Can You Use a Nail Gun on PVC Trim?

Are you keen on using PVC trim as a wood alternative? The great news is, you can use this trim inside and outside the home, and it’s normally very easy to work with and fasten. With that in mind, can you use a nail gun on PVC trim?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to use a nail gun on PVC trim. However, you may not find that it is the best possible way to fasten or adhere your trim. It may seem convenient and quick, however, there are other options available that will likely bring about longer-lasting results.

Keep reading, and we’ll let you know more about using a nail gun on PVC trim, and about any alternatives you may wish to consider, too.

Using a nail gun on PVC trim

Different types of nail guns are fantastic at fastening and securing all kinds of material when it comes to interior and exterior handiwork. That said, you’re going to need a specific kind of nail gun, as well as nails, to ensure your PVC fastens in place. For now, let’s focus on the type of nailer or gun that’s going to work best for this type of job.

Firstly make sure you use a coil nailer, or coil siding nail gun. This type of gun is normally best for more sensitive jobs, and with PVC trim being fairly delicate, you can ensure it adheres and secures relatively quickly (to a high-quality standard, too). A nailer with 15-gauge finish is likely to be a good choice.

Many people choose nail guns such as coil nailers as it often makes securing material such as PVC trim very quick and easy. While screws are generally recommended for securing and fastening PVC trim, nail guns will take care of the job in half the time.

However, that’s not all you need to keep in mind. While a coil nailer will make light work of PVC trim fastening, you’re also going to need to load up on the right nails. What’s more, nail guns can be sensitive tools – if your nail gun isn’t shooting nails at all lately, for example, it may be worth switching it for a drill!

What type of nails do you use on PVC trim?

Ideally, you should use nails that are relatively small if you intend to use them to fasten PVC trim. This is because, again, PVC is very delicate. Always use galvanized nails, and make sure you have a filler or caulk to plug the gaps you leave behind. Keep in mind, too, that the filler will need to be easily paintable.

Stainless, hot-dipped 8d nails will work best for this type of fastening task. The reason why you need to consider hot dipping and galvanization is because of the risk to heat changes in the PVC. As PVC contracts and expands, the wrong nails could lead the material to crack.

When measuring the ideal size of nails for your PVC trim, make sure to measure the trim’s thickness as a priority. Then, you should ideally apply an extra 1.25 inches to this figure. That will make sure the nail has enough room to enter the surface and persist.

When working with PVC trim outside, hot-dip is all the more important. That’s because the metal in your nails will oxidize and wear down. Nails that are resistant to oxidization will last longer in all temperatures outside the home, and will ensure that your PVC trim stays fastened for longer. What’s more, you’re not at risk of moisture causing any damage to your nails.

Again, when working outside, the size of nails you need to use in your nail gun may vary, too. 8d is a very safe bet for indoor nailing (small is better, trust us). However, you need to measure up that trim outside and look for specific lengths if you’re into exterior fastening.

Ultimately, if you’re concerned, make sure to read any documentation provided with your PVC trim and find out which fastening standard is likely to work best. What you may find, of course, is that nails may not be the best possible choice!

Filling your PVC trim nail holes

If you do choose to use a nail gun to fasten PVC trim, always make sure to seal up any of the holes you leave behind. That’s because if you leave them open, you’ll leave your fasteners – and the trim itself – at risk of getting moist, and therefore potentially cracking open.

As advised, using a paintable caulk system normally works best, though, a cortex system that’s actually developed with PVC trim in mind will always be the number one option.

Providing you seal these holes up, there should be little need for you to worry about the trim cracking, warping, or otherwise getting damaged by the weather. What’s more, sealing up your nail holes means there’s even less chance of your nails oxidizing in the outside air, too.

Don’t just fill up your holes in exterior trim – fill them up inside, too – it’s good practice, on the whole!

Should I use a nail gun for PVC trim?

The problem with using nails at all in PVC trim is that they stand more chance of cracking and damaging the surface when you fasten it. Nail guns are perfectly fine to use with PVC trim if you use the right tool and the best size in nails, however, there are likely to be options that secure your trim even easier. Even the best cordless nail guns can only do so much!

In fact, you may wish to reconsider screws. While slower to fasten with (you’ll likely need a drill), screws work better when fastening this type of trim both inside and outside. PVC trim is a fantastic resource, but it’s always at risk of some kind of fracturing if the fasteners aren’t tight enough.

Personally, if it’s your first time working with PVC trim, we’d probably advise using screws in the first instance. Unless you really know your way around PVC and/or specialist nailing equipment, there are too many risks you can easily avoid with a drill and screwdriver instead.

Conclusion

There’s no harm in using a nail gun to fasten and fix PVC trim. However, it might not bring you the best long-term results. That said, PVC trim is not necessarily the strongest material in the first instance! It’s a great wood look alternative, however, and a sensitive material deserves as strong of support as possible.

If you do wish to use your nail gun on PVC trim, make sure to load up the most appropriate tool, and be very careful with the length and type of nail you fasten with!