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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Roof Nails for Your Project
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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Roof Nails for Your Project
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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Roof Nails for Your Project

Posted on August 22, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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Roof Nails

When tackling roofing projects, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. But, we often keep our thinking limited to the type of roofing material we need. However, other parts are just as important. 

One of these parts, roofing nails, might seem like minor accessories, but they play a huge role in keeping your roof together. These tiny titans are crucial for the durability and longevity of your roof. In this guide, we’re going to dive headfirst into the factors you should keep in mind when you’re on the hunt for the perfect roof nails. 

So, grab your hard hat, and let’s uncover how to find the perfect nails for your roofing project.

Why Should I Care About Roofing Nails? 

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or you’ve hired a seasoned contractor for your roofing project, having a solid grasp of roofing nails is a game-changer. For the DIYers, understanding the nuances of nail selection ensures your roofing endeavor stands strong through every gust of wind and splash of rain.

Even if you’ve entrusted the project to a professional, gaining a solid understanding of roofing nails empowers you to ask relevant questions and comprehend the decisions your contractor is making. 

Also Read: Nail Pops On Roof: Causes & Solutions

Understanding the Importance of Quality Roof Nails

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let’s emphasize the significance of using high-quality roof nails. Roofing materials can be substantial, and they’re subjected to the whims of nature – from scorching sun to pounding rain and even heavy snow. Properly chosen and installed roof nails can mean the difference between a roof that stands the test of time and one that faces premature deterioration.

Types Of Roofing Nails 

There are several types of roofing nails available, known for their distinct styles and advantages. Below we have provided some information about some of the most popular options.  

Smooth Shank Nails

Let’s start with the most basic type of nails, the smooth shank nails. These nails feature a plain and un-ribbed surface. This simplicity in design allows them to glide easily through roofing materials during installation. 

Smooth shank nails are also often favored for their ease of use and compatibility with different roofing projects, making them a reliable option.

Smooth shank nails

Ring Shank Nails

Ring shank nails, as the name suggests, feature a shank with rings or twists. This little curvy, angular design enhances the nails’ holding strength, preventing them from working their way loose as the years go by. These nails are a go-to choice for securing roofing materials like wood and composite shingles, ensuring a stable and durable roof structure.

These fasteners also go well with most types of roof decks and also last longer than other types of roofing nails. However, as they are far more durable, ring shank nails are also more expensive, so these can dent your budget. 

Ring shank nails

Square Cap Roof Nails 

Another popular type of roofing nail is the square cap nail. These nails feature a square or rectangular metal cap beneath the nail head. This cap serves as a protective barrier, helping secure the shingles in place

While the other two types of roof nails we covered are good for securing a variety of roofing materials, square cap nails are used as a fastener for your roofing underlayment, usually felt.

Square cap roof nails 

Choose The Right Nail Material 

Just like the roofing material plays a huge role in deciding the overall ability of your roof, the same applies to roofing nails. The material you opt for can mean the difference between a roof that weathers storms or buckles under pressure.

Aluminum Roofing Nails

Yes, aluminum is not only a popular choice for metal roof panels but has also made a name for itself in the roofing nail industry. 

Though still useful, aluminum roofing nails are slowly making way for stainless steel roofing nails. 

Galvanized Steel Nails

When it comes to reliability, galvanized steel nails stand tall. These nails are fortified with a protective layer of zinc that shields them from rust and corrosion. They’re the all-weather warriors of the nail world, perfectly suited for a wide range of roofing materials. 

Also, these have the highest lifespan amongst all the nail materials currently available on the market. 

Stainless Steel 

For areas where the air carries the tang of salt or humidity as a constant companion, stainless steel nails are the answer. These offer reasonable durability and cost less than galvanized steel roof nails. So if you are on a bit of a budget, these are a great option. 


Next up is copper. This is one of the most durable roof nails out there.  Copper’s innate resistance to corrosion and rust makes it a prime choice for roofing projects that demand longevity and style. However, copper roofing nails can be more expensive than other types of nails.


Size Of The Roofing Nail

Once you have chosen the type of metal you want, the next thing you will notice is that the roofing nails are available in a wide variety of sizes. These can range from ⅞ inch to 5 inches. However, the most commonly used ones are 1 to 2 inches. 

What size roofing nails will suit your home? This is a common question homeowners face. Selecting the appropriate length and diameter of roofing nails is crucial for proper installation and secure attachment. The nail should penetrate through the roofing material, underlayment, and into the roof deck by at least ¾ inches. This ensures a firm grip and prevents the nails from backing out due to temperature fluctuations.

Nailing Techniques for Different Materials

Proper nailing techniques are essential for the success of your roofing project. Here’s a quick guide for securing different roofing materials:

Asphalt Shingles: 

Start nailing in the center of the shingle strip, about one inch above the cutouts. Place nails in a straight line, avoiding the upper portion of the shingle, as the next row will cover it. Use the manufacturer’s guidelines for the number of nails per shingle.

Wood Shakes: 

Place nails near the top of the shake, ensuring they’re driven flush with the surface. Avoid nailing through the thicker part of the shake, as it can split the wood.

Metal Roofs: 

Nailing metal requires precision. Place nails in the flat portion of the panels, close to the rib. Avoid overdriving, as it can cause distortion and underdriving, which can leave the nail exposed to the elements.

Make Sure That You Use Quality Brands

Imagine building a house on a shaky foundation—it’s a recipe for disaster. Similarly, compromising on the quality of your roof nails can lead to a faulty roof.

While opting for cheaper, lesser-known brands might seem tempting, the potential consequences far outweigh the initial cost savings. Poor-quality nails are susceptible to rust, corrosion, and breakage, undermining the very purpose they serve. In contrast, quality nails are engineered to withstand the harshest elements, safeguarding your roof’s structural integrity and investment.

Here is a list of some of the most common roofing nail brands: 

  • Grip Rite® Metal Cap Nails
  • Fast-N-Tite Roofing Nails
  • Metabo Nails

Nailing the Installation Process

Getting practical, how you install your roof nails matters as much as the nails themselves. Luckily, the efficiency and precision of a roofing project are wrapped in one handy tool. A roofing nail gun is a roofer’s best friend for larger projects. They guarantee consistent nail depth, reducing the risk of overdriving or underdriving nails. 

However, you need to understand that roof nails play a big role in the installation process of your shingles or metal roof. So unless you are really sure how to install nails on your roof, hiring a professional roofing contractor is advised. 

End Note

This tiny but powerful part of your roofing system plays a big role in keeping your roof sturdy through time and challenging weather conditions.

If you are looking for a professional roofing company that can take care of all your residential roofing needs, including the choice of material and roof nails, look no further than the team of All Around Roofing, Siding & Gutters – the best roofing company in Dayton, Ohio. 

Contact us today at (937) 902-2839 to learn more about our team and how we can help you get the best roof in your neighborhood! 

Roof Nails
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