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What Do Roofing Nails Look Like

How Long Do Roofing Nails Need To Be

How to : Roofing – Where and How to Nail a Shingle

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. Besides, how long should my roofing nails be?

Nails should have a minimum, nominal shank diameter of 11- or 12-gauge, and a minimum head diameter of three-eighths of an inch. The length of each nail must be a minimum of 1¼ inches long, and for roof-overs, Atlas recommends a nail length of at least 2 inches.

Also, what size nails do I use for roofing? The more common roof thickness is 3/4-inch decking. When installing asphalt shingles on felt only to any grade decking you should use 1-inch long roofing nails. When installing dimensional shingles to felt only, recommends you use 1 1/4-inch nails.

Similarly one may ask, should roofing nails go through the sheathing?

A 1nail will fully penetrate through 3/8roof sheathing, but it won’t fully penetrate 1/2sheathing. The other way to determine if the proper nails were used is to look in the attic if the roof has 1/2sheathing, you should be able to see the nails sticking through in to the attic.

What do roofing nails look like?

Galvanized roofing nails are steel nails that are zinc-coated. They hold up better against rust, and they can also be used for asphalt shingles. The length of the nail is the shank, and the shank can also vary. Screw shank nails are twisted and have sharp diamond tips, and they are used to securely fasten wood roofs.

What Are Roofing Nails & How To Pick The Right One For The Job

When we think about roofing materials, asphalt shingles or clay tiles may come to mind. Choosing a high-quality material that best suits your roof is essential when reroofing or doing any repair work. With that said, you must also use the proper roofing nails when repairing your shingles. The nails help keep everything together. It wont matter how great your roof looks if the nails arent doing their job. This article talks about what roofing nails are and how to choose the right one.

References On Roofing Nail Type Nail Life Requirements Vs Roof Life & Warranty

  • Walsh, J, Predicting the service life of natural roofing slates in a Scottish environment In 9th international conference on durability of building materials and components, CSIRO Australia, Brisbane, Paper, vol. 216. 2002. Original source:
  • WIND DAMAGE to ROOFS – describes asphalt shingle damage and shingle loss where improperly-stapled shingles were installed on roofs
  • Zelinka, Samuel L., and Douglas R. Rammer. “Corrosion rates of fasteners in treated wood exposed to 100% relative humidity.” Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering 21, no. 12 : 758-763.Abstract Excerpt:In ACA and ACQ treated wood, the electroplated galvanized fastener had a lower corrosion rate than the hot-dip galvanized fastener.

Continue reading at ASPHALT SHINGLE INSTALLATION – best practices, or select a topic from the closely-related articles below, or see the complete ARTICLE INDEX.

Or see ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOF REPAIR – more about the stapled asbestos cement roof shown in this article

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Old Concrete Roof Tile Replacements

Q: My house is a 97-year-old Victorian with a concrete-tile roof. It was installed in 1929 to replace the original cedar shakes and has weathered hurricanes like a champ. How can I find matching replacements for some of the missing and damaged tiles?

Patricia, Beaumont, Texas

A:Kevin O’ Connor replies: A roof more than 75 years old? No wonder you want to keep it. To find an answer for you, I called Rick Olson, technical director at the Tile Roofing Institute. He says that you should look on the back of one of your tiles to see if there’s a manufacturer’s name cast into it. If so, then you can check the list of U.S. roof-tile manufacturers on the Institute’s website,

If there’s no name on the tile, or the company isn’t listed, perhaps you’ll find similar tile patterns by going to each company’s website. If not, you may be able to find a company that will custom-make the ones you need. You can also check with companies that sell salvaged roofing tiles, or search the Web for overseas suppliers many tile profiles in this country were inspired by European designs. Importing tiles might seem expensive, but it probably will cost less than having new tiles custom made or installing a new roof.

Holding Down The Roof In High Winds

Should roofing nails be visible in the attic?

Q: My daughter lives in hurricane country in a 15-year-old stucco house. Can she install hurricane clips to prevent her roof from blowing off?

Don, McKeesport, Pa.

A:Tom Silva replies: Those galvanized metal straps and clips that strengthen the connection between walls and rafters really do help to hold a house together in high winds. But it will be next to impossible to reach those spots from the attic. The only way to retrofit hurricane clips in most houses is by cutting out a section of the siding and the wall sheathing at every spot where a rafter rests on a wall or taking off the roof sheathing at the eaves.

Here’s an easier option: Go up into the attic and run a bead of construction adhesive alongside each rafter where it meets the plywood roof deck. That simple measure will roughly triple a roof’s resistance of being torn off by wind.

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What Are The Different Types Of Roofing Nails

Roofing nails are used in roof installation to fasten shingles, to install roofing felt for waterproofing and to attach roof tiles and sheet metal. There are different kinds of roofing nails, made of different materials and in various sizes. All roofing nails have wide, flat heads and short shanks. The tips of the nails are sharp and pointed for easy insertion so you don’t break the shingles or damage the wood when driving the nails through.

