Choosing which nails to use for wood soffit projects can be crucial, mainly because not all finishing boards carry the same strength and durability. One wrong pick and you’ll risk ruining the entire construction.
To avoid additional repair costs, read along as I discuss different soffit wood types and the nails suited for their construction.
Should You Nail Soffit?
Putting nails on a soffit won’t be a problem. The only dilemma you should worry about is what fastener types you’ll hammer down the board. Most woodworkers opt for 8 penny or 8d galvanized nail types, with at least one ¼ inch of length.
When you’re nailing the soffit, you’re kicking up dust particles. I always make sure to throw on some protective glasses. Just a tip from someone who’s gotten sawdust in their eye one too many times.
If you firmly attach the soffit to the construction, you won’t encounter issues executing this procedure. You can do it by blind nailing or hiding the nails at the soffit’s back side. Doing so will cover any visible nail holes in the final finish.
You should start hammering nails on top of the wooden board so they can go through the structure securely. I’d suggest keeping a distance of at least ¾-inch to 1 inch between the fasteners and the soffit’s edges.
Ensure that the nails don’t go further than 12 inches away from each other vertically and up to 8 inches horizontally. Depending on the wood type, you may need to make a pre-drilled hole to nail a soffit. It should be slightly wider than the nail to guarantee a proper fit.
Now, I can’t stress this enough—be careful when hammering those nails in. Rush it and you might damage the surface of the soffit.
Soffit Nails To Use: Galvanized vs. Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Nails
Soffit Wood Type/Specie
Douglas Fir Wood (Cedar & Redwood – exclusively for hot-dipped options)
8d & 16d (large nail head, narrow shank)
Short nail length, but easy to use
Redwood & Cedar Boards
6d (thinner shank)
Not suitable for old wood materials
Cedar, Redwood, or any pressure-treated wood pieces
8d by 2 ⅜-inch
Best nails for hardwood boards & suitable for face-nailing tasks
Wood Soffit and Galvanized Nails
Many woodworkers consider galvanized fasteners one of the best options for wood soffit tasks. This sentiment mainly stems from the material’s ability to resist corrosion since standard wood fasteners tend to rust when exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Fortunately for DIY newbies, these nails have zinc coats . So even though they’re iron steel that can corrode in water and other humid environment exposures, those protective films serve as the initial barrier against rusting.
The only problem with these nails is they can be toxic. On top of that, the zinc coats will corrode one way or another.
In today’s market, you’ll encounter three types of galvanized nails: hot-dipped, copper flashing, and electro-coated options. While the latter is the cheapest variation of this material, it’s unsuitable for acidic wood species like cedar or redwood.
The galvanized nails with copper flashing may seem similar to other types at first glance, but these options can quickly rust when exposed to moisture.
If you need nails for an outdoor project, hot-dipper galvanized fasteners are still the best option under this nail type. These nails have broader heads and shorter lengths, making them easy to use.
Wood Soffit and Aluminum Nails
The cheapest nails for wooden soffit projects are made from aluminum materials. Despite their light construction, these options are strong enough to drive into any material.
If you ask me, these nails are safer than galvanized fasteners. Aluminum options don’t have a risky reaction to cedar and redwood materials, which are typical for wood soffit projects.
The downside of these materials is that the typical nail size of 1 ¾-inch is rare. You’ll need a fastener with this length for a soffit installation, especially if you want it to stand against strong winds.
And while these nails come in different colors that bring a neat aesthetic to the surface, you should know that these options are short and soft. Because of this, hammering them down can be a challenge.
Wood Soffit and Stainless Steel Nails
Among the three nails I mentioned, stainless steel has the best structure suited for wood soffit installations. Given that these materials don’t rust, you can count on them longer than aluminum or galvanized fasteners.
Another reason these options are the best nails to use for wood soffit projects is their price range. Believe it or not, they’re cheaper than aluminum selections by a lot.
I suggest buying 8d x 2 ⅜-inch stainless steel wood fasteners if you intend to build your soffit with redwood, cedar, or pressure-treated materials. These options also eliminate the risk of lumber splitting.
Like aluminum wood fasteners, stainless steel selections offer various colors for different materials and constructions. It can range from smooth white to almond or navy blue.
Stainless Steel Nails on Soffit: Advantages
How to Nail Wood Soffit
Before the nailing process, the wooden boards must undergo measuring and cutting according to your soffit’s size requirements. You can use a jigsaw to execute the necessary cuts for the structure. Using this tool also ensures more accurate slices than manual sawing procedures.
After cutting the boards into the correct sizes, grab the drill and screws/nails to securely attach the wood pieces underneath the structure.
When making your fastener selection, I advise going for ones that have sufficient length to penetrate the layers of wood effectively, ensuring a secure and tight grip.
