Pneumatic nailers have been saving time (and thumbs) since 1950. They are common on jobsites from after breaking ground to completing final punch list items. Framing nailers build the bones; roof nailers (or coil nailers) secure shingles, wrapping, and siding; and finish nail drivers secure trim nails. All of these nailers use wood as a common substrate. But what if you need to drive into concrete? This requires completely different tools. We show you how to use a concrete T-nailer and provide the information you need to know before you get started.
Table of contents
- About Concrete T Nailers
- What are T-nails?
- How to Use a Concrete T-Nailer
About Concrete T Nailers
Tools such as the Bostitch MIII Concrete T-Nailer drive 2-1/4-inch T-nails. The MIII has a more industrial design with a tougher look than its dowel brother.
The entire housing on this particular model from Bostitch is made of aluminum, not the plastic you'll see on other nailers. Considering the harsh environment that concrete nails provide, this is a great feature.
T-staple guns are usually loaded with a large number of T-nails. Not as bulky as standard wood nails for roofing or framing, T-Nailers offer capabilities more in line with finish nailers. Knowing how to use a concrete T-nailer means you can also use any pneumatic or battery-operated finish nailer.
What are T-nails?
Concrete T-Nailers use T-nails to secure any combination of wood, concrete, and steel. Although this nailer is less common than wood deck nailers, it is suitable for many applications. You can pin:
- nail strip
- steel channel fixed to concrete
- scale strip
- joist hanger
- Sheet metal to truss
- metal door and window frame
- plywood to concrete
- Wire lathe installation
- steel belt
- the fence
- cabinet frame
Similar to brad nails, T-nails are organized by temporarily fusing them together. This allows them to be packed more compactly and densely than if they were organized with wire, paper or plastic. Larger sized frames, coils, and finish nailers require different finishing methods.
There are a variety of powder-actuated concrete T-nailers on the market that you can use. These tools may require a license to be used correctly in your region. There are powerful aerodynamic alternatives that do not require such a license, such as the popular Bostitch MIII. We found these more convenient, even though they tether the user to the compressor.
Also, be sure to consider the age and density of the concrete substrate. This will determine the length and gauge of T-nails required. Generally, longer nails are suitable for brittle concrete. Shorter nails may not hold in place, but just carve a hole.
If you're an apprentice wondering how to use a concrete T-nailer, it's very similar to using any other nailer. We won't stress this point. Just follow the steps below:
Load the fastener into the magazine. T-nails are side loaded like most other finishing nailers. Pull back the magazine and place the peg in it so the peg is pointing in the direction of the fire. After inserting the nail, slide the magazine cover back into place until it clicks.
Participate in safety
Nailers have safety mechanisms built into the body of the tool. Pressing it against the material gives you the freedom to pull the trigger and fire the nail. With most T-nailers, you don't have to worry about protecting the surface of your material. So most don't include those little plastic nose guards you often see in hardcover staplers. If for some reason, you want to install one of these, be sure to disconnect the air to the tool before touching the front end of the nail gun. You don't want a shot in your hand by mistake!
pull the trigger
The next step – logically – is to pull the trigger. You tend to feel some impact when driving into concrete. Just make sure to get a firm grip and press firmly on the material. T-nailers typically use 14-gauge nails, so you'll get more feedback from the tool than you can with corner-head nails into pine or oak.
With a concrete T-nailer, we also tend to drive one nail at a time. You don't usually see collisions on these tools. Slow and steady T-nails work better.
Check your work!
The last step we recommend is checking the fasteners for security. This step seems to be especially important for old, low density or brittle concrete.
You'll notice that the T-Nailer has many of the same features as other pneumatic nailers. Since the work requires more strength, it may be a bit heavier in structure.
wrap it up
We hope you found this article helpful! If you're a pro and have any concrete T nailer tips to share, add them in the comments below, or get social and post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!