Different roofing materials require different types of roofing nails. Aluminum nails are good for metal roofs and shingles, but they are not recommended for areas where they can be exposed to chemicals or salt. If you live in a coastal area, use stainless steel roofing nails. Stainless steel nails are also good for fastening tiles and slate, or you can work with copper nails for standard roofing purposes. Galvanized roofing nails are steel nails that are zinc-coated. They hold up better against rust, and they can also be used for asphalt shingles.

What Is Roof Sheathing

A roof system consists of several elements working together to protect the home. Roof sheathing is one of those elements. In the U.S., it is almost always composed of woodusually OSB or plywood. OSB is lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and strong enough to resist bending or breaking should someone walk on the roof. Plywood is a bit more expensive, but is usually stronger and is often selected in cases where the roof covering is heavier, such as for slate, clay, or concrete tile roofs.

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What Is Better For Roof Sheathing Osb Or Cdx

Every board has its benefit when it comes to roof sheathing. Of course, OSB is a far more popular choice, but the easiest way to decide which wood is best for roof sheathing is to check out the benefits for yourself!

OSB is also less expensive than CDX plywood. So, if money is a consideration in your building, you might want to consider OSB an alternative to CDX plywood. Of course, both plywood and OSB have benefits, but OSB is a better choice because of the weather resistance and durability.

General Guidelines For Nailing Shingles

How To Properly Start Shingle Courses On A Roof

To ensure optimal performance of your asphalt roofingshingles, be sure to follow these general directions for proper nailing:

  • Use the correct roofing nail material, size, and grade as specified in the shingle installation instructions.
  • Fasten shingles with corrosion-resistant nails.
  • Install the recommended number of nails per shingle. For Duration® Series shingles, Owens Corning recommends using either a 4- or 6-nail fastening pattern depending on the roofs slope and building code requirements. In most cases, 4 nails are adequate.
  • Position the nails appropriately according to the shingle installation instructions.
  • Align shingles properly to avoid nail exposure.

Where to Nail Shingles

Each shingle manufacturer has its own requirements forproper nailing, including where roofing nails should be placed. Roofingcontractors should follow those guidelines and take care not to overdrive nailsas this can lead to water infiltration.

Owens Corning® Duration® shingles, for example, provide a reinforced nailing zone, called SureNail® Technologya tough, engineered fabric strip embedded on the face of the shingle that offers outstanding nail pull-through and nail blow through resistance while providing a highly visible nailing target for roofing contractors. Its easy to see where the nails are supposed to go.

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Where To Nail Tiles

Feed it down the roofing system till all-time low strikes the edge of the roof. Line the end of the gauging tape up with the base of the roof covering and also lay the other end of the tape measure flat versus the top of the roof covering.

  • A four-nail attachment pattern per tile is called for to make the most of the optimum wind warranty readily available on Owens Corning ® Period ® roof shingles.
  • As a whole, pricier shingles include longer, much more comprehensive guarantees.
  • Details suggestions from the roof shingles manufacturer for positioning the nails across the roof shingles are included in the manufacturer’s setup guidelines.
  • Roof professionals accomplish a top quality roofing system by layering various products in addition to the decking, or the wooden structure, of your roof covering.
  • For all Owens Corning ® shingles, roof nails ought to permeate into the timber deck by a minimum of 3/4- inch or entirely with the roof covering deck by a minimum of 1/8-inch.

Drip Edge Profile Types

There are three basic profiles of drip edge flashing, but each goes by more than one name, which can be confusing.

  • Type C: This is the classic L-shaped drip edge, sometimes called L style. This drip edge is bent to a 90-degree angle and has a lower flange at the bottom.
  • Type D: This profile of drip edge is shaped like a T, with a lower flange at the bottom. Sometimes it is called drip metal, D-metal or T style. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association prefers this drip edge profile to Type C because it keeps the water further away from the fascia. However, Type C is still acceptable according to most building codes.
  • Type F: This is an extended drip edge that has a longer leading edge, which is useful when installing new drip edges over existing shingles or on rake edges. This profile is frequently called F style or gutter apron.

Type C: This is the classic L-shaped drip edge, sometimes called L style.

Type D: This profile of drip edge is shaped like a T, with a lower flange at the bottom.

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Question: Canadian Spike: Estimated Age 1830 + Shows Laminar Splits Along Spike Or Nail Shank

I have a spike that was taken out of the old farm house where I was born and raised . It was located 3.5 miles east of Elmira Ontario Canada. A date was inscribed into the basement wall during construction however it was not done clearly.

We cannot determine if it is 1803 or 1863. I was hoping that you may be able to tell when this house was built by this spike.

There is a very slight split in the metal about one half of the way down the shank.

The head is quite unique as it appears to have been crimped down in the corners to create a square on the top in a different direction than the base of the head. Any help you could provide would be appreciated. – Vern M


Thanks for the interesting nail photo, Vern. I’d like to see a sharp closeup of the split in the nail.

