What Nails To Use For Fiber Cement Siding?

A strong home exterior is essential for a long-lasting home. Using fiber cement siding is one of the best additions to your home exteriors, and you might be wondering what type of nails to use to avoid chipping or breakage. We did extensive research, and here's what we found.

Siding nails are the best nails to use for fiber cement siding. This is because of the length, head size, and nature of nails. These nails are built specifically for this purpose.

When installing fiber cement siding in your home, there are many things you should know about sidings and how to properly install them. Keep reading to learn more.

Man installing fibrous cement siding with nail gun. What Nails To Use For Fiber Cement Siding

What Nails Is Best For Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiber cement siding (or cladding) is a building material made of cement, wood pulp or cellulose, and silica combined with a few other products.

Installers and many homeowners use fiber cement siding because of its many benefits. They are often lightweight due to the materials used in production, and using the wrong nails can cause cracks and, in some cases, completely damage the coating.

Stack of new roof tiles sheet Asbestos Concrete fiber cement and Siding Standard gray color.

When siding, the best set of nails to use are siding nails. Siding nails are available in lengths ranging from 2 to 2 ¼ inches long, allowing the siding to effectively move back and forth due to thermal expansion.

Similarly, siding nails are usually galvanized or stainless steel, which prevents long-term corrosion, as these nails are not meant to be removed since they are expected to hold the fiber cement sidings firmly for a lifetime.

Factors in Selecting Siding Nails for Fiber Cement

There are many things to consider when selecting a siding nail for your fiber cement since they come in different sizes. Some of these include:

The Thickness of Fiber Cement

When choosing your nails, pay close attention to the thickness of the fiber cement to get an idea of ​​the length of nails you should get.

Whichever siding nail you choose, it should be able to penetrate the cement at least 1.5 inches deep and still have 1/4 inch clearance to allow for thermal expansion due to temperature changes.

Color Of Fiber Cement

As much as fiber cement is used as protection against harsh weather conditions, its beautification purposes cannot be underestimated. Always select hot-dipped galvanized siding nails that have the same color or a color that can blend with your fiber cement.

Fiber cement siding is more durable and requires little or no maintenance when installed properly. Always use the right nails so you can enjoy all of the endless benefits of fiber cement sidings.

How To Attach Fiber Cement Siding

Installing fiber cement is a lot easier than you think, and while installation is time-consuming and expensive, avoid skipping steps or shortcuts.

Since this material will protect your home from the elements like rain, you shouldn't take any chances.

Steps To Follow

You can attach a fiber cement siding by following the steps listed below:

  1. Safety comes first – you should always wear eye protection when installing fiber cement siding.
  2. The first fiber cement siding should be positioned ¼ inches below the starter strip.
  3. Nail the siding to the studs 1 inch below the top of the siding. – Use hot-dip galvanized nails.
  4. Make sure the nail penetrates the siding at least 1¼ inches. – Remember, don't overdrive or underdrive the nails.
  5. Leave a gap between each trim, especially around windows and doors, according to the siding manufacturer's preference. 
  6. Cover butt joints with flashing strips to prevent leaks and allow water to drain easily.
  7. Make sure every piece of siding covers the nailing of the one before it.
  8. Remember to leave a 1-inch clearance between the flashing and the siding at the flashing location.
  9. Caulking should be done after the siding is complete and applied to the area around the trim, including the gaps between windows, doors, and siding.

You should also know that the instructions for installation varies based on the manufacturer of the fiber cement.

While some require you to use weatherproof paper before installing the fiber cement siding, others do not. Therefore, you should take the time to research the installation instructions of the various fiber cement manufacturers. 

Can You Use a Hammer For Siding Nails?

The answer is yes. You can always choose to use a hammer to drive the siding nails, although the manual nailing method takes much longer than using a nail gun.

Care should be taken to avoid driving the nails too far or applying excessive pressure, which could cause the sheathing to crack.

Drilled holes are generally recommended when using the manual method, that is, hammering.

What Do You Put Behind Fiber Cement Siding?

At this point, you might be thinking about what the back of the fiber cement siding should look like. Studs are what you put at the back of your cement siding. The studs at the back serve as a framework for your nailing the fiber cement siding.

What Kind of Nails Do You Need For Hardie Siding?

Hardie industries manufacture Hardie siding. Like fiber cement siding, it is also lightweight and can easily break if not handled properly.

Hardie siding uses the same type of nails as other fiber cement products. You should use nails 1¼  to 2½ inches long, depending on the thickness of the siding, and the nails should be galvanized.

Metal construction nail for roofing. Fasteners

In general, like other manufacturers of fiber cement siding, Hardie Industries does not cover products damaged by improper installation, including those damaged by improper nails.

Therefore, it is very important to use the right nails, especially when using Hardie sidings.

Can You Use a Framing Nailer Hardie Siding?

Framing nailers are a popular choice for homeowners and contractors during construction. Now you might be wondering if you need a siding nailer to nail your siding even though you already have a framing nailer at home.

Yes, framing nailers can be used for siding as they require larger nails than other nailers. Luckily, framing nailers can nail siding because the nailer only drives long nails, and siding nails are much longer than other nails. However, siding nailers will not function in areas that require a framing nail.

Check out this framing nailer on Amazon

Man using a framing nailer on a 2x4 stud against a white background.

However, you should be aware that framing nailers are sometimes not recommended for siding as they are more labor-intensive than using a siding nailer.

No matter what you decide, it's the type of nail that matters, so if your framing nailer can drive the nails your Hardie siding needs, you can use it.

Can You Use Roofing Nails For Hardie Siding?

Many might argue that roofing nails could replace siding nails and be used for Hardie siding. Although this usually works well, it is incorrect because roofing nails are not designed for siding.

When installing a fixture on a building, there must be at least a ¼-inch clearance between the Hardie fixture and the studs.

Siding nails are designed to provide a lifetime of service to the siding boards and are usually galvanized for this purpose. Roofing nails, on the other hand, tend to rust over time.

Additionally, using roofing nails for Hardie siding can even crack or completely ruin the siding, and it will take more effort and money to repair or completely replace the siding.

Does Hardie Siding Need To Be Nailed To Studs?

Typically, during nailing in every construction work, you will need something to nail your workpiece to. The studs serve as a framework to properly nail your sidings without worry. 

Builder Using Pneumatic Framing Nailer to Secure Roof Truss

Hardie sidings are no exception and therefore require some kind of framework, in this case, studs, so that they can be properly nailed down and prevented from falling off in the near future.

What Kind of Screws Do You Use For Hardie Boards Siding?

For Hardie board siding, you can use screws of 1¼ inches in length and 0.375 inches in width. Using the correct screw ensures that the head of the screw blends with the Hardie board and does not protrude.

Eventually, the wrong screw will come out, and you will need more effort to drill another hole to flush the screw.

Carpenter using gauge to install fibrous cement siding. What Nails To Use For Fiber Cement Siding

To Wrap Up

Fiber cement siding is one of the best sidings you can use for your home. Therefore, it must be properly installed and maintained. Using the correct nails during installation can save a lot of stress and money on future repairs.

For more on roofing and sidings, we recommend reading these engaging articles:

Can You Use Roofing Nails For Hardie Siding?

Should Vinyl Siding Move?