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Which Types of Nails Are Best for Cedar Shingles and Shakes?



Cedar roofs are elegant and durable, and to keep them in peak condition, they require ongoing maintenance and occasional repairs. If your cedar roof is due for maintenance or needs repairs, you might wonder which nails are the most suitable for getting the job done. Nails are available in a seemingly endless variety, and choosing the right ones is essential. The proper fasteners can keep your cedar roof in top condition and ensure a neat, uniform look.


In this article, we'll discuss the significance of using the best nails for a cedar roof and offer tips for finding the right type and size. If your cedar roof needs maintenance or repairs, you can trust the experts at Cedar Roof Coatings.


The Importance of Choosing the Right Nails for Cedar Shingles and Shakes


Using the proper fasteners is vital when repairing a cedar roof — defaulting to just any type of nail in any odd length can lead to damage. A cedar roof can last decades with proper care, so you'll want to ensure you use the best nails for the job.


Cedar roofs are made from natural cedar wood, and wood becomes prone to splitting when sharp nails pierce through, creating a high-stress concentration in a small area. When nails are driven too close to the edge of the shingles or shakes — or if the nails are too long or too wide in diameter — the shingles or shakes can start splitting. And if the nails are too short and thin, they won't be able to fasten much at all.


The right nails reduce the likelihood of splitting and properly fasten each shingle or shake to keep your roof in top condition for longer.


Cedar Products and Their Unique Requirements


The most suitable types of nails for cedar shakes and shingles are rust- and corrosion-resistant varieties. Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless steel nails are two of the more suitable options.


Cedar roofing in a damp and rainy environment

Using plain steel or copper nails can result in rust buildup that will stain the roof. These materials react poorly with the moisture from natural oils in cedar wood, causing rust. The parts surrounding the nails will turn black as the wood starts to degrade and the acid accumulates in the wood fibers.


Rust- and corrosion-resistant metals perform well alongside cedar wood, even in wet weather that would otherwise prompt rust development. So, in addition to helping durability and longevity, the right nails maintain a roof's aesthetic appeal.


The Role of Nail Choice in Preventing Cedar Shingle and Shake Damage


Securing shingles and shakes with nails of different lengths will create quite a messy look. Plus, nails that are the wrong length will bend and break. The wrong nails could also cause wood splitting, which will further degrade the appearance and durability of the roof. The consequences of choosing the wrong nails can, therefore, shorten the life span of a cedar roof.


Frequently Asked Questions: Optimal Nails for Cedar Roofs


Roof nails are available in different materials, shapes and sizes. Some types of roofing nails perform better with cedar roofs than others. Here are answers to some of the most common questions asked about cedar roofing and suitable nails. For the utmost confidence in your roof repairs and maintenance services, trust Cedar Roof Coatings. 


Which Type of Hand Nails Are Best for Cedar Roofs?


While nail guns provide seamless, uniform results, nailing by hand with a hammer is also an option. In this case, the best materials are galvanized and stainless steel nails. Of these varieties, stainless steel nails are the most durable and long-lasting. 


Which Nails Are Best for a Cedar Roof Near Salt Water?


Saltwater is a catalyst in rust development, as it causes an oxidative reaction between oxygen and iron. Instead of regular stainless steel type 304, use type 316, which offers more resistance to rust and corrosion. 


What Type of Stainless Steel Is Best for Fire-Retardant Roofs?


Stainless steel type 316 is also generally the best choice for fire-retardant shingles, shakes and other roofing materials with preservative treatments. This type of stainless steel is more durable than others. 


Can You Use Galvanized Nails in Cedar Wood?


While hot-dipped galvanized nails are suitable since they have good corrosion protection properties, regular galvanized nails are not the best choice. Galvanized nails contain zinc, which can react negatively with cedar wood. 


Beyond queries about nail materials, the roofing nail size you use is just as important. 


The Significance of Nail Size in Cedar Roof Installation


Beyond choosing the suitable type of nail, you must also find the right size. Driving nails that are too short will destroy the shingles and shakes, and driving nails that are too long can risk damage as well. Underdriven nails can loosen, bend and break. Overdriven nails can push straight through the shingle or shake, allowing them to lift easily. Whether inserting nails by hand with a hammer or a nail gun, the nail's size is crucial to securing shingles and shakes. 


Detailed Guide to Nail Sizes for Cedar Roofing


The appropriate nail size depends entirely on the type and thickness of the shingles and shakes. The nails must be long enough to pierce through to secure the materials beneath properly. If the shingles and shakes are not properly secured to the underlying materials, they can loosen, break and fall off during windy and stormy weather. 


Whether you have 24-inch, 18-inch or other shingle and shake sizes, these guidelines on minimal nail lengths will help you find the suitable size for your cedar roof:


CERTI-SPLIT AND CERTI-SAWN SHAKES WITH 18-INCH STRAIGHT-SPLIT CERTI-LABEL SHAKE OR SHINGLE

Use 5d Box 1 ¾-inch nails

CERTI-SPLIT AND CERTI-SAWN SHAKES WITH 18-INCH AND 24-INCH HANDSPLIT AND RESAWN CERTI-LABEL SHAKE OR SHINGLE

Use 6d Box 2-inch nails

CERTI-SPLIT AND CERTI-SAWN SHAKES WITH 24-INCH TAPERSPLIT CERTI-LABEL SHAKE OR SHINGLE

Use 5d Box 1 ¾-inch nails

CERTI-SPLIT AND CERTI-SAWN SHAKES WITH 18-INCH AND 24-INCH TAPERSAWN CERTI-LABEL SHAKE OR SHINGLE

Use 6d Box 2-inch nails

CENTIGRADE SHINGLES WITH 16-INCH AND 18-INCH CERTI-LABEL SHINGLES

Use 3d Box 1 ¼-inch nails

CENTIGRADE SHINGLES WITH 24-INCH CERTI-LABEL SHINGLES

Use 4d Box 1 ½-inch nails


Each shingle or shake requires two nails. Drive the nails into the wood at least ¾ inch from either edge and 1 ½ inches from the exposure line. Moreover, the nail head must be secured in the wood so that the entire surface is flat. The shingles or shakes can split if the nail head is sticking out too far or driven in too deep. 


Contact Cedar Roof Coatings for Quality Roofing Services


Roof maintenance and repair are essential priorities for any homeowner with a cedar roof, but finding nails can seem complicated. Luckily, Cedar Roof Coatings offers quality cedar roof maintenance and repair services in Connecticut and New York. We have served the Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Westchester County, New York, areas for decades and are fully insured, bonded and licensed. 


As industry leaders, we know which nails are best for your unique cedar roof. Contact us today for a quote, or visit our website to learn more about cedar roof maintenance. 

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