8th February 2019
If you are planning to install a new roof onto your property you will need to become familiar with the different types of roofing nails that are available. In our guide to buying roofing nails, we discuss some of the types you can use, their benefits and some of the more common issues found with nails that are installed incorrectly.
Choosing the right size, length and gauge of nail.
To narrow the selection down from the many types of roofing nails available, it helps to know what you are looking for before you consider making a purchase. As with any type of nail, roofing nails can be bought in a range of different lengths, sizes and gauges.
Roofing nails tend to be available in lengths ranging between 25mm to 152mm. In most cases a roofing nail is between 25mm to 60mm. Any nail that is longer than 152mm is instead called a pike and is not suitable for use in roofing projects as it would penetrate too deeply into the cover materials and beyond.
When to choose a screw shank nail.
For roofs that are made up of wood and pallets, a screw shank nail is considered the best option, instead of relying on a hand driven nail. This is due to the twisted shank that is able to hold the timber more securely, meaning the roof structure will remain firmly in place, even during bad weather conditions.
Another main characteristic of a screw shank nail is the flat head that also features a diamond tip. This makes it easier to penetrate the roofing material, without creating any unnecessary issues, which is why many professionals opt to use screw shank nails for timber roofing projects.
When to choose a ring shank nail.
Compared to a standard nail, a ring shank nail features a larger head that is able to firmly hold roofing materials in place. Anyone searching for this type of nail will note it is made of galvanised carbon steel while also being zinc-plated, making it extremely durable and perfect for use with asphalt roofing felts.
Another great benefit of using a ring shank nail is its ability to withstand even the poorest weather conditions on a regular basis. However, this nail does not feature a diamond tip, which means it isn’t as sharp as a screw shank nail. This often results in a rink shank nail placing more stress onto the roofing materials after it has been driven in.
Aluminium Ring Shank Nails always tend to be a popular choice, with a 1kg pack of 3.35 x 50mm nails costing only £15.02 (inc. VAT). Alternatively, you can always opt for Stainless Steel Ring Shank Nails, which cost £20.28 (inc. VAT) for a 1kg pack.
When to choose a Smooth Shank Nail.
Another alternative available to use are smooth shank nails. These are seen as being a more cost effective option, although they still provide excellent value for money. Smooth shank nails tend to be made from either aluminium, stainless steel or copper. This is the most common type of roofing nail, and they are also used in a number of general construction applications.
Common problems found with roofing nail installation.
In most cases homeowners will choose to outsource the job of installing a new roof to a professional company. As long as you do the relevant background checks to ensure they have a history of providing good quality work, you are far less likely to experience any issues with the roof after installation.
Those who decide to take on the job themselves to save money, or hire a roofing installation company without doing thorough checks, may run into some of the problems below:
Low and high nailing
Improper nailing is one of the most common mistakes made when installing a new roof. Another issue that compounds this further is that it is difficult to spot if you are not an experienced professional. In order to maximise the strength of your new roofing system, the nails must be installed accurately.
When the nails are installed too quickly in order to save costs, mistakes tend to happen and their placement is often found to be incorrect. This can lead to the appearance of gaps, along with corrosion of the nails, while the roofing material can even start to expand and contract.
Under and over driven nails
When nails are overdriven they are more likely to create tears and breaks in the shingle. They may even go all the way through, making them unable to offer any sort of support. On the other hand, under driven nails can create an air bubble that may leave the roof open to wind damage. When a nail is correctly driven into the material, the head will be flush against the shingles. Not only does it protect the roof from damage at a later date, it is also far more aesthetically pleasing.
What larger issues can badly installed nails lead to?
Larger problems can also start to develop with the integrity of the structure when nails have not been installed correctly. For example, poorly driven nails into timber can see the material start to warp and splinter over time, creating gaps that encourages the formation of moisture which then leads to mildew on both sides of the roof.
Poorly driven nails will also lead to the development of cracks, which allows nails to loosen and come out of the material and roof structure. Rainwater can then get inside and if this is not resolved quickly, leaks will develop along with damp and mould which can quickly spread down into the rest of the property. While a poorly driven nail may seem like a small problem, it is a key part of the installation process to get right, as the problems it can create can prove to be extremely costly in the long run.