Can a Nail Gun Go Through Concrete?

Given that nail guns can make our lives a lot easier by saving on effort, many of us now have them among our other tools as our go-to equipment. However, it is essential to know that different types of nail guns are used for different reasons and different projects. Can a nail gun go through concrete, generally?

Yes – you can use a nail gun to go through concrete, however, it’s only specific nail guns and nailers that can manage this! Therefore, don’t just expect your average nailer to handle the job.

In this article, we will look at nail guns that can and should be used for concrete and how you can use your tool to insert nails safely.


What is a concrete nail gun? 

As mentioned, not all nail guns can be used in concrete. In fact, trying to use just any nail gun in concrete can cause a serious accident by damaging your tool, ricocheting nails off of the concrete, and more. Just don’t try it, even if you have one of the best palm nailers for general jobs!

Thankfully, there is a nail gun that you can safely use in concrete, and that is a pneumatic nailer, also known as a .22 nail gun. 

You may wish to use a nail gun on concrete if you wish to attach baseboard to a concrete wall, or if you need to carefully attach studs to a similar surface. You’ll even likely find a concrete nail gun to be useful when setting up a basement area, or when you want to set up cabinets across your harder walls.

Essentially, you’re going to need a piece of kit that’s going to penetrate the concrete without creating any additional stress or debris. That’s why your standard nailers just won’t cut it!

Let’s take a look at how you might use a concrete nail gun in practice.

How to use a concrete nail gun 

Given the raw power behind concrete nail guns, it is essential to know how to use them safely. Of course, some of these points will apply if you use general nail guns. However, this is an industrial grade option – so if you’re going to be extra careful, now is the time.

Here are a few things for you to bear in mind before using your concrete nail gun for the first time: 

  • Concrete nail guns are extremely powerful and can easily harm or even kill someone if not used properly. It is always best before using any nail gun to ensure that no children, animals, or any kind of distraction are around you. 
  • Loading the cartridge before loading the nail runs the risk of your concrete nail gun misfiring and shooting the nail right into you. In order to avoid any accidents, it is always best to load the nail first and the cartridge after. 
  • Always use safety goggles when using a concrete nail gun. Even though it may seem a little odd, blowback from the nail entering the concrete can cause serious injury. To better ensure your safety, always wear safety goggles. 
  • It is also wise to wear hearing protection. Concrete nailers are, by and large, extremely loud – trust us on this one, you’re going to need to protect your ears.
  • Your concrete nail gun is like any other gun and should not be pointed at anything but the directed area that needs nailing.
  • Be careful of concrete nail guns that automatically reload. Many automatic nail guns exist – they are more convenient, however, they are also significantly more dangerous than the average. You are better off using a nail gun that needs to be reloaded after each nail has been inserted.
  • Never use a concrete nail gun at an angle. It’s a matter of safety – keep it perpendicular!
  • Always follow the manufacturers’ guidance. As we always say, the manual knows best – and given that a concrete nail gun is a serious piece of kit, it makes sense to follow things to the letter!
  • Never drill a hole before inserting the nail with a concrete nail gun. Drilling a hole in concrete beforehand can actually be dangerous, and it is safer to insert the nail directly into the material with the concrete nail gun. 

Should I use a standard nail gun with concrete?

Using a standard issue nail gun with concrete simply isn’t going to work. You need a nailer with enough force and the right nails to penetrate the tougher surface, and what’s more, using an inappropriate nailer could lead to ricochet and accidents.

A nailer that will go through plaster is never likely to work the same for concrete. Therefore, always look for a specialist tool. 

A concrete nail gun is, therefore, always going to be your best choice for this kind of job, or if you come across any masonry that’s going to need boarding up. If you don’t feel safe nailing concrete, it’s worth speaking to a professional.

However, providing you use the right tools and follow the manufacturer’s guidance, there are no reasons why you can’t make this project work for you.