How to Drive a Nail into Concrete Using a Strike Tool

How to Drive a Nail into Concrete Using a Strike Tool

In this article, I’m going to show you how to drive a nail into concrete using a strike tool, also called a Ramset nail gun.

A strike tool is a very dangerous tool if you don’t know how to use it properly. Every tool has some elements of danger, but when working with a strike tool in particular you really want to read the manual that comes along with the tool that you’re going to use. Don’t skimp that because the instructions will not only tell you what to do but, they’re going to keep you safe as well.

A strike tool is a powder-actuated tool. You really have to think of it, believe it or not, like a firearm, because you load it just like you would load a gun, and instead of using a bullet, the projectile is a nail.

You’re basically shooting a nail into concrete or structural steel so that really makes it a very serious tool.

The first thing that you want to be mindful of, is to have eye and ear protection, for obvious reasons. You’re shooting a nail, so eye protection is a must, but you also want to have ear protection because it can get loud.

Now let’s move on to the hardware and the loads.

Loads and Fasteners:

Important: Be sure to use loads and fasteners that go with the strike tool that you have, don’t mix brands. Use the lowest possible strength that will enable you to get the job done.


Keep in mind that the load level is always indicated on the package using a color-coded scale as follows:

  • 1 – Gray – Weakest
  • 2 – Brown
  • 3 – Green
  • 4 – Yellow – Strongest available for the tool shown

You can also look at the cap itself at the top of the load to see what color it is.

As a rule, I always use the loads and the fasteners that the manufacturer of the tool suggests. I don’t mix my loads and my fasteners up with different tools. That way you know that you’re using the right fastener and you’re keeping yourself safe.

Now before you get started using the tool and loading it up, you have to determine whether or not you can actually use the tool and there’s a test that you take.

Testing your Material to Determine if Using a Strike Tool is Appropriate:

Recommended base materials include poured concrete, structural steel and masonry.

To determine if the strike tool will work with your surface, perform the following test:

Hold one of the fasteners up to the surface as if you were going to drive it in with a hand-held hammer. Give it one average blow with the hammer and check the results.

  1. If the point of the fastener is blunted, your material is too hard to use the strike tool.
  2. If the material cracks or shatters, the material is too bristle to use the strike tool.
  3. If the fastener penetrates the material easily, the material is too soft to use the strike tool.
  4. If the fastener makes a small indentation in the material, the material is suitable for fastening into with the strike tool.

If the surface you’re attaching to is an appropriate surface and you’ve conducted the test, then we are going to move on to the loads.

Now I know I talked about the loads and the fact that there are different colors for different power levels, but you want to make certain that you’re using the right power level for the job that you’re doing.

This is where the instruction manual that comes with the tool comes in handy. Read it thoroughly because there are instances when you’re not going to want to use the most powerful load.

On the market, there are single load strike tools as well as multiple loads strike tools, so pay attention to what you’re using.

Loading the strike tool

What you want to do to put your fastener on the end first. The fastener goes right on the bill.

Take your nail and you insert it.

Once the tool is loaded, keep your hands away from the barrel of the tool.

The next thing you’re going to want to do is to install your load. You always want to do it in that order, you don’t want to do it in reverse. Place the fastener in first, and then load the barrel of the tool.

Safety Precautions

  1. Only use fasteners and loads of the same brand as the strike tool you’re using
  2. Always wear eye and hearing protection when using the tool
  3. Never place your hand over the front muzzle of the tool
  4. Always load the tool in this order, fastener first, then load
  5. Never point the tool at yourself or others
  6. When in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your tool or OSHA safety guidelines for the tool.

How to drive a nail into concrete using a strike tool

  1. Load your nail on top of the tool
  2. Extend the barrel and place the load. Close the barrel
  3. Once the strike tool is loaded, hold the tool firmly with the handle.
  4. Push down on the tool, so that it doesn’t accidently discharge.
  5. At the top of the tool, you’ll see that there’s a button.
  6. Hit the button very soundly with your hammer now

There are not a whole lot of options when it comes to driving nails into concrete, but a strike tool is a great one. Keep yourself safe and read that instruction manual, and there’s no reason why you can’t follow this tutorial and have great success.

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