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Where To Nail Shingles Correctly When Roofing

Ready to tackle a roofing project? Before you break out the ladder and shingles, let’s talk about one crucial aspect of roofing: Nailing shingles correctly. Nailing shingles in the right place ensures they stay put and provide maximum protection for your home. But where exactly should you nail them? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about nailing shingles correctly like a pro. Let’s get started!

Inside this blog:

  • A basic overview of of shingle nailing
  • 4 key areas for where to nail roof shingles correctly

Keep reading to ensure your next roofing project goes as smoothly as possible!

Understanding Shingle Nailing: The Basics


First things first, let’s cover the basics of nailing roof shingles. Each shingle has a nailing strip – a reinforced area where nails should be placed. Properly nailing shingles ensures they stay flat, secure, and resistant to wind uplift. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Nailing strip: This is the area of the roofing shingles where nails should be placed, typically located just above the cutout.
  • Nail placement: Every roofing nail should be driven straight and flush with the surface of the shingle, avoiding overdriving or underdriving.
  • Spacing: Shingles should be nailed according to manufacturer specifications, typically with a specific number of nails per shingle and spacing between nails.

Where To Nail Shingles: The Golden Rules

Now that you understand the basics, let’s talk about where to nail shingles correctly. Following these golden rules will ensure your shingles are installed properly and provide long-lasting protection for your home. But remember to always consult a roofing contractor if you feel hesitant at all to take on this project.

  • Nail placement: Drive nails through the nailing strip of each shingle, ensuring they penetrate the underlying roof deck.
  • Spacing: Place nails at the designated spacing specified by the shingle manufacturer, typically around 6 to 8 inches apart horizontally and 1 to 2 inches from the edges of the shingle.
  • Pattern: Use a consistent nailing pattern across the roofing material to ensure uniformity and structural integrity.

Where To Nail Shingles: 4 Specific Areas to Focus On

When installing shingles, there are specific areas of the roof where attention to detail is especially important. Let’s break down where to nail shingles correctly in these key areas:

1. Starter Course

The starter course is like the foundation of your roof replacement project – it sets the stage for everything else. When installing starter shingles, it’s crucial to get it right from the get-go. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Placement: Nail starter shingles along the bottom edge of the roof, creating a solid base for the rest of the shingles to adhere to. Think of it as laying the groundwork for the rest of your roofing project.
  • Overhang: Ensure starter shingles overhang slightly beyond the edge of the roof, providing a protective barrier against water infiltration. It’s like adding a little extra overhang to the roof’s eaves, keeping the elements at bay.

2. Field Shingles

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork with the starter course, it’s time to move on to the main event – the field shingles. These are the bread and butter of your roof, covering the majority of the surface area. Here’s how to nail them down correctly:

  • Nailing strip: Locate the nailing strip on each shingle, typically positioned a few inches above the bottom edge. This is where nails should be placed to ensure proper adhesion and stability.
  • Placement: Position field shingles with precision, ensuring they overlap slightly and form a tight seal against the elements. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, making sure each piece fits snugly into place.

3. Hip and Ridge Shingles

As you reach the peaks and ridges of your roof, it’s time to switch gears and focus on hip and ridge shingles. These specialized shingles provide extra protection and aesthetic appeal, giving your roof a polished finish. Here’s how to nail them down correctly:

  • Placement: Position hip and ridge shingles along the peaks and ridges of the roof, creating a smooth transition between different roof planes. It’s like adding the finishing touches to a work of art, ensuring every detail is just right.
  • Nailing location: Place nails near the top of each shingle, just below the ridge line. This prevents water from infiltrating through the nail holes and ensures a watertight seal along the roof’s highest points.

4. Valleys and Eaves

Last but not least, let’s talk about valleys and eaves – two trouble spots where water runoff is concentrated and leaks are most likely to occur. These areas require extra care and attention to detail when nailing shingles. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Proper placement: Position nails strategically to prevent water from seeping in through the nail holes, especially in areas prone to pooling water or ice dams. This helps maintain the integrity of your roof and prevents costly water damage down the line.
  • Check spacing: Double-check the spacing between nails to ensure they meet manufacturer specifications and industry standards. Proper spacing helps distribute the load evenly and ensures a strong, reliable roof that stands the test of time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Nailing Shingles


While nailing shingles may seem straightforward, there are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure a successful roofing project. Here are a few pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Overdriving or underdriving nails: Roofing nails should be driven straight and flush with the surface of the shingle. Crooked or overdriven nails can damage the shingle, while underdriving nails into roofing materials may not provide adequate fastening.
  • Incorrect placement: Nails should be placed in the nailing strip of each shingle, following manufacturer guidelines for spacing and pattern.
  • Skipping starter course: Neglecting to install a starter course along the bottom edge of the roof can compromise the integrity of the entire roofing system. Always consult with roofing contractors if you’re unsure about nailing correctly.

Nail It Like a Pro

You’re now armed with the knowledge you need to nail shingles correctly and tackle your roofing project with confidence. Remember to follow manufacturer guidelines for nail placement, spacing, and pattern, and pay extra attention to key areas of the roof, such as valleys and eaves. By nailing shingles correctly, you can ensure a durable and long-lasting roof that provides maximum protection for your home. 

Contact our team of expert contractors at Kornerstone Roofing today and we’ll answer any questions you have about your next roofing project. We guarantee you’ll get responsive communication and top tier results when you work with our roofers!

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