As I mentioned about a different nail in photos on this page, the fact that the delaminating or split in this nail run lengthwise suggest that the nail was of iron whose fibers ran lengthwise, making the nail one probably made after the late 1830s.

For these nails, because it appears that the two cutting/stamping burrs appear on the same side of the nail suggest the nail may have been made after 1840.

Can you give me your opinion on these 2 pieces I found. We live about 700 ft from one of the first North American settlements circa 1630s. – Ashley

The laminar splits near the nail head suggest old iron, likely to have been forged as early as 1830. – Mod

What Size Nails Do You Use For Roofing

Improper Shingle Nailing = Defective Roof Installation

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The more common roof thickness is 3/4-inch decking. When installing asphalt shingles on felt only to any grade decking you should use 1-inch long roofing nails. When installing dimensional shingles to felt only, recommends you use 1 1/4-inch nails.

can you use a nail gun for roofing? Roofing manufacturers have determined that hand-nailing shingles and using a nail gun are both valid methods of installing shingles, so it is not a reflection on your roofer’s work quality level if they choose one over the other.

In this manner, should roofing nails go through the sheathing?

A 1nail will fully penetrate through 3/8roof sheathing, but it won’t fully penetrate 1/2sheathing. The other way to determine if the proper nails were used is to look in the attic if the roof has 1/2sheathing, you should be able to see the nails sticking through in to the attic.

How far should roofing nails penetrate?

Nail lengthRoofing nails should be long enough to penetrate the roofing material and go 19 mm into OSB, solid wood, plywood or non-veneer wood decking, or through thickness of decking, whichever is less.

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How To Install A Drip Edge

Its important to understand that drip edge installation is different for eaves and rakes. After your roof deck has been prepared, and before you install underlayment, you need to install drip edges at the eaves. You install drip edges on the rakes after you install the underlayment. Plus, this step-by-step guide to drip edge installation will also explain how to cut drip edges for corners and peaks.

  • Step One: If using a Type C drip edge, you can install a furring strip to increase its performance. A furring edge is a strip of one-by-two wood you install on the vertical surface of the house just beneath the roofs edge. When you install the drip edge over this strip, it keeps the lower flange further from the homes siding, which helps to keep water further from the home.
  • Step Two: Install drip edges on the eaves first. Place the drip edge down, aligning it so water will drip into the gutters. The end with the flange or flare should point down and away from the roof.
  • Step Three: Use roofing nails to secure the drip edge. Nail high up on the drip edge so that the shingles will cover the nails. Ideally, youd nail about every 12 inches, and in no circumstances should you have 16 inches or more between nails. When you place the next drip edge piece, it should overlap the first by an inch.

Step Two: Install drip edges on the eaves first.

Step Six: Install the drip edge as normal.Image provided by CASMA

Step Nine: Install the rakes drip edge on top of the flap

Hammers Pneumatic And Cordless Nailers

Roofing nails should be driven by a hammer into the shingles by hand. They can also be driven with a pneumatic roofing nailer , but this tool needs to handled carefully and adjusted properly to avoid overdriven or under driven nails.

A cordless roofing nailer is also a good option. It works on batteries just like cordless leaf blowers and string trimmers and its handling is convenient as it keeps one hand free.

Even with a cordless or pneumatic nailer, a roofing hammer will still be required to seat occasional nails that dont drive in flush.

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Roofing Nails That Missed Their Target

Q: In replacing my wood-shingle roof with cement-tile roof, I noticed that the nailer sometimes missed the trusses when attaching the sheathing. I’ve heard that if I leave them they may work their way through the underlayment and cause leaks. Should I worry about these nails?

Susan, Weston, Fla.

A:Tom Silva replies: By all means yes! Whenever a nail misses its target, it should be removed.

The installer of the roof shouldn’t have left them there. So if possible you may want to contact the contractor who installed your old roof. If that’s not an option you’re going to have to have your new contractor get those nails out.

Proper Nailing Techniques For Optimal Performance Of Asphalt Shingles

Nail pops why they happen and how to fix them

Roofing shingles have specific guidelines for how they should be fastened to your roof. They relate primarily to the quantity, location, and driving method of the roofing nails.

Proper installation is essential for optimum shingle performance and for compliance with the International Building Code. Learn where and how to nail shingles to ensure performance and holding power.

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How Nails Are Sized

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

You’ve probably heard of nail sizes referred to as 10d, 16d, and so on. The number and “d” suffix are called the “Penny” system. The English penny used to be designated with a “d” representing the first letter of the Roman coin denarius. Originally, the penny number referred to the cost for 100 nails of a particular size. An 8d nail, for example, cost 8 pennies for 100.

Today, the penny system refers specifically to nail length. A 2d nail is 1 inch long, for example, while a 16d nail is 3 1/2 inches long. Each higher number in the penny system represents a 1/4-inch length increase, up to a 12d nail .

After the 12d nail, the penny system does not have a clearly defined relationship to length.


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