Wanted to ask the community about their experience with code and reasoning for using one or the other. I'm talking about fastening 7/16" OSB to walls and 5/8" OSB to roofs. Do you use narrow crown staples or ring shank nails? Here, we are not in a seismic/earthquake zone but we do get high winds and potentially tornadoes here.

It is my experience that staples may hold better than nails because they have a larger surface area of grip and two sharp points spread 1/2" apart gripping into the stud or truss member. However, those two sharp points are very narrow and I feel like this has to be something code is cracking down on, but I am struggling to find valid, tested, literature on the use of one or the other. All I have found so far is that when using staples, edges must be stapled every 4" instead of 6" like nails.

I am curious if anyone has seen side-by-side comparisons to know which option is truly a better fastener for the job? Staples are starting to appeal to me due to how many can be loaded in clip, and how you don't seem to have to come back and hammer the head in on ones your gun didn't quite get square up on before firing or the hard to reach spots. I will be doing a roof soon and think maybe using a air stapler will increase speed of sheathing the roof by a good factor. My local inspector does not seem to care, just mentioned that he thinks nails are stronger.

  • You have to use more staples because they do not hold as well. I prefer ring shank but common galvanized are also legal in my area.
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 16, 2019 at 14:58
  • Having had the need to demolish a number of roof sections which had been installed with narrow-crown staples I can confirm that they hold extremely well. OSB and plywood will more often tear off the staples before they pull out.
    – isherwood
    Mar 10, 2020 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


The Code (ICC Code Table 2304.9.1) requires for either 5/8” or 3/4” structural panels (plywood) or particleboard (OSB board) for roofs, floors or walls use either:

  1. 8d common at 6” oc at edges and 12” in field.

  2. 6d deformed at 6” oc at edges and 12” in field.

  3. 2 3/8” x 0.113” nail at 4” oc at edges and 8” in field.

  4. 2” x 16 gage staple with 7/16” crown at 4” oc at edges and 8” in field.

For 3/8” or 1/2” structural panels or particle board use either:

A. 6d common or deformed: 6/12 oc

B. 8d box or deformed: 6/12 oc

C. Wall: 2 3/8” x 0.113” nail: 6/12” oc

D. Wall: 1 3/16 x 16 gage staple with 7/16 crown: 4/8” oc

Be careful how far you span on the roof with 5/8” OSB board. In certain heavy snow areas it could sag when spanning 24” on center.

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