Time to retire your hammer-tacker? - Fine Homebuilding

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Time to retire your hammer-tacker?

comments (11) December 3rd, 2009 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

Hammer Tackers are only for temporary tacking
Hammer Tackers are only for temporary tackingClick To Enlarge

Hammer Tackers are only for temporary tacking


Fine Homebuilding editorial advisor Mike Guertin summed it up nicely in the opening paragraph of his excellent Tools of the Trade article (Tool Test: Cap Stapler and Nailers):

"If you're still using hammer-tacker staples alone to attach housewrap and synthetic roof underlayments, you haven't read the instructions lately."

It was a relatively quiet transition over the last several years, but it's right there in black and white in the instructions for Tyvek HomeWrap. Ordinary hammertackers and swingstaplers are a thing of the past:

"DuPont installation guidelines require the use of cap fasteners (nail, staple, and screw)...for permanently attaching DuPont Tyvek water-resistive barriers."


So, if you're using your hammer-tacker/swing-stapler for anything but tacking the housewrap in place temporarily (and DuPont only allows 4 staples per sq. yard if you want to keep the product warranty), you aren't keeping up with the times. Now, Fine Homebuilding has tested the Hitachi and Bostitch models, talked about non-pneumatic versions in the magazine (Slap-Cap Stapler), and I got a chance to play with the new product from Paslode. What we haven't done is a full head-to-head test. Well, now it's in the works, and I'd like to hear what you all want to learn


This is your chance to steer our tool review. I invite you to comment below, and I will be checking back on a frequent basis to join the discussion.



posted in: Blogs, weatherizing, roofs, siding, walls

Comments (11)

EdBuell EdBuell writes: I'm curious why nonone answered the comment of renosteinke. Siding installation is going to addhundreds of holes. Is the concern protecting the tyvek until its covered?. The need for the expensive and time consuming capnnails isn't technically clear to me. The possible link to the desire to sell equipment seems a likely part.


Seems that. Getting the siding up in a timely manner makesnsensento me.
Posted: 12:30 pm on July 26th

urbancarpenter urbancarpenter writes: It's the staples and lack of knowledge that make Tyvak and or other raps fail. I see it all the time here in Philly. I actually considered starting a web page of why not to buy this house and post the picts of shoddy work work before there finished. I also notice all lot of house with a 2-3yrs being re-sided because there walls are growing mold.
It's really sad to a lot of wanna be investors hire the cheapest which means usually means unskilled labor to do a job and not even take the time to learn about the trades and the process of installing the products to make sure there cheap labor does a better job.

My point is by using the staple cap you 1) it doesn't tear when it's gusty, 2) you just minimized holes and tears that staples guns leave behind a lot of contractors don't take the time to patch and tape with house rap.
Posted: 6:32 pm on November 27th

Old_Chuck Old_Chuck writes: WindStrips is a "350 foot long roll" of 9 mil plastic that when stapled on - provides superior holding. This has 15 + years of approved useage in high wind Colorado mountain areas that has astounding and frequent high wind speed events. The use of WindStrips reinforces the CROWN of the staple and provides a long continuous surface area that substantially out performs the plastic cap nails.

WindStrips.com has installation video and guidance. They are now adding a SideWinder adapter that allows a one handed alternative to air-driven staples being driven as the roll of WindStrips in dispensed.

A super new product alternative!
Posted: 3:12 pm on January 30th

Carpenter183 Carpenter183 writes: Just came across this discussion, and its an interesting topic. I doubt that I'll retire my hammer tacker anytime soon.
Posted: 9:54 am on January 22nd

Rexfordian13 Rexfordian13 writes: Honestly, I never liked using the plain hammer-tackers on a weather resistive barrier. After just a couple of jobs, my hammer-tackers would develop a sharp edge that was just cutting holes in the barrier, defeating the purpose. The Bostich gun works well for roofing underlayment, but I've heard some folks complain about the caps causing waves in cedar or fiber cement lap. I do like the stinger hammer tacker...best of both worlds. I prefer the first generation, trigger advanced model.
And xrcyst, I think DuPont has had this as part of their install for alot longer than the Bostich gun has been around. The other acceptable method is a "1 inch crown staple" from one of those old roofing guns...try finding one of those dinosaurs anywhere other than an antique show.
Posted: 9:17 pm on January 16th

xxPaulCPxx xxPaulCPxx writes: renosteinke - the reason they may not be allowed anymore is that square edged staples can tear the layer being fastened around the square edges of the staple. It doesn't happen when the staple is applied, it happens when the material rustles in the wind or as you stretch the material tight.
Posted: 3:57 pm on December 9th

renosteinke renosteinke writes: FHB has some regular features (Tips & Techniques, What's the Difference) where this change ought to be discussed.

Maybe this is my ignorance showing ... I have never even hung house wrap ... but just how much better are the fancy fasteners at holding the housewrap on?

Then, once you have the siding up, wouldn't the nails that hold the siding also hold the wrap? At that point, I can't see where the fasteners used on the wrap matter at all.

So, maybe FHB could get together with DuPont for a little Q&A on this point. I'd sure like to know the whole story.
Posted: 4:32 pm on December 5th

xrcyst xrcyst writes: Its not the loss of use's for my tacker that bother me as much as the cost diffrence. A box of staples 3 bucks for 2500, 1000 of Bostitchs yellow caps.... 29 bucks plus what 250 for the gun, I wonder how much Bostitch kicks back to DuPont per box.
Posted: 1:35 pm on December 5th

JFink JFink writes: My concern, Mike, is what the best way is for builders to play catch up? Buying a pneumatic cap fastener makes sense for framers, but what about us remodelers that only find occasional need to play with hosuewrap and felt? I suppose I'm leaning towards getting one of the National Nail versions for my needs.

In the meantime, the hammer tacker is being permanently housed in the back of my pickup for tacking red flags onto lumber.
Posted: 10:57 am on December 4th

MikeGuertin MikeGuertin writes: Since we can't use hammer tackers to fasten housewrap or synthetic underlayment there aren't many uses left. Flooring paper underlayment, laminate flooring underlayment, carpet pad, lost pet posters.
Posted: 8:49 pm on December 3rd

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Sigh.

I have to confess - that was one of my favorite parts of homebuilding. It was just so satisfying to send a staple home with a tacker.

It's alright Justin, I'll take him out back by the shed, he's MY tacker. I'll do it.

Posted: 4:23 pm on December 3rd

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