About That Roof…

Yesterday was “car day”. Among other things, I got to carry, roll, install, etc. etc. 5 old big tires on heavy steel rims onto the Banana Boat and remove the 5 smaller tires on lighter aluminum rims now reposing in the garage.

Why? Well, the car came with these SL sized rims, 6 1/2 inch wide, for oversized tires (205 x 70 and larger). There were the ’70s era Steel Rims. The later cars had the “wedding cake” aluminum rims that are much lighter, and generally the car is supposed to run 185 x 75 (no longer available) or 195 x 70 – 14s (also getting more scarce) As the tires on the Aluminum rims get better gas mileage, accelerate faster, and are much newer, I didn’t want them to go off to the mechanic and end up in the “parts car isle” if that be the verdict.

Well, horsing around 10 tires and rims and hand doing the nuts and jack and all, I’ve discovered some sore spots today. I ought not have them, but there they are. I suspect this is natures way of telling me to do more and sit less ;-)

So today is NOT a good day for lots of heavy lifting, as it’s best to put a day of light work between days of Ouchy work… So I decided to contemplate heavy work instead of doing it. Which leads to the roof question. (Bet you were wondering why I had a roof title and was talking about tires ;-)

I’ve done some roofing before. First with my Dad when we roofed a garage, our house, and a rental. Most recently was a shed I built about 25 years ago. Those shingles are still doing fine, thanks! But all those where pretty much over bare sheathing. Looking at my present roof, it’s only one layer, and is fairly flat. It’s mostly just lost the gravel from the shingles. So I’m thinking just do a re-roof over the existing one.

It’s easy to do a re-roof. The starter is a bit different as you need to get in sync with the old shingles, and the new shingles need to be offset sideways so their cuts between tabs don’t line up with the old roof. Then just make sure the nails penetrate the sheathing. (Cap run comes off and a new cap run is put on after the roofing is to the peak).

But where I’m a bit um, pondery, is on the drip edge area. Looks like it takes a special extended length drip edge. Except I don’t have a drip edge. I have gutters. I’m going to replace them, too. Which comes back to a chicken and egg problem.

All the “replace your gutters” sites seem to imply roof is already done and you lift the shingles at the bottom edge to nail some flashing in place. They also tend to imply a facing board on the end of the rafter. Now this is cheap California construction. No worry about ice or ice dams. Very little rain. So my present gutters just have a flange that goes under the shingles a few inches and then they are spiked into the ends of the rafters. I’m not all that keen on this; and it is likely why the last inch or so of the sheathing and rafters look a bit dodgy. Some spots clearly with “issues’, but mostly just ugly pealing paint spots and spikes loosening in some of the rafter ends.

So I’m quasi-stuck on the whole guttering thing.

Do you do the replacement gutters first, then the re-roof? Or just re-roof and retrofit the gutters?

One neighbor had a new roof put on, and the contractor took a skill saw and ripped about 6 inches off the edge of the sheathing and all the rafters all around. Made for a nice clean edge to the wood, but also removed some of the overhang that shades walls from summer sun. I’m also not so sure ripping through established composite shingles would be a good idea… which would put me back in tear-off land, where I was hoping not to be.

I’ve got one spot of about 3 x 4 feet that’s got a leak near the eave, so at least one spot will have a bit of tear off and re-sheathing, but the rest seems fine when inspected (and walked on).

Then there’s this spot where the main roof overlaps the garage roof for about 3 feet. Now how in the heck do you drive a roofing nail into the shingle with a 3 inch clearance to the overhanging eave? I can imagine using a lever to just power it in, but surely there’s a better way?

