Are You Using the Right Kind of Nails for Your Roofing Repairs?

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Many people mistakenly assume that roofing nails come in one variety--and one variety only. This simply isn't true. In fact, the type of roofing nails you choose can end up having a large impact on the lifespan of your roof. If you have plans to repair your roof, read on. This article will explain two key factors to be aware of when purchasing roofing nails.

Shank Type

All nails consist of two main parts: the shank and the head. All roofing nails have one of three basic shank types: ring, screw, or smooth. While the least expensive option, smooth shank nails also offer the weakest amount of support. In other words, shingles held down by smooth shank nails run a considerably higher risk of coming loose in inclement weather.

Screw shank nails, by comparison, are specially designed to offer a high degree of grip. This is due to two important design features: a diamond point tip, and a special screw-like shank. The diamond tip is intended to facilitate full, easy penetration. The twisted shank ensures that the nail will stay tightly locked into place, and is an especially desirable attribute for wood and pallet roofs.

Rink shank nails are distinguished by two important features: an extra large head and a series of low, circular ridges around the shank. The large head means more surface area to hold down shingles. The shank rings are designed to help hold the nail firmly in place. It should also be noted that rink shank nails don't have tips as sharp as those of screw shank nails, making them less suitable for non-asphalt shingles.

Nail Length

Most roofing nails are between one and two inches long--or 2 to 5 centimeters. However, it is important to realize that choosing a nail length should not be an arbitrary decision. That's because if your nails are too short, you will likely find yourself dealing with loose shingles and/or nails that pop out of place.

There are two factors you must know in order to determine the right length of roofing nail: the thickness of the sheathing below your shingles and the type of shingles you're using (either 3-tab or dimensional). However, there's no need to worry if you don't have this information on hand. There's a simple way to determine whether your nails are long enough.

All you have to do is head up to your attic and measure how far the roofing nails are penetrating the underside of the sheathing. In order to guarantee a strong, long-lasting grip, there should be at least 3/8" of nail visible. Anything less than this runs the risk of working loose as your roof expands and contracts with the changing seasons.