How to Properly Drive a Roof Nail

December 2, 2015

If you are a big Do-it-Yourself-er (DIY-er), it is absolutely required that you know how to properly drive a roof nail into your roofing system. You might think it’s easy, that you’re just nailing a nail into the roof, but the fact is, if the roof nail isn’t properly driven into the roof, it can cause major problems for your home. Knowing how to properly drive a roof nail is a necessary skill to have especially if you plan on dealing with asphalt shingles on your roof. There are several ways you can deal with driving a roof nail – you can hand nail the nail into your roof system OR you could use a nail gun.

Nailing a roof is extremely important because improperly driven nails can cause shingle damage, leaks, and an ugly roof appearance. Nails have to be placed within a half-inch of the nail line on three tab shingles or within a fourth of the nail line on other shingles. Accidentally driving the nail incorrectly is ok, as long as you correctly drive a nail near the area where you messed up the original roof nail. If you didn’t completely drive in the “incorrect” nail, you should drive it in with a hammer. Just make sure that there is a “correctly” driven nail nearby the incorrect one.

How to Properly Drive a Roof Nail in 4 Easy Steps (Hand Nailing Edition)


First, make sure you’re wearing protective gloves. This is essential to avoid hurting yourself in the process of properly driving in a nail.

Next, as mentioned earlier, you must make sure the nails are within a half inch of the nail line on the three tab shingles, and within a quarter inch on other types of shingles.

Third, hold the nail, while wearing your protective gloves, on the correct location and tap it with a hammer, guiding it into its proper place with your gloved hand until the nail is secured.

Fourth, drive the roof nail in straight and make sure it doesn’t go in too deep. If a nail goes in too deep to your roof system damage can happen to the structure of your roof and home. An overdriven nail will look as if it has been sunk into the surface. You also don’t want to under drive your nail. If it’s under driven, the nail will be raised above the roofing surface, which means the nail is not fully installed into your roof. Make sure the nail is “just right”. Not crooked, not overdriven, and not under-driven.

How to Properly Drive a Roof Nail into a Roof (Nail Gun Edition)

If you have a nail gun, that might make it easier for you to drive in roof nails. However, roofing contractors have divisive opinions on using nail guns to drive nails into a roof. Some believe it’s harder to tell when a roof nail has been properly driven when a nail gun is used, especially for those who are new to nailing in roof nails, while others find it easier. Do what seems right for you.

Either way, if you use a nail gun, you should know how to properly drive a nail into the roof system. Similarly to hand nailing, you have to place the nail in the proper place on the roof shingle. Once that is done, it’s very easy. All you have to do is pull the trigger and the nail will go in automatically. Check out the nail before moving forward to make sure that it was inserted correctly.

Call a Professional

If you’re not a DIY-er, you might want to call a professional. Or if you are a DIY-er but feel uncomfortable at the thought of climbing onto your roof and nailing, or you attempted to do so but felt like you were overdriving or underdriving all the nails, you should call in a professional like Accord Construction, Inc. At Accord Construction, we’re available to help you through any type of roofing issue you may have. No matter if you need a general roof inspection, worried about leaks, or if you just need help correcting nails, we can help you. Call us at (405) 302-5520 to arrange a consultation or if you just want to learn more. We’re here to help.

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