Then there’s the valley near that spot. It looks like the existing roof just has the shingles overlapping from both sides to make the valley. No metal. I’m assuming it’s OK to just nail a new real metal valley in place and then lay the re-roof over as normal… or ought I just repeat the same shingle-over-shingle at an angle bit? (The “leak” is just at the bottom near the valley, but I tarred the thing last year and that didn’t stop it, so maybe not in the valley but from the water heater vent just up hill from the leak…)

Finally, mostly out of not enjoying the prospect of nailing down 20 square of shingles ( a “square” of roofing is 100 sq. feet or about a 10 x 10 patch, but you need to buy more squares of material due to loss at places where you cut shingles…), even if I buy a nice new nail gun, I was eying this elastomeric roof coating. Nice white thick paint like glop you roll or spray onto a roof. We used that in some of the commercial sites I’ve worked at. The idea of just rolling on a new sealing layer that also gives a much cooler interior during summer (love that light color!) in replacement of the gravel is an attractive option. Except I’ve never used it over shingles (usually over a roll applied material on flat roofs) so I’m not so sure this is a bright idea. Some web searching showed some folks have used it over shingles, but details of limitations and / or issues were slim. But it isn’t particularly cheaper than shingles, and the labor of shingles is not all that high, so I could easily see finding that dealing with 5 gallon buckets of glop and rollers on a sloped roof could be more trouble not less. So advice and / or “Oh My God! WHAT are you thinking!!” solicited ;-)

With that, I’m tossing the discussion open for any advice, war stories, recommendations, etc. etc. about all things roof and gutter.

Sometime before mid November I need to ‘get it done’ as the rains set in after that. One of the advantages of a re-roof is that you can do it in wet weather, so even the light rains we get here are irrelevant to the schedule. The elastomer coating, though, needs 70 F or so to “cure” properly and can’t go on in wet weather. IFF it’s tried, it will need to be “very soon”. Like inside 2 weeks max.

So, about that roof…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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20 Responses to About That Roof…

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    well one should ask, Do you want fast and, cheap or a good roof? A 15 year roof or a 50 year roof.
    In your case resale value might be a consideration.
    I would kind of lean to strip the roof, repair the sheeting and then re-roof, But, I consider professional roofers.
    Funny that you would bring up roofing as that is exactly what I am doing now. We have been building a permanent roof over our workshop/warehouse this summer and we are now starting the roofing over sheeting. The eves are 12 and 30 foot over grade so not for the faint of heart…pg.

  2. John Michalski says:

    Been there done that. Got a t-shirt. A hail storm in May 2016 destroyed my roof on the house (asphalt), the garage roof (metal), vinyl siding and totaled my 2010 Honda Civic. I put on previous roof (also a hail replacement) but was younger then. Had every intention of doing this one, also. Ended up paying some local guys to do it for me. They tore off existing shingles, hauled away and had new roof on in a couple of days. If you were hurting after changing tires, try hauling bundles up the ladder at your (our) age! And that’s before you start the hard part! My advice? Pay someone to do it for you. For a couple days wages (you can purchase materials) you save a lot of time and trouble.

  3. bruce says:

    I’d say don’t try elastomeric over shingles,3 tab or whatever you have. As I see it every drip edge is a place the material will not stick. So that means nearly every edge of the shingle.
    If you are intent on diy you could put a metal valley over the existing roof, flash and nail a decorative shingle over what sounds like a gable end that stops short of the tails/facia. If you need to roof under an overhang/ with no head room, that is tough they would have left the overhang sheeting off till the roofing was nailed under it then sheeted the top part. you might try mastic-ing those pieces you stuff under the eve, nail where you can and hope. If you roof up against a gable end or side wall I think you are in trouble, the step flashing won’t work unless you install new.
    many hands make light work especially if they are not your own. that would be my choice, if you don’t care to do it right. As you know stripping the roof is messier that it is difficult. I’d have a roll off dumpster shoved up against the house (within reason) and feed it constantly.
    Hope the bunnies and greenery survive.

  4. bruce says:

    You can put a drip edge flashing on before the gutters, just leave it extend out enough that the gutter will fit up under the lip.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    As I get older I find I am less and less inclined to do that sort of work, but like you, have always tended to do what I could. Reshingling a house even with a nail gun will be a bit of work, so if money is not a limiting factor I would go with the local contractor, just avoid giving them an open completion date. Roofers tend to start 5 or 6 houses and hop back and forth to “tie up the jobs” and sometimes you get hung out to dry if you make the mistake of saying “I am in no hurry” when they ask when you need it finished.

    Letting the contractor deal with all those little issues avoids a bit of brain damage and also avoids issues with local zoning and building permit folks if those are required for roofing where you live as they usually pull the permits and get the inspection done without any hassle for you.

