The Lost Art of Hand Nailing


Technology has always found a way to propel us forward, but sometimes in our quest for efficiency, quality falls to the wayside. Nail guns have been around for a while now, and if used properly, can produce great results. However, two major issues persist when using nail guns: Accuracy and pressure.

Most everyone has used a hammer at one point in their life and can recall the frustration when you strike the nail and it bends off to the side. Unless you hit the nail dead on, you’ll end up having to start over. With nail guns, there is no accountability for this level of accuracy.

Nail guns are highly pressurized and will easily embed nails into the decking even from a 45-degree angle. When nails enter at any angle other than 90 degrees (perpendicular to the decking) the nail head can pinch and rupture the shingle, leaving it no longer secured to the decking.

The other side of the nail head will be lifted slightly, rubbing a hole in the shingle above it. Hand nailing will always force the nailers to be more accurate.

When using a hammer it is relatively impossible to overdrive a nail. The flat surface of the hammer head will meet the shingle once the nail is fully driven, leaving the nail head flush with the shingle. Nail guns, if the pressure is too high, can shoot a nail through the shingle, not securing it to the deck. Also, if the pressure is too low, the shingle will stick out just a bit, lifting the shingle above it slightly, or eventually rubbing a hole in the top shingle, resulting in a “nail pop”.

When using nail guns it is very important to monitor accuracy and pressure to ensure a good install. Nail guns allow crews to move maybe a little too quickly, and quality can suffer. If you’re installing a top-quality shingle and want top-quality nailing, give us a call and we can provide hand-nail pricing.

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