A. JLC associate editor Andrew Wormer responds: According to John Kurz of the International Staple, Nail, and Tool Association (ISANTA), the pro market for drywall nails has largely dried up, as most drywall contractors now use screws instead of nails to install gypsum board and accessories like corner bead. Screws have greater holding power than nails and aren’t as likely to pop with structural movement or when framing lumber shrinks; also, the IRC requires more nails than screws when installing drywall. Says Galway, N.Y., drywall contractor Myron Ferguson, “Ten or 15 years ago, we used nails around the perimeter of each sheet, nailing the drywall up as fast as we could and then coming back later with screw guns to finish off the centers. But as screw guns improved and we realized how much less screws pop than nails, we eventually stopped using nails altogether.”

Because drywallers like Ferguson use screws almost exclusively, Kurz suggests that some retailers may be stocking cheaper drywall nails targeted to DIYers, and it’s possible that some of them don’t actually meet code. The 2009 IRC calls for drywall nails to meet ASTM C514 specifications, and while there aren’t any specific requirements for...

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