    On the drip flashing on the edge I have put a short bit of drip flashing on under existing shingles but took the time to butter it with asphalt goop after it was nailed in place both to seal it and to help hold down the edges of the old shingles I had to lift to get it in place then renailed the shingles to be sure that they were down tight against the flashing and to ensure they adhered to the roofing cement.

    For that over lap area, with low clearance, I might be tempted to glue the shingle you have no room to nail down with asphalt roof cement if you think you won’t have problems with wind lifting it and it is just an appearance thing. I have in the past used a long flat pry bar to force in a nail but it is not high on my fun list and no guarantees that the nail will go in straight or resist bending while you are trying to get it in. You might be able to use one of the construction adhesives in that situation too, liquid nails and similar construction adhesives will stick to just about anything but a teflon fry pan.

    Some shingles (storm proof / wind proof types) have heat activated adhesive buttons on the bottom of the exposed shield ends that after some exposure in the sun glue them down to resist wind.

    In this area as I recall, you are allowed to reroof over old shingles for a total of 3 layers before you have to strip and start over, but obviously have no idea what California building codes might require.

    A few years ago I took an odd job painting a roof with that snow-white roof coating. It was not particularly difficult (wear lots of sun screen and plan your work so the painted area is down sun from you!) I made the mistake of starting on the south eve of the roof and working north so was facing into the sun all day long as I applied the coating and it got REALLY bright near noon, even sun glasses were not good enough to kill the glare so I worked from early until about 10:30 and then chilled out until about 1:00 in the afternoon so I did not have stand in the glare of the sun. During the hot part of mid day I moved to the north end of the roof and worked toward the middle.

    Most of those coatings seem to like double coatings, it is easy to spread out a single coat too thin, so plan on making two applications (or touch up of the thin spots) with some drying time between the passes.

    Good luck with that project!

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    I have used those swab on roof coats and would not recommend them for over old composite shingles. you have to put them on THICK! They are best over metal or hot mop that is sound but worn. If the old roof and sheeting is sound then use long nails or nailgun staples to put shingles over the old ones. Be sure to tar down the edges to prevent wind lift..

    On Liquid Nails, 20 years ago it was fairly good stuff but they off shored the manufacturing to China and soon it was mainly filler and would not even stick to it’self after a few years. Right now we use TiteBond subfloor adhesive, excellent stuff, water cleanup.
    Henry’s plastic roof cement seems to work fine, the solvent based stuff, I use gasoline as solvent and for primary cleanup, nasty stuff, sticks to everything, wear throwaways ;-(
    If DIY aim for a sq a day, take your time. At least a roof over roof, most likely won’t leak if you get caught halfway done and it rains. 8-)…pg

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    PGS thanks for the tip about Liquid Nails I have not used it for a long time so did not know the formula changed (might be due to California volatile emissions regs in addition to cost cutting).

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    To those who said I’m too old, or if changing a couple of tires wiped me out, give up and hire somebody, I have a few words:

    1) Part of the reason to DIY is to STAY in shape. Even if I must carry up one shingle a day and nail it at the start, by the end I’ll be in better shape.

    2) Did I not mention that these are big tires on heavy STEEL rims? The tires are about 22 lbs each and the rims are similar. I’d guess the final product is about 40 to 45 lbs. Now they were in the back yard, behind other stuff. So I got to dig them out, pick them up, carry them, roll a little ways, then pick them up and carry again, then place near the car, then pick up and put on the axel, then… For 5 of them. I make that about 15 to 20 “lifts” of 40 to 45 lbs. Then the reverse with those removed, but they were about 30 lbs each. Often at awkward angles.

    3) EVERYTHING was done manually. NO power tools. So I got to jack up the car 4 times with the old Bilstein crank jack. Don’t know the pounds it takes on the crank, but it isn’t small. 5 nuts per wheel (mostly stuck) had to be loosened. They are nominally 81 ft-lbs but usually take closer to 100 to get them loose when old. So 5 x 4 = 20 roughly 70 lb pushes on the wrench to get them loosened. Then a similar process on torquing in the replacement. 20 nuts. Spin in , then torque to 25, 50, 75, 81 check 81. All by hand. Then I got to crank down the Bilstein jack.

