Roofing Nails Size (All You Need to Know)

As ink is to a pen, so is a nail to a roof. We all know that a roof is one component that a home or building cannot do without, but not a lot of us know about roofing nails.

 Roofing nails are nails used to reinforce or secure roofing sheets on a structure or building. They come in different sizes and materials and can be used with all types or sizes of roofing materials.

To successfully roof a house or building, you’d need quality roofing sheets, roofing nails of the right size, and highly skilled or experienced roofers to properly put the sheets in place.

You can easily tell a roofing nail from regular nails because of their large round heads. The strength and durability of these types of nails depend on the materials they’re made out of.

Materials that can be used to make or produce roofing nails include aluminum, copper, stainless, and galvanized steel.

As you may know, one of the major reasons why the roofing sheets on a home or a building can withstand harsh outdoor conditions, such as heavy winds, is because of quality roofing nails. 

In this article, we’ll be taking you through everything there is to know about roofing nails.

What Size Roofing Nails for 7/16 Sheathing?

3/8-inch to 7/16 diameter roofing nails are unarguably the best type of roofing nails for a 7/16 sheathing. This information is in accordance with the provisions of the NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association).

Furthermore, the nails should be around 5/4 to 2 inches long; this would ensure that they thoroughly penetrate and fuse the roof sheathing.

You can refer to the above specification of nails as 8d common nails or 8-penny nails. The 7/16-inch paneling is usually preferred for roof sheathing by many contractors because it is quite dense.

When working with this size of sheathing, ensure you use a long nail. Long nails are ideal for 7/16 sheathing because their length enables them to thoroughly penetrate and secure the material.

Sheathing is also known as decking; it is a wooden structure that supports the shingles and all other parts of the roof. In simple terms, it is the skeleton or internal framework of a roof.

Roof sheathing must be properly installed for a roof to efficiently serve as a protective barrier. It prevents leaks and wind blow-offs and provides support to the roof.

Roof Sheathing can either be made out of plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Boards). Plywood is heavier, can withstand adverse weather conditions, and is long-lasting.

OSB, on the other hand, is lightweight and less dense. It is less expensive compared to plywood.

What Size Roofing Nails for ½ Plywood?

For ½-inch plywood, you should use a 6d-8d finishing nail. The nail should be about 19mm long so it can go through at least ¾-inch of the decking.

Make sure the type of plywood you’re using is suitable for roofing. Otherwise, it won’t be able to hold your roofing nails and will weaken the structure of your roof.

There are four types of plywood suitable for roofing a house or building.

  • Structural Plywood
  • Shuttering Plywood
  • CDX Plywood and,
  • Fire-Retardant Plywood

What Size Roofing Nails for ¾ Plywood?

The size of roofing nails to be used on ¾-inch plywood is a 6d finishing or casting nail. Nails of this type are 2 inches or 5 centimeters long and can also be used for fine woodwork and attaching trims.

Kindly note that 3/4-inch plywood can bear a heavy load, but certain loads like ice or snow can weaken its load-bearing capacity. 

What Size Roofing Nails for Ridge Caps?

Ridge Caps vary in size, but we recommend that you use 2 inches as the standard 1¼ inch nails are not strong enough to hold down the ridge and other components on the roof.

For those that are new to the construction space, ridge caps are building materials specially manufactured or produced for covering the ridges of a roof.

A minimum of 2 nails should be nailed or hammered into each shingle of a ridge cap. The nails should bore into at least 3/4 inches of the sheathing.

Additionally, the nails might have to be considerably longer to be able to keep the other layers of the roofing firm and to also fasten them onto the roof deck.

What Size Roofing Nails to Use for Shingles?

According to the 2006 IRC (International Residential Code), a stainless steel, copper, or aluminum roofing nail with a 3 mm shank and 10 mm diameter head should be used on an asphalt shingle.

The code also states that at least ¾ inch (19mm) of the roofing nail should bore into the shingle to secure it properly.

The length of roofing nails used for shingles can range from 1 to 2 inches. The above specification of roofing nails can be used on a 3 tab-asphalt shingle or the architectural shingle.

The asphalt shingle is the most used type of shingle by roofers, while the architectural shingle is modern and more intricate in design.

If you decide to fasten your shingles with galvanized steel nails, ensure that they are hot-dipped, this will protect your nails from elements like rust and corrosion, plus it’d make the nails last longer.

Thicker shingles might require longer roofing nails so that both shingle and sheathing will be fastened properly. It is also worthy of note that the thicker the shingle, the longer it lasts.

Roofing nails for thick shingles should be long enough to bore into at least ⅛” of roofing sheath.

What Size Roofing Nails for Two Layers of Shingles?

Two-layered shingles are simply shingles stacked on top of one another. The size of roofing nails for a double shingleshould be around 30-35mm, which is about three times the size of a roofing nail for a single shingle.

The denser the shingle of a roof, the higher the length of the roofing nails used to fasten or secure the material.

  • A 1 ½ inch roofing nail should be used on a two-layered shingle mounted on a ¾ inch plank or deck.
  • The above specification of nails can also be used if the decking or plank isn’t up to ¾ inch.

What Size Roofing Nails for Architectural Shingles?

If your roofers are using architectural shingles with a ¾-inch sheath or decking, they’ll need a 1-inch nail. Where a thicker decking is required 1¼- inch nails will be needed.

Architectural shingles are also called dimensional shingles because they give a roof a more beautiful and artistic appearance.

When compared to an asphalt shingle, an architectural shingle is a thicker, more expensive, and more durable option; it can last for 30-50 years, and it is fire and wind-resistant.

How Many Roofing Nails Come in a Coil?

Roofing nails in a coil, otherwise called coiled roofing nailers, are simply roofing nails arranged in a coil. A typical box of coil nails has 7200 nails, and, in each coil, there are 120 nails.

A coiled roofing nailer with a high fastening capacity is just what you need to get any project done fast. The downside of these tools is that they’re quite heavy and slightly exerting to work with.

Nailers that are lightweight do exist, but they’re not so easy to identify, especially when you’re shopping online; they’re made of aluminum, magnesium, and plastic.

Some nailers have a one-off action; what this means is that one nail can be propelled with the push of a trigger button.

Nailers with multiple recoil action are also available on the market. They are capable of driving one or more nails at a single push.

Final Thoughts

As long as you use the right size of nails and the right tools, you should have no trouble roofing a home or building.

Referencing the building codes in your district will also help you make the right decisions and take the right steps.

We recommend that you contact a professional roofer to handle this kind of project. Installing a roof is quite risky. It requires advanced woodworking skills and technical knowledge.

So, do not hesitate to seek professional help if you think you’re not cut out for the task.