or less, you’ll need to re-roof your home after that time. Roofing shingles may also be damaged by poor weather or natural disasters, which shorten the re-roofing interval. Roofing nails are made with this in mind. They usually have a large head and a smooth shank that are easy to draw out when needed.

Typically, roofing nails are shorter than siding nails, with a maximum length of 1-3/4 inches. Though, they do not need to be long enough because the roofing materials are typically thin. However, they must have sufficient punching power and strength to puncture the composite or fiber cement shingles easily.

Sidings, on the other hand, are designed to last a long time and do not require as much maintenance as roofing materials. As a result, siding nails are made to be sturdy and non-pull out type. On top of that, to provide better holding capacity, they are usually built with a ring shank. They’re also little heads since they don’t need to pull out frequently.

Though most siding materials (wood, plywood, or vinyl) are not thick enough, they are longer (the standard length of the siding is 2 to 12-1/2 feet, width 8 – 12 inches usually, thickness varies from .035 to 1 inch, and weight ranges from 4.5 to 12 pounds, depending on materials). So, they must be properly installed in the frame in order to hang a long time and respond to external conditions. As a result, siding nails must be long enough to penetrate the structure sufficiently. That’s why they are longer than roofing nails, ranging from 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches in length.

Another aspect we notice is that the roofing nails usually come with a galvanizing coating to protect against rusting, which is also true for siding nails. Hot-dip galvanized siding nails will give you additional strength and durability than average.

Weight Comparison:

The weight of a siding or roofing nailer is entirely dependent on the manufacturer’s design and models. Different models have different weights and occasionally overlap with each other.

Because siding nailers are used vertically, they usually are built lighter than roofing nailers. Users will experience hand fatigue if they use a heavy siding nailer. Siding nailers weigh between 4.5 and 5 pounds, while roofing nailers weigh from 5.5 to 6 pounds.

Price Comparison:

Like weight, the price of siding and roofing nailers varies depending on the model and who makes them. Generally speaking, siding nailers are more expensive than roofing nailers. The cost of a mid-level siding nailer ranges from $150 to $350, and the cost of a mid-level roofing nailer is between $100 and $250.

When we compared the prices of siding nails and roofing nails, we discovered that they differed by the same proportion. Siding nails are more expensive than roofing nails since they are a little longer in length.

Depth Of Drive Adjustment:

Because roofing nails are typically pounded such that they are constantly flush with the shingles, a depth of drive adjustment system in a roofing nailer is not essential.

On the other hand, Siding nails are longer and require constant adjustment of the driving depth dependent on the materials and climate conditions. As a result, a siding nailer must have a variable driving depth.

Magazine Style:

You may be aware that magazine loading mechanisms of nail guns come in two varieties: coil and straight. We see that all of the roofing nailers on the market have coil style magazines, whereas siding nailers have both sorts. Coil style magazines are preferable as they can provide greater leverage by reducing reloading frequency for both nailers.


Though it is recommended to use a siding nailer for siding and a roofing nailer for roofing shingles, and they are not interchangeable. However, you can use a roofing nailer for installing sidings such as Hardie’s siding in some cases.

“You can use a roofing nailer (1-3/4” galvanized nails) to install siding if you “blind nail” them, so you won’t see the nail head at all.”

Said Frank Snyder


If you look at the specifications of both nailers, you’ll notice that there are more similarities than differences. Core specifications, such as dimension, power supply, operation pressure or battery voltage, magazine loading, built materials, and so on, are fully dependent on the nailer models.

Difference In Siding And Roofing Nailer At A Glance

POWERPneumatic and cordlessPneumatic and cordless
MAGAZINE STYLECoilCoil and Straight
NAILSBuilt for oustingAimed to be eternal
NAIL SIZEUp to 1-3/4 inchUp to 2-1/2 inch
NAIL TYPEAluminum, Steel, GalvanizedSteel, Copper, Hot-dip galvanized
COMPATIBLE FORAttach roofing shingles made of fiberglass (mineral or asphalt topping), wood, metal, synthetic (rubber), waterproof tarpaper, etc.Attach sidings made of vinyl, wood, plywood, aluminum, fiber cement, cedar (tongue and groove), etc.
DEPTH OF DRIVEAlmost absent in every modelPresent in many models
WORKING PRESSURENeed less air pressure as not drive deep enoughNeed more air pressure as deeply drive nails
DURABILITYDurable enough to last season after seasonDurable to fire long nails precisely
PORTABILITYComparatively HeavyLighter than roofing nailers
AFFORDABILITYComparatively CheaperA bit higher priced
COMFORTProvide great comfort to do roofing or re-roofingProvide great comfort to attach a wide range of siding and exterior trim

Conclusion: Which Is A Homeowners Must-Have Tool?

If you go through our previous talk on roofing nailers vs siding nailers, you’ll notice that they have a lot of distinctions. As a result, we may conclude that the roofing nailer is the better choice for roofing projects, and the siding nailer is the better choice for siding projects, and one cannot replace the other.

In a nutshell, if a DIY homeowner plans to install their own roofing or re-roofing, a roofing nailer is a must-have. A siding nailer, on the other hand, is a must-have if they plan to install sidings.

They can consider other options, such as employing general-purpose nail guns, but this will not be a good selection, and they may wind up with a huge mess.

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Tools 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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