I have a bunch of drywall to put up. I am staring at a loaded 15-gauge framing nail gun, and a drill + a box of drywall screws, and boy oh boy does that nail gun look tempting.

When attaching to wooden studs, is there any reason not to just nail the drywall up, rather than using screws?

  • 7
    Inability to control the depth of the nail gun which is made for attaching hard thick boards together not soft thin drywall
    – Kris
    Nov 18, 2018 at 1:23
  • 6
    And the classic nail-pop that inevitably follows.
    – bib
    Nov 18, 2018 at 2:09
  • Well dimpled/set nails, rarely pop, even in locations with extreme seasonal changes (Especially if you spend the extra $$ to get ring shanks and use a proper drywall hatchet). +1 on the control; a nail gun would never work for this.
    – tahwos
    Nov 25, 2018 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


Nobody uses a pneumatic nailer for drywall. And in a world where shortcuts are revered, that has to tell you something.

You know this already, but screws are the gold standard. They stay put and they pull the drywall as close to framing as possible. Badly set screws can pop, but properly set ones don't.

Nails were common in the past, but they were usually ring shank (for holding power) and with a slightly bigger head than a framing nail. (They also had a propensity to pop as framing dried out, in spite of the fancy ring shank.)

If you had to use nails, the trick is to set them just slightly below the plane of the paper without cutting through the paper. The dent from a hammer made this work. A pneumatic nail is either going to be set too deep (ripping the paper, and being out of the way of the taping knife) or set too high (not ripping the paper, but being in the way of the taper). There's really no way to get the dimple you need with an air nailer.

If you are seriously only looking at a drill, get an impact driver. You'll get way more control driving screws. (And impacts are great for a lot of other stuff as well.) If you have a ton of rock to put up, consider getting an actual drywall screwgun.

  • 2
    You can very likely rent a screwgun from a local shop as well. Nov 19, 2018 at 10:12
  • 1
    +1 for the Impact Driver. I have no idea how I managed to do any projects that required screws before I got one.
    – Moshe Katz
    Nov 21, 2018 at 18:18

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