Nails are one of the tiniest components of your asphalt roofing system, but they can have a significant impact on the long-term performance of your roofing shingles.
Unfortunately, not every roofing company has an attentive eye or standard of excellence, resulting in poorly fastened nails and costly damage to your home.
We’re here to help you understand the importance of correct nailing patterns and how to spot improperly placed nails, so you can ensure your home is safe and secure!
Why Are Nailing Patterns Important?
Nailing patterns keep your roofing shingles securely fastened during powerful storms and extreme weather to prevent leaks inside your home.
Roofers must follow specific guidelines and directions provided by the manufacturer and local building codes during your roof installation. These instructions include the number of nails required per roofing shingle and where to place the nails for maximum strength and top-quality performance.
Typically, the nailing zone specified by manufacturers is the “common bond” area, and roofers must apply the nails to this area for the roofing system to work correctly. Properly placed nails will penetrate two layers of roofing shingles—the shingle they’re securing and the shingle underneath. This placement ensures each roofing shingle is fastened to your roof deck with two layers of nails for maximum performance.
What Can Happen When My Roofing Shingles Are Nailed Incorrectly?
Poorly placed nails make your roofing shingles vulnerable to damage and put your entire roofing system at risk. Powerful gusts of wind and wind-driven rain can cause shingle blow-offs, which leave your home unprotected against moisture damage and leaks.
Quick Ways to Spot Improperly Nailed Shingles
Do you suspect your roof may have been installed incorrectly? If so, here are some ways to spot faulty nailing patterns and poor-quality nails.
Roofing nails are different from the collection of nails you’ll find in your tool shed or at hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot.
Your roofer should use galvanized nails made from zinc-coated steel to protect them from rust. Additionally, roofing nails have broad, flat heads and heavy-duty shanks to keep them securely fastened against your roof.
If your nails are rusty or have small heads, the roofing company that installed your shingles likely completed the project incorrectly.
Although it may be difficult to tell after your roofing shingles have already been installed, the length of the nails impacts their performance.
Nails should be long enough to penetrate the roofing shingles, sheathing, and decking. Thicker roofing materials, like designer or architectural asphalt roofing shingles, may require longer nails than standard three-tab asphalt shingles.
You should quickly be able to notice if your roofing shingles have too few nails fastening them to your decking. Since nailing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the installation process, inexperienced roofers may try to shorten the job by not using enough nails.
Typically, four nails are adequate per roofing shingle, but a professional roofer can help you determine how many nails are needed per roofing shingle for the material and brand you choose.
Nail placement is a critical aspect of installing roofing shingles correctly. In fact, if a roofer places your nails incorrectly, it can invalidate your warranty from the manufacturer!
Nails should secure two shingles at a time—the top shingle and the edge of the shingle directly below. Sometimes, roofers will nail the top shingles too close to the upper edge, which completely misses the shingle below.
You can determine if your nails were correctly placed by looking at your roofing system. If your nails are in clean, even lines, you can usually assume they are in the right place.
Roofing nails should be driven in straight for the most secure hold. If your nails are angled, they aren’t properly doing their job. Typically, angled nails occur when inexperienced roofers decide to hand-drive nails with a hammer rather than a nail gun.
If your roofer installed the right nails, they should have flat heads, as we mentioned earlier. When applied, nail heads should be flush with the top of the roofing shingle.
Nails driven in too deeply can break the shingles, making them vulnerable to moisture damage from rain, snow, and ice. This often happens when roofers use pneumatic nail guns that aren’t adjusted to the correct settings before they are used. Nails that aren’t driven in deeply enough can make your shingles more prone to blowing off during windstorms.
If you notice any nails poking above your shingles or small holes where the nails are resting, the nailing was done incorrectly.
Invest in Expert Installation with Kansas City’s Premier Roofing Company
One of the best ways to ensure your roofing shingles are property nailed is to choose an experienced roofing company to complete your installation.
Christian Brothers Roofing is Kansas City’s most certified roofing contractor. We’re committed to staying current on industry standards and protecting your warranty with premium products and expert installation—including proper nail placement!
Learn more about our asphalt roofing shingles to discover why homeowners across Kansas and Missouri trust our detailed workmanship and top-quality products.