Some soffit designs may include trim covers to hide visible seams or edges. If your project has this construction, the best option you have is to make pre-drilled holes before attaching these decorative items to the structure.
Lastly, you can add a wood sealant or paint over the soffit installation to elevate its aesthetic value and protect it from harmful external elements.
How to Attach Soffit to a Fascia Board?
If you’re thinking about adding a soffit structure to a fascia material, here’s how you can achieve it:
Nailing Fascia Board: How to Do It?
So long as you have a hammer, drill, bits, and wood fasteners, nailing a fascia board isn’t as complicated as you think. You can choose between stainless steel and galvanized nails for this process.
First, you must attach the fascia board’s top part with nails. Don’t forget to secure the material with one pin per joist. And then, grab the drill to make pilot holes with a distance of 6 to 8 inches from each other.
After drilling the holes, use a nail gun to drive the fasteners into the holes you drilled. Once the attachment is over, the next step is to start caulking the board’s edges to ensure it’s properly sealed and prevent water penetration.
What to Use for Subfascia?
Subfascia installations come in different colors, so even newbie woodworkers and homeowners won’t have difficulty picking the suitable material to build it. To construct this structure, you can choose wood boards, plastics, metal pieces, or even synthetic materials.
If you want a classic look, I suggest staining the subfascia material for added aesthetic and surface protection.
What’s With a Roofing Nail?
Like it or not, you must use roofing nails for every roof-related construction and repair. You can identify these fasteners quickly because they have flat heads, thin shanks, and large designs.
And since these options are often from galvanized and stainless steel materials, you can count on their durability and corrosion resistance.
These nails serve as the secure hold of the roof into the structure. Construction workers often seal them with asphalt for waterproofing purposes.
Is it OK to Use a Regular Nail Gun for Roofing? What Gauge Nail Should I Use?
Look, a regular nail gun just won’t cut it for roofing tasks. I’ve tried it, and let’s just say the results were less than stellar. These tools are not durable and versatile enough to drive fasteners into rigid surfaces like concrete.
For better results, you must utilize a roofing nail gun. These tools include longer fasteners to get the job faster. Typically, these options have adjustable nail depth settings to suit different surfaces.
For gauge nail guns, 16-gauge fasteners should be enough for softwood and plywood construction. However, if you are handling hardwood projects, you’ll need at least options around 15 to 14.
How Long Should Roofing Nails Be for the Second Layer?
When nailing the roof, the second layer should include fasteners of at least 1 ¼-inch to 1 ½-inch long. These nails should not be shorter than these specifications, or the pins won’t penetrate the initial roofing layer.
For material, I always go with galvanized or stainless steel nails, mainly because these selections are more durable to withstand the material’s hardness. And don’t forget, spacing matters. Keep those nails at least 6 inches apart. Trust me, it makes a difference.
Is it Necessary for Roofing Nails to Go Through the Plywood? Should You Use Long Roofing Nails?
Letting the nails penetrate the plywood surface is necessary to enhance the roof’s stability and durability. Doing so will ensure a secure hold between the rafters and sheathing. It’ll also prevent fasteners from loosening in the long run.
Since you want the fastener to go deep and secure hold, getting long roofing nails is fine. However, you must ensure it has a manageable length, as it can lead to leaks and a tricky removal process.
Is it Advisable to Use a Brad Nailer for Siding?
Since brad nailers are long enough for secure attachment, it’s a suitable material for siding installations. Although most woodworkers use them for small and decorative tasks, you should know they’re strong enough to handle thick boards.
What’s With Siding Nailers?
These are specialized tools dedicated to attaching siding materials to a structure. I’ve used them on everything from cement to aluminum, and let me tell you, the finish is usually top-notch.
Thanks to today’s advanced technology, most siding nailers allow users to adjust the tool according to various nail types and sizes. Besides that, they also have lightweight and portable designs.
Siding Nailer vs. Roofing Nailer: What are the Differences?
The difference between siding and roofing nailers is their purpose. The prior-mentioned is mainly for siding attachments, clapboards, or sheathing. Meanwhile, the latter is roof-related construction and often comes with asphalt or slate.
More Comparison Here:
Using Pressured Treated Wood Soffit? Here’s What Nail to Use
Stain steel fasteners are the best nails to use for wood soffit installations with pressure-treated materials. Unlike galvanized nails with copper flashing, these options won’t cause splits and other damage to cedar and redwood boards.
Finding nails for soffit projects is challenging, especially if you’re a woodworking beginner or a casual DIYer.
While the safest fastener to go for is the stainless steel selection, that’s not to say that aluminum and galvanized options are out of the question. I suggest trying them out in your next project to determine which works best for your needs.
Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.
Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.