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March 7, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


High Wind Nailing Pattern for Shingles Installation

When preparing for a roofing job, whether it be a complete re-shingle or simply a repair, you’re bound to hear talk about a “high-wind nailing pattern”. 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.

high speed nailing pattern

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:

high wind nailing pattern on 3-tab shingles
Red dots mark the nail holes for a 6-nail high wind nailing pattern on traditional 3-tab shingles

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:


3 tab shingle nails exposed
Note how nails (marked as red dots) in the middle of a 3-tab shingle will be exposed when the next layer is applied.

For architectural or dimensional shingles, the nailing pattern would look something like this:

6 nail nailing pattern on architectural shingles
Red dots mark the nail holes for a 6-nail high wind pattern on architectural shingles

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.

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Israel J Trevino

Four nails or six nails it doesn’t matter. The nails just keeps the shingles from sliding down the roof. The real power house is the asphalt strip. Once the asphalt strip breaks, the shingles are going to fly with four or six nails.

Shane Nicholson

What is the going rate tear off and replace asfault shingles in southern florida?

Dylan Kaiser

A six nail pattern has become the norm in the last ten years, with five being rare, and four is almost a thing of the past. In Eugene, Oregon, though, a four staple pattern using Senco PWs is still being done. Also, some guys are still installing for ten bucks a square there.

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