Choosing the Right Brad Nails for Shiplap: A Comprehensive Guide

In the world of construction and woodworking, shiplap has made a triumphant return as a beloved design feature. Its classic, rustic charm and versatility have made it a favorite among contractors, construction workers, and DIY enthusiasts. To ensure that your shiplap project stands the test of time, selecting the right brad nails is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of shiplap and explore the intricacies of choosing the perfect brad nails for your project.

The Beauty of Shiplap

Shiplap, with its distinctive horizontal wooden planks, has been gracing interiors for centuries. It adds character, warmth, and a touch of nostalgia to any space. Whether you’re revamping a room or creating an accent wall, shiplap is a design element that can truly transform your project.

The Role of Brad Nails

Brad nails are the unsung heroes of shiplap installation. They are slim, small-gauge nails with a tiny head, making them ideal for attaching shiplap without compromising the clean, seamless look that’s characteristic of this design. The right brad nails will secure the planks firmly in place, ensuring your shiplap wall remains beautiful for years to come.

Choosing the Perfect Brad Nails for Shiplap

Selecting the right brad nails for your shiplap project involves considering several factors:

1. Nail Length

The length of the brad nails is crucial. They should be long enough to secure the shiplap to the wall or studs but not so long that they protrude through the planks. Generally, nails between 1.5 to 2 inches in length are a good choice.

2. Nail Gauge

Brad nails come in various gauges, with 18-gauge and 16-gauge being the most common choices for shiplap. The gauge indicates the thickness of the nail. An 18-gauge nail is thinner than a 16-gauge nail, which means it leaves smaller holes and is less likely to split the wood.

3. Nail Head Style

Consider the head style of the brad nails. Some have flat heads, while others have slight domes. The choice of head style can affect the flushness of the nail with the wood’s surface. For shiplap, flat-head brad nails are often preferred.

4. Material of the Wall

The type of wall or surface you’re attaching the shiplap to is also important. If you’re nailing into drywall or studs, you’ll need different brad nails than if you’re nailing into plaster or another material. Make sure the nails are appropriate for the surface.

Tips for Flawless Shiplap Installation

To ensure that your shiplap installation is flawless, consider these tips:

  • Plan and Measure: Carefully plan your layout and measure the planks to ensure they fit perfectly. Use a level to keep your planks straight.

  • Use a Pneumatic Brad Nailer: A pneumatic brad nailer is a great choice for shiplap installation. It provides consistent power and ensures the nails are driven in evenly.

  • Spacing Matters: Leave a small gap between planks to account for wood expansion. Spacing can add to the design and allows for natural movement.

  • Fill and Sand: After nailing, fill any holes with wood filler, sand the surface, and paint or finish your shiplap as desired.

Safety Precautions

When working with brad nailers, safety is crucial. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris, and use hearing protection, especially in noisy environments. Keep your hands and body clear of the nailer’s path and disconnect the power source or release air pressure when not in use.


Shiplap is a timeless design element that can elevate any space. Choosing the right brad nails for your shiplap project is essential for ensuring a clean, professional finish. By considering factors such as nail length, gauge, head style, and the wall material, you’ll be well on your way to shiplap success. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your brad nailer, and embark on your shiplap journey with confidence. Your beautifully transformed space awaits!

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