    4) It was not a cool day. I drank at least 2 quarts of water.

    5) Despite all that, I could easily have done more. It is just that “the next day” I feel the spots that got worked the day before. In Karate class we were told that best muscle build happens with a ‘day of rest’ between workouts. Not that I couldn’t have done it all over again, but that it’s best to let the prior day changes be serviced first.

    Per hiring it done:

    Please just send $3000 / person who made the suggestion and I hire it done. Absent that, I’m not going to pay someone to do it as I just don’t have the free cash. We’re talking California prices here. I’d guess about $12,000 to $20,000 for the roof (given what neighbors have paid). Maybe more. Just not going to happen.

    I repaired the peak a dozen years back by replacing the cap run. I patched a few spots too. I’m FINE working on roofs and doing shingles. (Still have the shingle hammer and other gear from then too.). I’ve lifted bundles of shingles and know what they weight (besides, I’m thinking delivery to the roof anyway) and it’s not a problem. IFF it were a problem, that just argues for a slower schedule, not for paying money you don’t have for a service you can’t afford.


    I want it good and cheap. Fast is not needed. With ‘re-roofing’ by putting the second roof on top, I only need to strip and replace about 3 x 5 feet where there is a leak in the garage. The rest can be put up one shingle a day, if needed….

    I’m likely dead in 10 years anyway ( about 10 past my parents…) so a 15 year roof is overkill…. but I’m planning to build a 30 year roof.


    Good advice there. I like the point about adhesives in the tight spot.

    It will only be me. I will do it at what ever schedule works for me.

    BTW, the bunnies are no more. They have gone on to other homes, or to bunny heaven.


    I’m pretty much settled on ripping off the cover over the leak area (that is just at the end of the overhanging other roof) and doing a resheath / reshingle there, then doing the rest of the roof. Given that, I’m thinking I might rip the sheath off the problem part of the overhang (about 3 x 5 feet at most) and shingle under it, then put the sheath back and shingle that.

    I’ve done shingles before and, frankly, I don’t find it much work. That was with manual nailing with a shingle hammer. The nail gun is basically nothing. I bought a cheap $22 one at Harbor Freight for the fence. It was essentially zero work to put in nails with it. Just using a manual shingle hammer I found pounding shingles in place trivial.


    Thanks for the tip on adhesives. Per a sq./day: seems like about right to me at the start, but really, doing a 20 x 10 space isn’t all that hard. I mean, I think it’s about 200 nails / sq. That’s just trivial with a nail gun. Then carting a couple of bundles up the ladder or moving them on the roof just isn’t that much, really. (doing 10, now that’s a bit much ;-)

    What I’ve pretty much decided to do is:

    1) Demo the existing gutters. They are 60 year old galvanized and leaking anyway.

    2) Strip shingles and sheathing in the leak area. Replace sheathing and shingle in.

    3) Even though that is likely all that really needs doing… Start shingling the nearby areas including the overhang over roof area that may need a sheath removal / rebuild (or maybe just glue…) Then slowly shingle over with a re-roof on the main house area. The garage is OK, so it gets done last.

    4) Put up vinyl gutters after the roof is done. PRQ.

    So that’s pretty much the plan as of now.

  9. p.g.sharrow says:

    getting your butt and the shingles up on the roof is most of the work. of course after a few hours of roofing my 70 year body complains vociferously about its treatment for a day or two. that is why I try to do some nearly every day rather then just charge! and get her done of my younger days.
    Doing a bit at a time also is just repair work so you can likely ignore any permitting that might be needed for a complete re-roof. Might take a couple of months or more! need break time to study the job, do other chores. ;-)
    That crank jack sounds like half of the job to change those tires, That is why I use a big old floor jack, even in the dirt….pg

  10. Robert says:

    60yr old bodies don’t have a lot of bounce in them, Provided you are super careful about not falling then have at it, but I’ve seen ladder accidents wreck a lot of men’s golden years.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, so far I seem to be about as “bouncy” as ever.

    A week or so ago I managed to catch a pant leg on a small fence while stepping over it. ( I’ve done things like this my whole life. Nothing at all unusual about me catching a leg on a rapid step over of a small fence. I don’t track the pant leg well and forget it hangs down a few inches. This is the temporary dog fence and I step over it a dozen times a day, so eventually it’s going to happen that I’m in a hurry and a bit lazy.)

