A Guide to Buying the Right Roofing Nails for Your Project

Hammer and nails
  • 1-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-250

A variety of roofing nails are available for use with different roofing materials. Below are descriptions of the three basic roofing nails and the type of roof they should be used on.

1. Size, Length and Gauge of Nails

Before you go shopping for roofing nails, you need to have an idea of what you are looking for. Note that roofing nails come in different sizes, lengths and gauges. Roofing nails range from one to six inches in length. The thickness of the nail is directly proportional to its length, thus the longer the nail, the bigger its size.

Nails that are longer than six inches are called pikes and they are seldom used on roofs. The most commonly used roofing nails range from one to two inches in length. If you need bigger nails including pikes, you may need to place a special order at the hardware store. The one to two inch roofing nails are suitable for most types of roof shingles.

2. The Screw Shank Nails

If your roof is made of wood and pallets, you should consider using a screw shank nail instead of a hand driven nail. The twisted shank can hold the wood and pallets more securely so you need not worry about your roof coming apart in bad weather. Another interesting feature of the screw shank nail is that it has a flat head with diamond tip which enables it to penetrate the roofing material easily without causing undue stress making it a safe bet for wood and shingles.

3. The Ring Shank Nails

The ring shank nail has larger head than the standard nail, which enables it to hold shingles in place. This type of nail is usually made of zinc-plated steel and electro-galvanized carbon steel and are suitable for asphalt roofing felts. Since this type of roofing nail is strong, it can hold shingles in place during adverse weather conditions.

However, since this type of nail is not as sharp as the screw shank nail, it has the tendency to put stress on the roofing materials. Wood and pallets are known to slip under this type of nail.

4. Smooth Shank Nail

If you are on a tight budget, you might want to settle for the smooth shank nail. This type of roofing nail is usually made of copper, stainless steel and aluminum and is cheaper than the other types of nails. However, unlike the more expensive types of nails, the smooth shank nail does not provide very strong support to your roofing.