1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Installing nails with no clearance?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Gooserider, Jul 14, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I have been rebuilding our front steps that had problems with bad masonry and rotting railings... A friend and I finally got the railings replaced this afternoon, almost, but I ran into one problem that I need to solve to finish the job.

    The original construction used regular wood grade 4x6 timbers for the banisters and upright, set into the masonry. This led to water wicking down into the concrete giving it the freeze crack routine, and rotting out the banisters and uprights.

    I ended up taking the bottom part of the masonry apart, cleaning things up, and rebuilding with fresh mortar - for my first ever time doing brick and mortar work, I think it came out pretty good :coolgrin: I got some 4 x 6 PT to make replacement railings with, and rather than sinking them in the masonry, I put a bolt in the concrete and a "Strongtie" post bracket for the upright. I used more Strontie brackets to fasten the banisters to the uprights and the porch posts, and everything is secure, but I ran into one problem.

    The post brackets have 4 nail holes on each of two sides, and the Strongtie documentation says put a 10d galvie nail in each hole. I can't get a nail into three of the holes because the adjacent step is in the way, and I can't hit the nail to drive it in. I would have plenty of room to drive in a 2" galvanized deck screw (using a ratchet with a screwdriver bit) but Strongtie says not to use screws in their instructions.

    1. Any tips on driving a nail in that sort of tight space?

    2. Any idea why screws are prohibited, and might they be acceptable in this circumstance?

    3. Is this something I should worry about?

    Gooserider

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    6,700
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Use either a good galvenized deck screw or better yet s.s. screws and use a right angle drill or right angle drill attachment.
    I once made a "T" type heavy bar that one side of the T rested over the nail, and the other protruded out away from the obstacle that was in hampering hammering.
    The theory is, hammer on the end that clear of obstacle(s), the force transfers to the other side of the T where that end rests against the nail. Can be somewhat awkward but may make it possible for you to drive the nails in. If you can get a right angle drill or attachment, thats prolly the way to go.
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Thanks Hogz, I just wanted to make sure the screws would be OK. I'm not sure I can get in with a right angle drill, but I'm sure I can get in with a ratchet with a screw driver bit on it. Not as easy as my palm nailer, but it will work...

    Gooserider
  4. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    6,700
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    If you use the right screws, they will actually be better. They won't have a chance to back out, they wont rust, and if needed to remove, easier than pulling a nails with no room to get to it. Makes for a sturdier install IMO.
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    That has always been my opinion, indeed my default fastener for most things is a deck or sheet rock screw rather than a nail. However the Strongtie documentation specifically says NOT to use screws, but doesn't say why...

    ART
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    did you know ther are 1.5" 10d shank size nails used for floor joist nailing and yes they are galvanized. I wonder if plam nailer would work with them?
    You would have 1/5" less length to squeze in.. What about an air ratchet and phillips or squar head bit would hepl drive the screws..

    the recomendations are tested common applications strong ties makes the shorter joist nails.. In your application use what will work as long as it is weather resistant
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Yes, I saw the short nails at Home Despot when I was getting the brackets, but I don't think they'll help that much on the clearances. With the standard 10d nails, I had enough clearance for the nail, and my hammer going sideways plus maybe 1/2"... The shorty nails still wouldn't have given me enough room for a useful swing. I used the regular length Strong-Tie nails with the palm nailer everywhere else and it worked great. The palm nailer is great for those of us that don't do enough carpentry to justify a nail gun, as it will sink just about anything.

    These screws I have are galvie exterior deck screws, so they should be OK. They aren't Deckmates, but the other big brand that everyone carries. I am not sure, but I suspect it will be easier for me to sink the 6 screws I have to put in with a 1/4" hand ratchet than it will be to run out the air hoses and extensions, then hope my 3/8 air ratchet would fit into the space.

    Gooserider
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,248
    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    A 10d has a stronger sheer strength then a deck screw. I seriously doubt that you'll compromise one the way your using them.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Agreed, as I really don't have any shear loads on these brackets, or at least only a minimal one. The bracket is sitting on the bottom step, and there is an upright post in the bracket that goes straight up to the underside of the banister rail which sits on top of the angle cut upright and butts against the upright on the porch - so sitting there the load is 100% compression. If a person grabs the railing they can wiggle it side to side a bit, but not very much, and the point where the "wiggle" comes from is the bolt attaching the bracket into the mortar of the steps. Currently the bolts aren't that tight, but I probably could go in with a punch and hammer and get them a bit tighter, not sure if that is a good idea though as it would put the masonry under more stress...

    At any rate, I put the screws in this afternoon, and they went in w/o too much trouble, especially once I got them started. As I expected I had just barely enough room to put in the 2" Grip-Rite brand exterior grade deck screws, which have a finish the package says is specifically OK for use w/ PT lumber.

    Gooserider
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page