    Well, I was headed down, face first, at the concrete sidewalk.

    Didn’t even get any adrenaline out of it. ( I like adrenaline…) Too much karate training. I just thought “Oh, a trapped foot front fall” and got my hands out in front for the deceleration. You just put your hands on the ground well away from your body but not locked elbows, then push hard enough to stop with your hands about 6 inches in front of your face.

    I still do the occasional shoulder roll on bare ground / flooring just for fun.

    I’ve worked “fruit ladders” to about 20 foot high, and I’ve never fallen from a ladder. Tall, short, 3 legged or 4. Wobbly or sturdy. Up to hay lofts, into trees, etc. etc. Just don’t understand how folks can fall off a ladder. You have a grip on it, after all. (Better with bare feet as the toes can grip the steps better… ) Even if it starts to tip you can just shove your weight over and get it back to stable.

    At “50 something” my Dad fell off a roof. (High pitch aluminum… a roof I used to climb on some times as a kid stringing antennas and such – did I mention I’m comfortable on roofs? About 14 feet to the ground due to 12 foot ceilings. About 30 foot at peak I’d guess.) He tore the muscle in the arm that lifts it out sideways from the body, up in the upper arm; as he landed on one arm only. It retracted into a lump above a depression where it ought to have been. Doctor said it had torn the tendon and would never heal. Well, about 6 to 9 months later, the muscle began to slowly extend back to normal position and he recovered full use. Seems we “heal well”…

    I’ve jumped out of airplanes. You learn how to land from what is about the same as a jump off a 6 foot height or so. I’m pretty sure I could jump off my roof and not be hurt (modulo landing on a rake or tree stump ;-) I never had an issue with whacking into the ground. I’ve jumped off a roof before (when I was about 14) just for the thrill of it. Oh, I’ve also jumped off a bridge about 70 feet over a river. Twice. It was fun, though I did get a couple of bruises on my inner arm due to not getting them absolutely flush to the sides quickly enough on the last jump (feet first entry).

    So I’m left to wonder why so many folks are so all fired concerned and seem to think I’m a fragile flower lacking in capabilities…

    I like jumping from rock to rock crossing creeks, leaping from boulder to boulder on mountain sides, climbing up near vertical slopes using roots and toeholds in dirt, and I’ve walked on wall edges 5 stories up. (It’s kind of fun and I get a little bit of adrenaline from it ;-) I’ve walked fallen trees over creeks in the woods too. I walk on joist edges in the attic, a 2 inch width is plenty; 4 inch is boring. So for some reason folks seem to think I’m going to slip and fall off a low slope high traction surface that’s substantially flat. I’ve simply walked over the darned things dozens of times putting up antennas, stringing wires, cleaning gutters, fixing the roof before, or just checking out the roof. It’s about as hard as walking a paved trail on a hill – i.e. trivial. And nothing to catch a pant leg on…

    Oh, and I’ve destroyed 2 motorcycles and walked away… (Well, rolled away in one case ;-) in a light office shirt and no helmet either… now I always use leathers and a helmet…)

    Maybe it’s my excess of Neanderthal Genes. Maybe it is the farming heritage and rodeo as model sport… or growing up in a place where falling off a hay truck was “normal” farm life and bucking hay bails in the loft expected… and Dad put me bareback on a horse at about 6; but falls and rolls and thumps and bumps are more fun than bother; and nothing seems to break much.

    I’ve never broken a bone, despite impacts that likely ought to. I’ve had a few “bone bruises” that have remodeled into thicker harder bone, though. One from soccer when I kicked the ball (running at it full tilt) and “the other guy” kicked my shin full force (and running at me full tilt) as he missed the ball. Had a heck of a bruise and “soft sore spot” for about 3 months. Now I have a bony thickening under the skin there. About 20 years back, I managed to whack my left thumb full force with a framing hammer. Lost the nail. It grew back, and that bone is thicker now too. That thumb is now thicker than the other one. While working on the fence, I had the metal tape measure (the big one about palm sized and an inch thick) fall off the fence and land on my head. About a 4 foot drop. I noticed it, but no damage and not even any pain, really. Least sensitive place to hit me is on the head… So I don’t know if “my clan” is just built extra sturdy, or what. But fragile I ain’t.

