With the robust winds of spring clearly upon us, we have received several inquiries from customers regarding the issue of using nails versus staples in fastening asphalt shingles on your roof. Most manufacturers recommend against using staples to fasten asphalt shingles. We also receive a lot of inquiries as to how many nails should be used per shingle.
When nail gun equipment was first introduced many years ago, it was the sliced bread of the roofing industry. It was touted as the way to go because it was so much faster than hand nailing. What actually happened is that it provided a lot of work for repair crews because the nails were not properly fastened to the shingle. Any jackleg can climb on a roof and start blasting nails out of a nail gun. In order to be effective, not only does the proper number of nails need to be used, but the placement of the nail is crucial as well. If the nail was not nailed in straight or was driven too hard, it could cause problems with the quality of the roof. If the nail is shot too high it will miss the bottom shingle. If it is shot too low it will be exposed and cause a leak.
Special consideration should be given to roofs that are subject to higher than normal wind conditions. The proper use of the nails is what keeps the shingles on your roof year after year – remember, the location of the nail is critical to wind resistance. While the shingle has self sealing tabs, it will keep the tabs from lifting up in high winds, but it will not keep shingles from blowing off that do not have the proper number of nails or that the nails were installed in the incorrect place.
In order to protect the warranty of your roof, the homeowner must make sure that the contractor is aware of the correct number of nails, the position of the nails, and how they should be nailed in. Otherwise, your warranty is compromised. The size of nails is important because in order to survive strong winds, the shingle must be nailed down with the proper nail, in the designated section on the shingle.
We offer the following advice: Hire a contractor who is credentialed to offer extended manufacturers’ warranties. A credentialed contractor works closely with shingle manufacturers and understands the instructions mandated by the manufacturer to nail shingles on properly. If a warranty issue should pop up, you want to make sure that the contractor you hire has properly installed the roof from sheathing up to shingles.
While this may be something that never passes your mind, it should: many contractors are only interested in getting a new roof installed quickly and moving on. Clear up this issue with the contractor of your choice before signing a contact. Your warranty depends upon it, and so does your roof.