Are 16 Gauge Wide Crown Staples Viable for Fencing Instead of Coil Nails?

Feb 21, 2024 | NEWS

When building or repairing wood fences, 16 gauge galvanized coil nails have long been the staple (pun intended) fastening method of choice due to their combination of holding power and effectiveness for the application. But could 16 gauge wide crown staples serve as a viable coil nail alternative under certain conditions? Let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks.

What are Wide Crown Staples?

As the name suggests, wide crown staples have an expanded diameter circular prong structure compared to standard crown staples. The wider prongs provide enhanced gripping and reduce the risk of pulled staples over time. Like crown staples, their prong shape folds inward to prevent material from slipping out once installed.

Potential Benefits for Fencing

  • Sturdier 16 gauge 1 inch crown staples may outperform finesse-style fence nails in rotting or low-density wood posts/boards.
  • Wider prongs spread the fastening load better than nails to minimize splitting of aged/knotty wood fibers.
  • Lower risk of pulled staples compromising fence integrity compared to nails working loose gradually.
  • Quick installation compared to nail-size for tedious large fencing jobs like board replacement.
  • Heavy-duty 16 gauge staples suited to long term outdoor/weather exposures.

Drawbacks to Consider

  • Staples may over-penetrate the narrow 1″ width of standard fencing boards/rails compared to smaller nails.
  • Installation requires a heavier-duty pneumatic stapler vs. hand or battery nailers for fencing.
  • Cost is higher than coil nails for fencing per piece, more important for full fence replacements.
  • Staples could interfere with cutting posts/boards to length as with nails or screws.

If the wood is at risk of splitting or moisture, which will reduce the nail’s holding power over time, wide-crown staples can work well as an alternative to roll nails.

For new fences using quality lumber, standard roll nails will suffice. But staples can provide peace of mind in challenging situations like repairs. Be aware of the risk of over-penetration into narrow panels. If care is taken, 16 gauge wide crown nails can certainly be used alongside coil nails in wood fence applications.