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Which Types of Nails Are Best for Cedar Shingles?

Updated: Mar 10



It's essential to consider the size and type of nails when installing cedar shingles. The right fasteners can ensure longer-lasting cedar shingles or shakes. The distance the nails are driven also makes a difference, as forcing them too deep could cause splitting in the wood. To avoid underdriving and overdriving the nails, all fasteners used to secure cedar roofing should be flush with the surface of each Certi-label shake or shingle.


Correct Nails for Cedar Shingles


The ideal nail types for cedar shingle roofing projects include corrosion-resistant varieties like stainless steel and hot-dipped galvanized. At Cedar Roof Coatings, we advise against the use of plain steel nails to keep the cedar roofing stain-free over time. Plain steel nails and copper nails can react adversely with the natural oils in cedar and can rust and disintegrate. We also caution against the use of electro-galvanized (EG) fasteners on any cedar shingle roofing project.


When working in locations within 15 miles of salt water, always use stainless steel Type 316 nails. Outside of this zone, nails must be stainless steel, Type 304 or Type 316, or hot-dipped galvanized with a coating weight of ASTM A 153 Class D. While some nail manufacturers offer nails specifically for wood shake or shingle roof applications, always contact the manufacturer for more information. Fasteners used with preservative-treated and fire-retardant shingles or shakes must be stainless steel Type 316.


Nail Sizes for Cedar Shingle Roofing


The size of the nail to use depends on the roofing thickness. Nails should be long enough to penetrate underlying materials in the cedar shingles at least 3/4 inches, or all the way through. Use two fasteners to apply each Certi-label shingle or shake. Apply both nails 3/4 inches from the edge of each shake or shingle, and about 1 1/2 inches above the exposure line.


For more information about minimal nail lengths for cedar roofing and correct nail types, consult the following guide:


  • Certi-Split & Certi-Sawn Shakes with 18-inch Straight-Split Certi-label Shake or Shingle: Use 5d Box 1 3/4-inch nails. 

  • Certi-Split & 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 & Certi-Sawn Shakes with 24-inch Tapersplit Certi-label Shake or Shingle: Use 5d Box 1 3/4-inch nails. 

  • Certi-Split & 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 1/4-inch nails. 

  • Centigrade Shingles with 24-inch Certi-label Shingles: Use 4d Box 1 1/2-inch nails.


Contact Cedar Roof Coatings for Cedar Roof Repair and Maintenance


For over 35 years, Cedar Roof Coatings has been the leading company in cedar roof repair, restoration and preservation in Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY. We're fully bonded, licensed and insured, and are committed to serving our community by providing customers with beautiful, long-lasting roofs at reasonable prices.


We want to help you maintain your current roof and save money as well as boost your home's curb appeal and extend the life of your cedar shingle roofing. Contact us today to receive a free project quote or call us at 203.847.5740 to schedule cedar roof repair or maintenance services.

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