Can You Use a Nail Gun for Decking?

A nice deck can transform a garden and make it the ideal lounging place for relaxation, al fresco dining, reading, and more. Thankfully, building a deck isn’t too difficult, although it is always best to hire professionals for the initial setup. That said, can you use a nail gun for decking if you want to do some garden DIY?

You can use a nail gun for decking. However, in order to ensure your safety and that of anyone who will use the deck, it’s crucial that you use the correct kind of nail gun for this type of job – and generally, that’s going to be a framing gun.

Keep reading, and we’ll take you through a few decking tips – and why it’s worth using the right type of nail gun for this project.


What kind of nail gun can I use for decking? 

When it comes to decking, fencing, siding, and other kinds of heavy-duty jobs that involve thick wood, the perfect nailer to use is a framing gun. Framing nail guns are used for the heaviest-duty jobs and provide the thickest, strongest nails. In fact, framing nail guns commonly use nails that go up to three and a half inches long, which are ideal for decks. 

There are many different types of nail guns that are used for all kinds of projects. It’s easy to assume that one nail gun will do every job – but that’s really not the case. You may think that the best nail guns for woodworking will always support you – but you really need to do some homework.

When building something like a deck, which commonly holds a lot of weight, strength is a key factor. That’s why you need a framing gun to shoot thick, robust nails to hold everything together.

Picking the right nails, too, is important. This is where your gun’s manufacturer comes in handy. What do they suggest in the manual? Can you contact customer care for advice? On the whole, however, you will need a strong set of nails that are stainless steel – given that they will be outside, rusting is a potential problem.

Of course, you need to consider the thickness of your wood, the size of the deck itself and more. As mentioned, three and a half inches tends to be a good benchmark – but if you’re unsure, reach out for professional advice.

In fact, it may be worth asking for support from your decking installer, too, if you are adjusting an existing setup. They may be able to recommend different brands and types of nail guns otherwise, too.

Tips for decking with a nail gun 

If this is your first time using a nail gun for decking, then there are a few things you should keep in mind.

As simple as it may seem, always take your time when using a framing gun and be wary of where your hands and feet are (and even those of those around you). Remember that the nails that you are using for decking are likely very thick and very strong. Moreover, the nail gun that you will be using has been built to insert nails into very thick pieces of wood.

Therefore, it will be no trouble for the tool and its nails to make their way through your fingers and toes! When we’re in a hurry or not fully concentrating, it can be easy to not pay attention, which is when accidents happen. Simply remember to focus, take your time, and always ensure that the path between the nail gun and the wood is completely clear. 

Never insert nails too close to the edges and ends of the planks of wood. By inserting nails too close to the edges or ends of the planks, you run the risk of splitting the wood, thus damaging it and rendering it useless in the bargain.

Plan exactly where the nails are going to go ahead of time, too. Given how easy it is to pick up and use a nail gun, it can also be easy to assume that we can use it anywhere on our deck. Your nails should only be inserted for structural integrity, for which it is essential to make a detailed plan of the deck. Don’t insert them haphazardly.


Nail guns are great for all kinds of woodworking jobs. Nail guns can go through plaster and even into concrete, so why wouldn’t they work well with outdoor planks? 

However, it is essential that you ensure that you have the right kind of nail gun for the job and that you use it safely. Remember to keep children and animals away from any project involving a nail gun – especially as you’re going to be outdoors.

A framing gun and nails of an appropriate length will more than help you get that decking secure – but, as we always say at Renovation Dojo, check out the manual first! It’s there for a reason.