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What Size Roofing Nails For Shingles

Proper Nailing Techniques For Optimal Performance Of Asphalt Shingles

How to Nail Roof Shingles | Mastering the Roof by GAF

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.

Understanding Nail Length For Shingle Roofing

When it comes time to replace the roof on your home, there are many choices to make. While there are certainly aesthetic and cost factors involved in your selection of roofing materials in Marietta, the primary reason you have a roof is to put a protective shell over your property that can withstand the torture that nature will hurl at it.

Therefore, while its important that your roofing material choices fall within your budget and have an appearance that adds to the beauty of your residence, the most important consideration is durability and roof strength. The primary method of controlling your roof strength regardless of roofing material type is proper roofing nail selection. That doesnt just include the style of nail, but also the length. You must select the proper length of;nails for roofing in Marietta;if youre going to have a roof that can withstand the elements and provide years of dependable service. The length of nail necessary to properly construct your roof depends on the type of shingle used and whats underneath it. Read on for some points you should understand when selecting proper roofing nail length.

How To Seal Exposed Nails

Exposed nails are those with visible nail heads. Sometimes homeowners put in new nails when trying to attach something on the roof. However, this is a detriment to the roofs performance.

Ideally, your roof will not have any exposed nails, with the exception of the last cap shingle Otherwise, all new nails should be inserted so that they are covered by the shingle above them.

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Waterproof The Vent Pipes

  • 10.1;-;Install shingles right up to the vent pipe.
  • 10.2;-;Trim shingles so that they fit around the pipe, then nail.
  • 10.3;-;Insert pre-formed flashing around the vent, then glue with plastic roof cement. The boot should extend 4″ over the lower shingles, rise 8″ on the vent, and extend 6″ on both sides.
  • 10.4;-;Colmater l’espace entre le tuyau et le solin avec du ciment plastique.
  • 10.5;-;Continue installing shingles, taking care to completely cover the upper edge of the flashing.
  • 10.6;-;Glue all parts of shingles overlapping the flashing with plastic cement.
  • 10.7;-;Coat exposed nails with plastic roof cement

What About The Waste Factor Should I Order Extra Roofing Materials

Length x Gauge Steel Barbed Smooth Ring Roofing Nails ...

You want to order extra material to account for waste. Waste factors vary.

10%-15% is a good rule of thumb, but your results may be different. More complicated roofs will have a higher waste factor because there are usually more cut shingles around corners, walls, and edges.

It is okay to have a few shingles left over. They can be saved in case there is roof damage later or if repairs need to be done in the future.

So for the 24 square roof example, you would want to add 2.4 squares which equal about 7 or 8 more bundles. ;

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Proper Nail Application For Asphalt Shingles

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Required by the International Building Code, proper nailing is essential to the optimum performance of roofing shingles. Accurate nailing requires the use of approved nails, nail-driving methods and placement .

Atlas has installation guidelines in place to ensure proper, uniform installation of Atlas shingles on every roof, whether that roof is new or recovered. 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.;

Nails of the proper length should penetrate three-fourths of an inch into the roof deck. However, where the roof deck is less than three-fourths of an inch thick, the nail should be long enough to penetrate fully and extend at least one-eighth of an inch through the roof deck.

Each shingle model has specific requirements for nails printed on each shingle wrapper. These guidelines must be followed to comply with building codes and ensure intended performance levels

All nails need to be driven either by hand or with a properly adjusted pneumatic nailer. Improper adjustment of a pneumatic nailer can result in overdriven or underdriven nails, which can cause nail corrosion, sealing failures, raised tabs, buckling and blow offs.

For more information about proper nail placement, visit

What Type Of Nails For Felt/underlayment

Roofing felt is a type of underlayment that professionals install beneath a roofs shingles. Unlike selfadhering underlayments, such as ice and water protector, felt underlayment needs to be fastened in place with nails. Specifically, youll need roofing cap nails. These have large plastic caps for heads, which help prevent water intrusion.

Dont confuse these cap nails with gasket roofing nails. Roofing nails with gaskets are intended for metal roofs. The gasket is rubber, not plastic. You want roofing nails with plastic washers for roof underlayment.

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How Many Pounds Of Nails For A Square Of Shingles

If you plan on installing asphalt shingles on your roof, it’s important to keep track of how much weight they add to it, especially if your framing and foundation are old. To get an accurate assessment, you need to include the weight of the nails you use to hold them down.

