The Pros and Cons of Paper and Plastic Collated Framing Nails

Jan 8, 2024 | NEWS

Framing nails are an essential tool for assembling frames, mounting artwork, and installing trim around the home. For efficiency and convenience, framers often rely on collated nails that come pre-loaded in handy paper or plastic strips. But which type is best – paper collated nails or plastic collated nails? Let’s explore the pros and cons of each.

Paper Collated Framing Nails

Paper Collated Framing Nails:

Pros: Paper strips are biodegradable and more environmentally friendly. Paper also provides cushioning to prevent nail heads from getting dented or damaged during installation.

Cons: Paper collations are vulnerable to moisture and can fall apart if exposed to damp conditions on the jobsite. With repeated use, paper strips can tear or bend, spilling loose nails.

Plastic Collated Nails:

  • Pros: Plastic holds up better to moisture than paper. Strips are more durable and less likely to spill loose nails over time. Some plastic varieties are see-through for easily viewing nail quantity.
  • Cons: Plastic creates small bits of non-biodegradable waste when casings are emptied. There is also no cushioning like paper provides, so nail heads can get dented more easily during use.

In general, paper collated nails work best for indoor framing projects where moisture issues are minimal. They cushion nails well to reduce damage.However, for damp basements or outdoor work like trim installation, plastic collated nails provide more reliable protection from the elements. Some pros and cons can be overcome too:

To reduce waste from empty plastic casings, many brands now feature easy-tear tops that separate cleanly for recycling strips.

Using palm or newspaper underneath plastic casings cushions nail heads similarly to paper versions. Taping strips to a board also prevents annoying spillage.

For occasional use, paper collations pose less issues. But professional framers installing trim day-to-day appreciate plastic’s extra durability handling jobsite conditions.

Overall, both options work well depending on your specific needs and project environment. Choosing collated nails saves time versus loose nails, as you can drive multiple pieces quickly with one hand pressure. Just be mindful of each material’s strengths and tradeoffs for optimal performance and sustainability. With the right application, either collated nail type drives home a tidy finish.