Roofing Nails

Roofing nails are specifically manufactured for attaching shingles, shakes, metal, and tiles to wood and felt. They should typically penetrate about 3/4-inches of the sheathing, although it is not unusual to drive nails completely through the wood decking.

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What Makes a Nail a Roofing Nail?

Roofing nails have larger heads to prevent shingle "pull through." Nails are available in both hand-driven and "gun" collated (or coiled) forms. Roofing nails also have extra-sharp or diamond points to make insertion easier without splitting wood or tearing the shingles. The nails are driven flush-never countersunk in the base layer or left too high to cause tearing in the upper layer, as leakage will occur.

Different Sizes and Classifications of Shanks

Most types of roofing nails are available in lengths ranging from one inch to two inches. If a job requires longer shanks, the nails can be specially ordered. They may also be designated by the English "penny" sizing: 2d is a one-inch nail and 6d is equal to two inches. Ridge nails should be long enough to pierce through all material layers. Standard nails feature shanks that are classified as "smooth," "ring," or "spiral." Ring and spiral shanks provide superior holding power. They are a decided advantage in areas subject to dangerously high winds.

Variety of Nail Materials

Within these categories, nails are comprised of varying materials. Hot-dipped galvanized or electroplated are required for asphalt and wood shakes, but galvanized nails resist rust for a much longer period. Aluminum nails are used only for metal roofs and siding. However, they are never recommended where chemical or salt (coastal areas) exposure could cause corrosive interaction. Stainless steel nails are generally purchased for tile and slate. Copper nails can be substituted for stainless and are used on more traditional roofs.

How Many Roofing Nails Does It Take?

It is difficult to gauge exactly how many nails are actually needed for any particular job. Always over-estimate so as not to run out before the project is completed. In most cases, manufacturers recommend a minimum of three to four nails per shingle. However, steeply sloped roofs and those that are subject to high winds should have at least six nails per shingle.

Purchasing Roofing Nails

Nails are typically sold by the pound unless a pneumatic gun is being used, but the boxes will indicate quantity as well.When purchasing roofing nails, you should always check the warranty They should be guaranteed for at least as long as the warranties of the roofing materials to which they are being applied.