    So can we please lose the “worry and concern” theme and get back to the technical “how to” bits? That’s the bit that has my interest…


    Like the idea of square at a time to avoid permit issues… Since it is a reroof for most of it, there’s no time it is without cover and rain doesn’t pose a problem.

    The thing is just 4 slopes (2 home, 2 garage) standard ranch style with only one valley where they meet. Only real puzzle spot is that one overhang of the house eve and the garage eve. It’s small enough I could just take off that sheathing for 2 feet and then put it back, if needed. But under there gets nearly no rain, wind, or whatever (and we basically never get even 50 mph winds) so I’m thinking construction adhesive would be ‘good enough’. Biggest technical issue is just that the original construction is so cheap… Gutters nailed to rafter ends without any facing board. Thin sheathing and simple 3 tab shingles. No metal in the valley, just shingle overlaps.

    I think some of those are already answered:

    1) Go ahead and put a normal sheet metal valley in, then shingle as usual.

    2) Tear off and resheath / shingle the spot with a leak in the garage. Likely need to then shingle over that again to keep the roof smooth in the reroof (need 2 layers of roof everywhere…)

    3) Possibly tear off and remove a 2′ x 4′ of sheathing over the overlap, then replace; or maybe avoid that with shingles glued with construction adhesive.

    4) Inspect inside attic to assure all other sheathing is fine. (Trial nail also to assure it penetrates and nail size is right)

    5) Remove existing gutters. Inspect edge. If not in good shape, rip 6 inches off the perimeter of the house to fresh wood.

    6) Install roof first, then gutters as in manufacturers directions.

    7) When in doubt, paint over it twice. ;-)

  12. EM – since that nailer needs a long airline, you may find it just as quick and a lot easier to use plasterboard screws rather than nails. The grip is better, so you may also not need as long a screw, and battery-powered screwdrivers these days are fast and light with high capacity. You may need to find galvanised or otherwise rust-protected screws, but they should be available for bathroom walls anyway. The advantage with the nailer is that you can position the shingle/tile with one hand and nail with the other, and the nails are on a roll. For the screws, you’ll need to put each on on the screwdriver tip, but then it should stay there (magnetic) till it’s driven. If you’re going into poor-quality wood, the screw has less chance of splitting it and, if it does, it will likely still hold well. Just a thought, unless you think that nailer will still be useful in future.

  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    They make coated screws for decking that should resist rusting quite well, I also have come to prefer the modern construction screws for a lot of things. The whirr of a battery operated screw gun is a lot less likely to attract the attention of nearby neighbors who are sound sensitive, than the sound of someone driving a 1000 nails with a nail gun. There is new apartment construction going on across the way from my apartment right now and the workers nailguns constant whack whack whack whack is very penetrating, even with windows closed and a 100+ yards away very noticeable. Since I am a late sleeper as a night shift worker, when they were in the midst of the framing early this summer they would wake me up at 07:30 when they got started, even with closed windows.
    The only question I would have is that although the screws have lots of advantages for gripping power and ease of use, I am not sure how well they will seal in a roofing application. Roofing nails have that large head to avoid tearing through the shingle where deck screws ( from experience) will easily pull right through top layers if you get a bit frisky with the screw gun since they are designed to bear against strong wood not soft composition shingles, and their bell shaped head does not have the bearing surface a roofing nail head has.

  14. Larry – where I’ve used screws on roofing I’ve also used plastic washers that provide both the seal and a wide head. Not ideal, since that’s two things you need to assemble on the magnetic tip. The electric screwdriver does have a settable torque limit to stop it being overdriven. It’s also possible (and as fast) to use a breast-drill (I have a two-speed one by Chapman that’s now around 40 years old and still working well – no batteries or motor to worry about) and do it by hand. Like anything manual, it’s more effort but you can keep using it when normal utility service is not available. Still, EM wanted cheap and good, and the screws save money since you don’t need to buy the nailer.