What Size Roofing Nail

Common Roofing Mistake: Nailing Shingles the Wrong Way

Existing roof is a 3 tab shingle with 1/2″ plywood.The nails used are 1/2″-3/4″. Most of the nails do not come through the plywood. The roof/structure is completely open and can be seen from underneath. It is outside in a yard. Seems 1 1/4″ nails are recommended. Roofs been on quite awhile and the nails held ok. Will the 1 1/4″ nails rust since they will be below the plywood? Or should the shorter nails be used again? Thanks for any help.

they wont rust youll just see them popping thru everywhere. The short nails will work if you are worried about appearence, we have to use them quite often on exposed overhangs and the HO doesnt want to see all the penetrations with no problems

The specification for this states that on plywood or OSB roof decks, the nail shall penetrate past the point with the shank exposed. On lumber type decking, then a minimum of 3/4″ penetration and a irregular nail shank.

This 3/4″ spec is most used ’round here for exposed decorative tongue and groove decking.

1/2″ is too small. Dont know that Ive ever seen a half inch roofing nail. Use the 3/4″ and just 6 nail the shingles.

1/2″ is too small. Dont know that Ive ever seen a half inch roofing nail. Use the 3/4″ and just 6 nail the shingles.

yeah, I just assumed he was guessing and it actually was a 3/4 or 7/8 nail. We normally use the 7/8 for that type of situation, cant remember ever seeing 1/2″ though they do all look short as hell

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Where To Nail Starter Strip Shingles

Starter strip shingles should be nailed 3 to 4 from the bottom of the shingle. Nailing too close to the bottom edge risks the nails being exposed in between the gaps of the first course of standard roofing shingles. Nailing the shingles too high may allow more movement in the shingle, damaging the sealant strip.

Can You Reuse Roofing Nails

If you take off a shingle for repairs or take off the whole roof in preparation for a reroofing job, youll have a ton of roofing nails on hand. You may be tempted to reuse these to save on costs. Thats a bad idea. Not only is it tedious to yank these nails out, but their zinc coating will also be worn. Plus, they may have been otherwise damaged. Its not wise to attempt to reuse them, as they may cause problems on the new roof.

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Lay The Subsequent Rows

  • 6.1;-;Start off the first row with a whole shingle.
  • 6.2;-;Place the shingle in the starting corner in such a way that the last shingle will overhang the fascia board by 3/8″.
  • 6.3;-;Drive in 4 straight nails only until the nail heads make contact with the asphalt. Avoid tearing.
  • 6.4;-;Stagger each new row by a half-tab.
  • 6.5;-;Align the lower edge of the shingle with the top of the notches on the preceding row.
  • 6.6;-;Repeat for every row.

Nail Quantity Per Square

Length x Gauge Steel Barbed Smooth Ring Roofing Nails ...

Shingle manufacturers recommend using four nails per shingle in the main part of the roof and five nails per shingle in the first row. This amounts to an average of 320 nails per square, or 100 square feet. In high-wind areas, you need five nails per shingle, or 480 nails per square. One-and-a-half-inch roofing nails typically have a large, 11-gauge shank and an oversize, 7/16-inch flat head. Moreover, they are hot galvanized to help them withstand the rain and sun on the roof. Approximately 140 of these nails make a pound, so you need about 2 1/4 pounds of them to install a square of shingles in normal conditions and about 3 1/2 pounds in windy conditions.


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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.

How Many Roofing Shingles Do I Need

To estimate how much roofing material you need, such as bundles of architectural shingles or rolls of synthetic roofing underlayment, you need to know the total square footage of your roofs surface.

How to Calculate Total Square Footage of Your Roof

To find your roofs total square footage:

  • Measure the length and width of each plane on the roof then multiply length times width.
  • Add the square footage of each of the planes together.
  • Example #1: Shed Roof with One Roof Plane

    For example, this shed roof has one roof plane.

    Multiply length times width :

    A x B = 40 x 30 = 1200 sq. ft. for the total square footage of the roof.

    Example #2: Gable Roof with Two Roof Planes

    This gable roof has two planes.

    So to derive the total square footage of the roof, you would:

  • Multiply length times width and length times width to get the square footage for each plane.
  • Add the two planes together.
  • For example:

    • Plane 1 : 40 x 30 = 1200 sq. ft.
    • Plane 2 : 40 x 30 = 1200 sq. ft.
    • Plane 1 + Plane 2 = 2400 sq. ft. for the total square footage of the roof.

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    Calculating Proper Roofing Nail Length

    The length of the roofing nail is determined by the material it will be drilled into. Some materials require longer nails, while others do not need a lot of penetration and work with shorter ones.;

    • Some materials like sheds or garden houses have roofs which work just fine with less penetration of the nails.
    • For materials like solid wood, plywood, OSB, and non-veneer wood decking, the nail should go in 19mm.
    • If you are installing thick shingles or doubling the roof by adding shingles over shingles, then the nails need to be at least 30mm to 35mm long.

