Proper Roofing Nail Size/Type



I’m ripping the roof off of our summer camp and putting a new roof on. The roof deck is constructed of 3/4" T&G pine boards. I’m about to order materials and am curious what length roofing nails I should use. I’m installing Grace Ice and Water Shield over the entire deck and then GAF Timberline HD shingles. The deck boards are visible underneath the soffits so I likely need shorter ones for that area so they don’t penetrate through. Also, I thought about using ring shank nails but it looks like Grace recomends smooth shank for better sealing. Any info on proper length roofing nails to get would be appreciated.

Many thanks.



First…Grace has no business saying what kind of nails are used for the shingles. They don’t have to worry about them pulling out. Read the package and/or installation instructions for the brand of shingles you are using. Most brands require a barbed roofing nail. This is from GAF:
Use only zinc-coated steel or aluminum, 10-12 gauge, barbed, deformed, or smooth shank roofing nails with heads 3/8" (10mm) to 7/16" (12mm) in diameter. Fasteners should be long enough to penetrate at least 3/4" (19mm) into wood decks or just through the plywood decks. Fasteners must be driven flush with the surface of the shingle. Overdriving will damage the shingle. Raised fasteners will interfere with
the sealing of the shingles and can back out.


I guess I’m looking to satisfy both the GAF requirements and the Grace requirements.

From Grace:

Use smooth shank, electro-plated galvanized nails for fastening shingles to get the best seal. Hand nailing generally provides a better seal than power-activated nailing.

GAFs instructions allow for smooth shank and Grace prefers smooth shank… Is there a risk to using rink shank with the Grace IWS?


The best thing to do is to sheet over the roof with 1/2" OSB then use 1 1/4" roofing nails, nothing will poke through and you have the right length of nail securing your shingles.


Axiom brought up the best way.
The real reason is because there is a gap begween each 1x6 and roofing nails will constantly be hitting that gap( air space)

But if you dont do it that way,
Use the standard 1 1/4 inch in the field
And use one inch over the exposed soffits.


Thanks for the feedback. I’ll give it a shot using 1" and 1 1/4" nails and see how it goes. OSB is likely overkill as the house may be torn down in 10 - 15 years to make room for a new place.

One other question I was curious about is dripedge. The lumber yard is telling be that most of their contractors are using galv. steel instead of aluminum. They claim the aluminum has gotten and bends very easily. I’m nervous about the cut ends of the galv. steel rusting. Thoughts?

Thanks again.


So this is your summer camp home, you don’t want to put on a layer of OSB because you’ll sell it in 10 to 15 years but you’re worrying about what kind of drip edge you’re going to use? Spend the drip edge money on OSB and do the job right.


Yes, they are right.
The painted galvanized steel drip is a stronger, stiffer, straighter looking product than the mass produced aluminum eve drip.
It will last 40 years easy.
Your lifetime shingles should last 20.