    I’m assuming that the shingles in this case are made of something like tar-paper with a grit coating rather than riven bits of timber. Given time they stick to themselves and anything in close contact, so the fastening doesn’t need to be that brilliant provided there’s a sticky-tab that stops it from lifting. A dob of pitch at the bottom corners suffices for anti-lift.

  15. cdquarles says:

    They make roofing screws these days. I saw them at the local Home Depot while I was looking for fasteners to make a clothes rack. They didn’t have what I needed though, so I ended up getting a prefabricated metal one.

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m going to use a 1 Gallon compressor on the roof, so a modest air line. It was fine with the fence nailer. As I’m going to be doing intermittent nailing ( 3 or 4 in a shingle IIRC, stop and get / position next shingle) it ought to be fine with my rate of nailing.

    While the idea is intriguing ( I hate construction “thump thump thump” too…) I’m not sure deck screws meet code. I used them on the 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 parts of the fence for their enhanced grip and permanence compared to nails; but they have a very tapered head and sometimes even countersink into the wood. I’m pretty sure I’d have issues with depth going through the shingle. ( I use my drill and don’t have a separate power screwdriver).

    It isn’t that the roof sheathing is bad condition, it is that it’s modest thickness plywood. Plywood tends not to split. My concern is likely unfounded, but most neighbors who did a complete new roof tended to put down new thick decking. But then they also often went with different (newer, thicker, heavier) shingle types and had professional crews of 3 or more on the roof at any one time. This plywood clearly met code (meets code? as some folks don’t add a new layer), but it’s just at the lower bound. It holds me up as I walk around up there anyway…


    Well, I’m no morning person so… I’m most likely going to go “up on the rooftop” about 11 am and work to about 3 pm for any given run. Before that I’ve got a set of normal morning chores to get done, and after 3 pm I’m the chef on duty doing dinner prep ;-) Spouse likes to eat early… So I’m thinking about 100 shingles (or 300 to 400 nails) at a whack. Professional roofing teams have one guy doing the shingle position and prep and another guy doing the nailing, so it never seems to stop. Maddening in a way. I’d be starting late, doing a half dozen with pauses between to position the next shingle, then a long pause while I get the next set. Then break for lunch. Then quit early before siesta time ;-)

    The neighbors all work regular day shift, so they will all be up and / or gone by then.

    So it’s going to be a nail gun. I just don’t know which ones are good these days (as some real name brands have moved to China for manufacture… like Porter Cable that was a premium name, but now?… )

    When I was at Harbor Freight buying the staple / brad gun for the fence, I did a quick scan for roofing nailers, but didn’t see one. Then again, it was just a quick glance around… If they have one, I might just get theirs even if cheap as it need not last long.

    Oh, and the neighbor suggested getting a compressor-less one. There are some that use an LPG cartridge? Something like that, so no hose. I have no clue about them, but not having a hose and compressor to deal with sounds good to me ;-) But if anyone has clue about them, please apply clue stick here…

    I’m likely to be doing the tear off / repair of the spot over the garage / eave this week, and while I can do it just with the hammer and roofing nails from my prior repair efforts, it might be nice to have the nail gun for familiarization on a bit that’s going to be shingled over with a 2nd layer anyway ;-)

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, a web search shows H.F. does have a roofing nailer:

    Same brand as the one that I used on the fence. (It had zero failures / issues).

    So I guess it’s H.F. vs Porter Cable? $99 vs $150…

  18. EM – somewhere around 20 years ago my local builder used a Butane-powered nailer on my roof. Basically, explosive mixture in the cylinder and fire it, and the nail goes in. He seemed impressed by in relation to previous electrical or pneumatic versions he’d used. He demonstrated it by nailing a brick (the brick broke instead). It probably costs more, though. Liquid fuel is the most-compact and easiest to handle, and the force was adjustable since he put in 4″ nails with one hit.

    Since you’re OK with the small compressor, it seems overkill to get a gas-powered nailgun even though it would be a rather useful defensive weapon for when TSHTF. Fairly short-range, but a 6″ nail would likely stop any person as well as a bullet would.

  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    Be interesting to hear how that HF roof nailer works out. I’ve been swinging a hammer for 65 years. Never used a nailer.. Hammer Tacking is a real pain in the fingers and is slow. Air is no problem and the neighbors are over 200yrds away…pg

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