How to Drive Masonry Nails

Updated February 21, 2017

Driving masonry nails used to be a job requiring the muscles of a blacksmith, a substantial single-hand sledgehammer and a marksman's aim, to hit the nail squarely on its head and to drive the nail straight into the mortar between bricks or into cement. Today, however, with hammer-operated masonry nail guns or masonry nail guns fired by a powder charge, basically, a blank shotgun shell, people of any stature, with or without bulging muscles can promptly set masonry nails--even though they still have to go into the mortar.

Pull the release lever above the drill driver's barrel to open the nail slot.

Put the nail strip in the gun--the "heads" of the nails go in first.

Push the release lever down to lock the nails inside.

Place the tip of the gun on the mortar exactly where you want the masonry nail. Pull the trigger.


The alternative is a masonry nail and a 0.907kg. sledgehammer. Hit the nail hard and straight with the hammer. Masonry nails should be set in the mortar or cement, not directly into tile brick (which they will crack). If it's necessary to set a masonry nail into brick or tile, drill a hole and set a masonry screw.


Evacuate everyone from the working area. Put on safety glasses before using the gun.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty cordless hammer drill driver
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About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.