    Nails that are properly seated will penetrate the roof deck about three-fourths of an inch. If the roof deck itself is three-fourths of an inch thick, then the nail should penetrate at least one-eighth of an inch through the roof deck.

    Tips For Best Performance With Roofing Nails

    Are Roofing Nails Overrated? | GAF Timberline Shingles

    Apart from using the right size of a roofing nail to install shingles, other things need to be kept in mind as well.;

    • Nails are galvanized to make them corrosion resistant. Good quality corrosion-resistant nails should be used because corroded nails can come off or cause development of rust in the shingles.;
    • Ensure proper placement of shingles and their alignment before drilling the nails.;
    • If there are cracks or holes in the roof deck, then the nails should not be installed on such surfaces.;
    • Do not use nails that dont comply with the size and type as specified in the roofing instructions if youve been given any. Also, make sure not to use more or less number of nails per shingle than specified.;
    • Under driven nails should be drilled down until they are at the right length inside the roof deck.
    • Overdriven nails need to be removed altogether. If the nail has done damage to the shingle, it should be replaced along with the shingle.

    Keeping these tips in mind before starting a roofing job can help eliminate a lot of hassle and problems that otherwise may occur and delay one1s work.

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    Lay Out The Starter Shingles

    • 5.1;-;Start in the lower left corner and work towards the valley. Read the manufacturer’s instructions specific to the type of shingle.
    • 5.2;-;Snap a horizontal chalk line 5-10″ from the lower edge of the roof. Adjust the measurement according to the type of shingle.
    • 5.3;-;Snap a vertical chalk line every 6 and horizontal lines at regular intervals to ensure the rows of shingles will be straight.
    • 5.4;-;Use a starter strip or cut the tabs off the shingles to be used.
    • 5.5;-;Cut 3-5″ from the left side of the shingle to stagger joins.
    • 5.6;-;Install the starter shingle with the adhesive strip on the edge of the roof. Overlap the fascia boards by approximately 3/8″.
    • 5.7;-;Align with the chalk line. If necessary, move and snap another line according to the width of the starter strip
    • 5.8;-;Secure the starter strip with 4 nails equally spaced. Do not nail closer than 6″ from the fascia board, 1″ from the lateral edges, and ½” above each notch. Do not nail into the self-adhesive strip. Nails must be perfectly straight and flush with the surface of the shingles.
    • 5.9;-;Install starter rows the entire length of the eaves.
    • 5.10;-;When you come to a valley, place the starter strip on top of the flashing and cut along the chalk line.
    • 5.11;-;Nail 2″ from the chalk line.
    • 5.12;-;Make a 2″ bevel cut in the upper corner of the strip and coat the valley side with asphalt sealant.

    What Size Nails Do You Use For Shingles

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    Proper NailApplication For Asphalt ShinglesNails 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.

    One may also 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.

    Subsequently, question is, how do you nail down shingles?

    NAILING: Use galvanized roofing nails, 11 or 12 gauge, with at least 3/8″ diameter heads, long enough to penetrate through plywood or 3/4″ into boards. Use 4 nails per shingle placed 6-1/8″ above the butt edge, 1″ and 13″ in from each end and 1/2″ above each cutout.

    Is it better to hand nail shingles?

    Technically, it does not matter if a roofer hand or gun nails the asphalt shingles on your new roof. By handnailing the roof, roofers can ensure the nail is properly placed and is nailed in at the correct depth; flush with the shingle and not over- or under-driven.

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    Problems With Roofing Nails And Installation

    A number of problems can occur with wrongly sized nails installed in roofs. The structure of the roof, alongside its attachment to the house, can be affected.;

    • Nails not drilled properly can cause materials such as wood and timber to splinter over time. The gaps and cracks created by those splinters can be problematic because they would allow things to pass through. Another problem would be moisture that can form in the gaps and deform the shape of the wood or cause molds to grow in these spaces.
    • Using longer nails than required when driven into roofs may cause cracks and those nails to loosen and come out.;
    • If nails are overdriven, then there is likely to be breakage in the shingle. They may also go all the way through and form holes in the shingle, making it unworthy of use.
    • If nails are under driven, they can create air bubbles making the roof vulnerable to wind damage.

    Installing roofing nails seems like a small task; however, if not done correctly, it can lead to costly expenses in the long run to fix and redo. Gaps, holes, or cracks made because of improper installation can cause expansion or contraction in the roofing material, which can damage the entire deck.


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