Finding suitable materials is essential when repairing or installing a roof. Your roof plays a vital role in protecting your home from the elements, so it’s essential to do your research.

There are many different types of roofing nails, so knowing which one best suits your application can be confusing. This comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know about roof nails.

What Are Roof Nails, Anyway?

aerial view of roofA roof nail is a type of nail that is used for attaching metal sheets, shingles, or tiles to the surface of a roof structure. These nails are generally much thicker and longer than standard nails, guaranteeing a firm grip on the roof deck.

Since they are often exposed to harsh weather conditions, such as rain and snow, roof nails often use corrosion-resistant materials like galvanized steel to prevent rust. They have several head types that distribute the load while preventing the tearing of the roofing material.

To improve grip, the shank might be smooth or ringed. Roofing nails with these characteristics offer long-lasting and dependable fastening for roofing materials while preserving the roof’s structural integrity.

Types of Roofing Nails

person holding damaged shingle roofThe type of nail you use is crucial since it directly affects how well the roofing materials are in place. There are three types of nails, namely:

  • Smooth shank nails,
  • Ring shank, and
  • Screw shank

Each nail type has a different application, so you would generally use it for a specific application. In the section below, we’ll provide insight into each type of nail and what it’s used for.

Screw Shank Nails

Suppose your roof is made from wood. In that case, screw shank nails are handy. This type of nail is excellent at fixing shingles even in adverse weather due to its unusual twisted shank.

Its flattened head and diamond tip, which enable it to penetrate roofing shingles without producing undue stress, are also distinguishing traits.

Ring Shank Nails

Ring shank nails, often called electro-galvanized roofing nails, are made from galvanized steel and are larger than regular nails. They are used to secure asphalt roofing shingles and felts, which they do well, but due to their relative bluntness compared to other types of roofing nails, they have been known to cause tension.

Smooth Shank Nails

On the other hand, smooth shank nails are significantly less expensive than other roofing nails. They are said to be suitable for those looking for roofing materials at an affordable price. However, they do not offer as much holding power and are susceptible to harsh weather conditions, which you will need to keep in mind if you decide to go with these nails for your roof.

When Determining Which Roofing Nails to Choose, It’s Important to Look at the Gauge, Length, and Size

Once you have chosen the correct type of nail, you will need to look at the dimensions.

How-To-Do-A-Quick-Roof-RepairDespite their various gauges, sizes, and lengths, all roof nails have two distinguishing characteristics: a flat, broad head and a short shank. This unique design ensures that they can puncture a wide range of materials without causing any damage.

The gauge and length suitable for an application will vary depending on the material used and the job type you’re working on. An optimal gauge, or diameter, ranges from 10 to 12. Moreover, roof nails can be between one and six inches long, although the most common lengths are one to two inches, ideal for standard asphalt shingles.

roofer inspecting a residential roofHowever, if you install a roof over pre-existing shingles or use thick, wooden shingles, you will most likely require one 1/4-inch nails.

A roof nail should be sufficient to make a nail hole in the shingle or metal sheet and then at least 3/4 inch into the plywood or roof decking beneath. Because sheathing thickness varies, longer nails may be required depending on the roof decking chosen.

Roofing Nails Are Available In Various Materials

It’s also important to think carefully about the material of your roofing nails when using them on roofs. That’s because the material will determine how well the nail holds up when it experiences tension. In the section below, we’ll look at some of the most common roofing nail materials to help you make the right choice.

Aluminum Nails

Aluminum nails are a robust option for securing metal roofing. However, they tend to rust when in contact with salt, so they should not be used in coastal areas.

Electro-galvanized Roofing Nails

These nails are specially made by coating the metal nails with a layer of zinc. This makes them more resistant to rust and degradation, meaning they are the nail of choice for many roofing projects. Since they aren’t affected by moisture and salt, they are frequently used in coastal areas.

Copper Nails

Copper nails are common roofing nails that provide fundamental benefits in many situations and for many various types of roofing. However, other types of nails may be more advantageous and offer greater resilience.

Steel Nails

Stainless steel nails are more rust-resistant than aluminum, providing excellent support for ceramic and slate roofing tiles.

Consult a Professional for Help Choosing the Correct Roofing Nails

The truth is that choosing the proper roofing nails is essential. After all, they are vital structures in your roofing system, so you must choose nails that will stand the test of time. We recommend consulting a local professional for advice on the best nail types for your project.

A roofing contractor can offer expert guidance and ensure that the type of nails you’re using suits your area’s climatic conditions.

Roofing Project Keeping You Up at Night? We Are Here to Help

Repairing or installing a roof is no easy endeavor. From choosing the wrong materials to installing them incorrectly, a lot can go wrong. This is why it’s best to contact a reliable roofing contractor to make the job easier.

At Austin Roofing & Water Damage, we have what it takes to complete the job on time and within your budget. We also have extensive experience with roofing nails, so that you can turn to us for expert guidance.

To learn more, contact us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of nails do you use on a roof?

The type of roofing nails you use for your roof will depend on the roofing materials you are working with. Screw shank nails are generally recommended for hardwood, while ring shank nails are recommended for asphalt shingles and felt.

Smooth shank nails can be a cheaper alternative to these two types. We recommend consulting a professional roofing contractor to learn more about the best nail type for your project.

It’s important to note that regular nails should never be used for roofing projects. The results could be disastrous. Always ensure that your nails are a sufficient length to prevent the shingles from coming loose.

How big should roofing nails be?

The size of your roofing nail will depend on the roofing material that will be used. Generally, your roofing nail should be long enough to penetrate the shingle and go at least 3/4 of an inch into the decking or plywood beneath.

Should roofing nails come through the roof?

Roofing nails should ideally come through the shingles and into the structure beneath. However, you should never see them sticking out of the roof, which can pose safety risks.