For years there’s been a debate in the re-roofing industry: staples versus nails. Which one is best? And for years, the National Roofing Contractors Association has tried to persuade roofers to use nails. They just have better holding power.

Now we’re actually starting to see manufacturers require the use of nails. The installation manual of one of our preferred shingles has it in big, bold letters: staples are not acceptable.

A staple is good for a wood shake because it pierces through, goes over the wood, and grabs it. But with composition shingle, it’s pretty thin and only digs in a little bit.

There’s also a difference in the quality of nails available. You can go from a regular electro galvanized nail, to a hot tip galvanized nail, to a stainless steel nail. Your roofer should go through all of them with you, and tell you how long each one will last on your roof.  

For example, a hot dipped galvanized nail is dipped into a galvanizing solution. It puts a thicker coating on there and makes the nail a little rougher, so it’s less likely to back out. You get a longer life out of it.

If you’re going to put on a 50-year roof, why use a nail that’s only going to last 15 to 20 years?

There’s also a specific number of nails and nailing zone that your roofer has to hit. If you’re living in you’re living in Camas or Washougal, there’s a lot of wind that comes out of the gorge. You can’t just go with the bare minimum of four nails. Some of the city codes have dictated that you need to use five or six nails.

What does your city code tell you? And is the roofer paying attention to that? If your roofer breaks city code, the manufacturer is not going to honor your warranty.

That’s why we don’t just go to your door, bid out the roof, and leave the paperwork at your door. We sit down with you. We actually talk about the nail. I know it sounds really boring, but these are all important things. We explain each component and tell you how long they will last on your roof. And then you tell me, which one do you want to use for your home?


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