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Roofing Nails And Sheathing


Should roofing nails penetrate through the sheathing?

Installing roofing tiles can be a complex process if you have never performed the task before. There are many factors that must be considered, including the appropriate installation method for the type of tile you are using and the style of roof you have. One common question that people who are installing roofing may ask is if roofing nails should go through the sheathing. 

If sheathing is less than 3/4 inches thick, it is appropriate to hammer roofing nails through the sheathing. Doing so ensures that the shingles won’t easily pull away in a storm.  

Not every roofing project is the same, but the steps are quite similar across projects. Understanding the necessary steps and proper nailing techniques can allow you to effectively install your roofing materials. 

Preparing To Install A New Roof

There is a typical process for installing a new roof. Follow these steps to ensure optimal results for your roofing project. 

Remove old roofing

Before you install new roofing, you need to remove the old roofing. Ideally, you should do some prep in the area to keep nails and debris from being spread around the property. Cover the ground surrounding the building with tarps that will catch any debris.

Then, use tools, like a fork, to start tripping the roof. Some people use forks, rather than shovels because forks are less likely to catch nails, speeding up the tear-off process. Work your way down and around the roof until all of the shingles have been removed. 

You may need to pay special attention to shingles that are clinched underneath metal flashing that surrounds external walls, chimneys, skylights, or dormers. Pry them up to release the roofing materials and push them back down once you have removed the materials.

Once you have removed all of the old roofing materials, dispose of any old shingles and clean up any debris that is left on the roof. 

Repair and reinforce the roof

After you have removed the old roof, you may notice that the sheathing layer is damaged or weak. If this is the case, you need to strengthen it before installing a new roof. This is especially necessary if you are installing tiles, as they are far heavier than most shingles. 

Install the underlayment

Roofing underlayment is a water-resistant and waterproof barrier material that is applied directly to your roof deck. The underlayment goes underneath the other roofing materials to add an additional layer of protection from severe weather.

Underlayments are usually made using asphalt-saturated felt, rubberized asphalt, or synthetic materials. The type of underlayment you choose will determine how well-sealed your roof is and how resistant it is to harmful climate factors like wind-driven rain. 

Seal off obstacles

Your roof may have obstacles protruding from it, such as chimneys or dormers. If this is the case, you will need to install metal flashing that is properly sealed using caulk or another sealant.

Your underlayment layer should also be cut to fit around the flashing to keep the areas properly sealed. 

Installing The New Roof

After your old roof has been stripped, cleared of all debris, and cleaned appropriately, it’s time to install the new roof. These are some steps you should follow to install new roofing materials.

Install battens

Battens are thin strips of material that are placed horizontally along the length of a roof. They are used to hold roofing tiles in place; therefore, someone installing shingles normally will not need battens.

To determine the right spacing for your battens, place two tiles along the roof, and ensure that there is a minimum of a 3-inch overlap. Measure the distance between the tiles and use that spacing along the entire roof (sourceOpens in a new tab.). 

Install your roofing materials

If your roof has battens, you will need to nail your tiles into the battens or use specialized clips to anchor the tiles to the battens. Some tiles interlock tightly and, therefore, will not need to all be nailed down, but in many cases, you will need to nail them down.

With asphalt shingles, you need to nail all of your tiles into the base of your roof. 

Shape your tiles to fit around corners

There are often very tight spaces strewn throughout a roofing surface. You will need to cut your roofing materials to fit snugly into these areas, ensuring full coverage. Usually, the tiles or shingles at the end of each row will need to be cut to some extent. 

Install Ridge Tiles

After the broad surfaces of the roof have been covered, you will need to cap the peaks of the roof using special ridge tiles. These rounded tiles ensure that the points where your roof sections come together are properly shielded from damage. This is the final step of your roof installation. 

Roofing Nails Through The Sheathing

When installing your new roof, you may be concerned with whether or not you should nail your shingles or tiles directly through the sheathing. Some people feel that this may risk issues with leaks.

In fact, it is overwhelmingly common for roofers to hammer nails through the sheathing, as roofing nails are often quite long, and the plywood or OSB that is commonly used for sheathing isn’t that thick. In fact, many homes have nails visibly sticking out of the ceiling in their attics (sourceOpens in a new tab.). 

Improper Nailing Techniques

When installing roofing materials, improper nailing can cause malfunctions in your roof. Overdriven nails, for example, can punch through the mat of a shingle and increase the risk of the shingle coming loose and being blown away.

An overdriven nail can also void the manufacturer’s warranty for that shingle, potentially causing problems when you go to replace them.

Improperly placed nails can also cause issues. For example, a nail that is located too high on a shingle won’t penetrate the shingles beneath it. This failure makes roofing materials less wind resistant, increasing the potential for them to be blown from the roof. 

Roof Shingles vs Roof Tiles

Roof tiles come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. The materials you choose for your roofing project will determine how well your roof fares under certain climate conditions (sourceOpens in a new tab.).

For example, clay tiles are considered to be one of the most durable, long-lasting types of roof tiles. In fact, a well-made clay roof is expected to last approximately 100 years. The downside to clay roofing is that clay tiles may turn out to be quite expensive compared to other materials, like concrete. 

If tiles are not your preferred roofing material, you can also use shingles that are comprised of asphalt or another material, such as slate or plastic. Asphalt is the most commonly used material for shingles in the U.S, as it is known for its exceptional waterproof properties and low, upfront cost.

The downside of using roofing shingles is that they are prone to deteriorate over time, allowing moss growth and debris accumulation. The granules on asphalt shingles help prevent algae to some degree but the course surface is still prone to growth. Although this issue can be solved using specialized cleaning products and services.   

Choosing between shingles or tiles often depends on the preference of the property owner. While tiles made of materials like clay may be more expensive, they also have greater longevity and are often more aesthetically appealing.

Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, only have a lifespan of approximately 20 years and may require more upkeep. Tiles often way more, too, so you must also keep in mind the max weight capacity of your roof before choosing. 

Proper Roof Installation

If you are installing your roof or having roofers install a roof on your property, it helps to understand how the process works. It is also important to make sure that all of the steps are followed, and the right materials are used to ensure a long-lasting finished product. 

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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