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What Is a Concrete Nail Gun?

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  • Written By: E.A. Sanker
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A concrete nail gun is a specialized nail gun that is used to drive nails into concrete. Nail guns are often used in industrial settings and in home improvement projects because they make nailing faster and less labor intensive. Instead of drilling a hole in the concrete and manually hammering the nail into place, builders can easily attach wood or other materials to concrete using the the concrete nail gun's explosive power.

Powder-actuated nail guns are preferred for nailing concrete and other hard materials because they generate more power than other types of nail guns. These guns use gunpowder and operate under the same basic principle as a firearm. An explosive charge is fired, which forces the nail into the substrate. In a high-velocity powder-actuated concrete nail gun, the explosion acts directly on the nail, and in a low-velocity gun, the explosion compresses a piston that forces the nail down.

Concrete nail guns are highly specialized tools designed to be used only on concrete or other very hard substrates. The large amount of force generated by the gun might break other materials, such as wood or cement. Concrete nail guns also use special nails known as concrete nails, which come in a variety of sizes and often feature fluted shanks for better gripping power. Concrete nails contain more carbon and are harder than other types of nails.

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High-velocity concrete nail guns are often restricted to industrial uses such as shipbuilding, but it is possible to buy more lightweight concrete nail guns at a home improvement store or over the Internet. Many homeowners use concrete nail guns to refurbish basement areas. They can come in handy for nailing fuse boxes to concrete walls, attaching wood frames to a foundation or creating shelving for storage.

Safety is a concern when operating a concrete nail gun, because the internal explosion in the gun can generate a force comparable to that of a firearm. Like firearms, concrete nail guns incorporate safety features such as a muzzle locking system. Professionals who use nail guns frequently choose to become certified through training programs provided by nail gun manufacturers. Safety glasses, gloves and earplugs are recommended for anyone using a concrete nail gun.

When correctly operated, a concrete nail gun is an effective tool, but injuries can and do occur from misuse. Concrete nail guns are fired with the muzzle directly pressed up against the concrete substrate. In some models, the front end contact point and trigger must be compressed simultaneously to fire, and in others, the nose end must be compressed first. If these techniques are not followed, injuries to the hands can often occur. Thousands of people are injured by nail guns each year, and the majority of the injuries likely could have been prevented through correct use.

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