When preparing for a roofing job you need more than just a good coil roofing nailer and an understanding of OSHA safety rules. Whether it be a complete re-shingle or simply a repair, you’re bound to hear talk about a high-wind nailing pattern – at least if you live near the coast or anywhere in Florida. This is especially true in hurricane-prone areas where high-wind nailing patterns are mandated by local building codes. This came about (officially, at least) in 2003 when the International Building Code required shingles be fastened by six nails properly placed in front of the seal line, or that a rated product be utilized on the roofs in wind regions rated at or above 110 mph. Shingle manufacturers now produce products that are rated somewhere between 60 and 130 mph, using two-hour duration tests.
So what does this high wind nailing pattern look like? On traditional 3-tab shingles it would look like this:
Note that the nails are just below the tar line. Keep your nails on either side of the gap and away from the middle of each individual shingle so that the gap in the shingle above doesn’t expose the nail head. Here is a visual example of what you don’t want:
For architectural or dimensional shingles, the nailing pattern would look something like this:
With architectural shingles you don’t have to worry about nails poking through the gaps (since, unlike with 3-tab shingles, there are none). As a result, the idea is simply to space out the nails evenly across the width of the shingle, being sure to keep around 1-inch in from the sides and ensure the nails don’t interfere with the tar line or appear below the level of the shingle which will rest on top of the nails.
Some roofing coil nailers have an adjustable shingle guide which automatically sets the position of the nail with respect to the bottom of the shingle. This is extremely handy, though after a while it is likely that you will find yourself, guide-free, nailing away quickly and accurately once you’ve done a couple of rows.
We recommend a 6 nail pattern regardless of whether or not you live in a high-wind area. It simply doesn’t take all that much more effort (if you use a roofing nailer) and the cost certainly isn’t much more either. Take into account the hassle associated with any kind of early roofing material failure and you’ll probably agree that a little extra time and money spent up front can save a lot of hassle down the road.