How To Fix Nail Pops On Roof?

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Nail pops on the roof can cause a host of problems, including leaks and reduced insulation. The unprecedented opening can also invite pests to enter your home. So how can you fix roof nail pops? We researched a possible solution for you, and here's what we found.

The process to repair nail pops on roofs often depends on the severity of the problem. For instance, the steps to fix a nail that slightly popped up are:

1. Carefully fold or remove the shingle with a crowbar. 2. Set the crowbar over the offending nail and pound both items with a hammer. 3. Use an adhesive sealer to return and secure the shingle to its original place.

As for more serious nail pops, here are the steps to solve this issue:

1. Remove the popped nail with the hammer claw. 2. Replace the damaged shingle with a new and exact unit. 3. Hammer a new nail 1-inch above the position of the previous nail. 4. Slightly lift or fold the shingle and apply ½-teaspoon of asphalt cement. 5. Apply another layer of asphalt cement over the new nail to seal the installation.

It's also best to understand how nail pops on roofs occur. Continue reading as we talk about the reasons why these problems happen. We'll also tackle the steps to repair roof nail pops in greater detail.

Worker laying out asphalt shingles on the roof, Worker laying out asphalt shingles on the roof

What Is A Roof Nail Pop?Where Should HVAC Vents Be Placed?

Also called back-out nails, homeowners can spot roof nail pops because of the tent-shaped rise on roofing shingles. Nails will typically push from below, causing the deformity. Driving down the nail once again without fixing the broken shingle may not provide a long-term fix to this problem.

Hammer nails and gloves on top of the rooftop with asphalt shingles

Sometimes it can be tough to see nail pops on a roof because the bend or damage is reasonably low. So it should be proper to scrutinize the entire roof for nail pops instead of looking at it from afar.

Learn more about what nail pops are and what they look like by viewing the short video below:

What Causes Nails To Pop On Roof?

Old asphalt shingle roofing

Improper installation for roofing components, such as shingles, can be the primary cause of nail pops. However, these problems can also appear because of other possible reasons. Some of these potential causes are:

Roof Nails

Oftentimes, usage of the wrong roof nails can lead to nail pops. The International Residential Code (IRC) section R905.2 Fasteners indicates that shingles should use roofing nails made of an appropriate material like aluminum and galvanized steel. Also, the nails used should be 12-gages, at minimum, with a 3/8-inch minimum diameter for the head.

However, the IRC didn’t address the nail type or shank design of the recommended nails to use on roofing. It might be best to use ring shank nails to install shingles because these models generally have double the withdrawal resistance when compared to the standard construction nails.

Check out these ring shank nails on Amazon.

Take note that failure to comply with those guidelines can lead to higher than usual risks of nail pops on roofs. Skipping out on buying and using a suitable set of nails may invite additional problems to households.

At this point, you might find it interesting to learn about the waterproof properties of plywood or the lack thereof. If so, you can read our post on that subject matter to understand more about that roofing material.

Roof Decking

Low-quality materials used for roof decking can also cause nails to poke through the sealed surface. Nail fasteners can slip, which can result in the nail pulling up. Regular inspections by going to your attic and looking at the exposed ceiling can help prevent nails from popping up.

Otherwise, a long-term yet expensive solution is to replace the roof deck with a sturdier material. If so, prepare to spend about $700 to $900 per square foot for the replacement job.

Nail Guns

Although nail guns are quite convenient to use, these tools aren’t ideal to operate during roof shingle installations. It’s because pneumatic nailers often drive nails at angles. Take note that a proper roofing installation typically demands hammering nails vertically to provide sufficiently tight seals.

Plus, shingles need to follow a nailing pattern. Applying nails on the roof using a random pattern will put the materials used at the risk of problems like the nails failing to penetrate the deck properly.

Watch the video below if you’re curious and would want to know more about how to nail down roof shingles properly:

How To Fix Roof Nail Pops?

Roof installer using a hammer to install asphalt shingles

Before proceeding with any repair job on your roof, it’s best to practice proper safety measures. For instance, make sure to have an assistant holding the ladder as you climb it to reach the roof. Also, wear fitting footwear like safety shoes to ensure that your feet don’t get burned from stepping on the roofing’s hot surface.

Next, take note that the solution to repair roof nail pops often depends on the seriousness of the problem. In this section, you'll learn how to remedy this particular issue based on the condition of the popped-up nail.

Nail Popped Up Slightly

Homeowners and DIY enthusiasts can use the following guide to return slightly raised nails on their roofs to their original positions:

What You’ll Need

  • Crowbar
  • Hammer
  • Shingle sealer

Check out this roofing shingle adhesive sealer on Amazon.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Pry the offending shingles with a crowbar carefully. 2. Hold the popped-up nail down with the crowbar. Then, drive the nail down with a hammer. 3. Use the adhesive sealer to return the shingle to its original position.

You can also watch this video to look at the steps mentioned above in action:

Nail Broke Through the Shingle

If the nail broke through the roofing shingle, you might need to do more than use a hammer to return the nail to its original spot. Instead, this particular repair job might also demand the replacement of the broken shingle.

So you need to remove at least one piece of the damaged shingle and bring it with you to the store. Buy a new piece and return it to your roof. Keep in mind that you might need to buy more than one shingle if you find numerous popped nails on your roof.

Also, make your trip to the store quickly; spending too much time leaving your roof exposed may invite other concerns to your home. For example, pests like rodents and squirrels may take advantage of the new opening and claim the area under your roof as their new abode.

After getting the new shingle(s), carefully climb your roof and proceed with the next steps for this repair operation:

What You’ll Need

  • Hammer with claw
  • Appropriate nail(s)
  • Asphalt cement
  • Caulk gun

Check out this asphalt sealant on Amazon.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Assuming that you have already removed the offending shingle, remove the popped nail using the claw side of your hammer.
  2. Replace the broken or damaged shingle with the new unit.
  3. Hammer a nail to the new shingle to secure it in place. Make sure that the location of the new nail is about 1-inch above the previous area.
  4. Slightly lift the shingle from the side and apply ½-teaspoon of asphalt cement using a caulk gun underneath it. Return the shingle to its original position afterward.
  5. Apply a layer of asphalt cement over the newly hammered nail to help seal it.

You can also prevent additional problems with your roof by sealing roofing nails. We have a guide on that topic so make sure to check that out.

What Is The Cost To Fix Roof Nail Pops?

Umbrella nails popping out due to high winds

Take note that roof nail pops often lead to broken or damaged shingles. So the costs associated with fixing nail pops on roofs often fall under the category of shingle repair and replacement. For that reason, homeowners should prepare to spend approximately $10 to over $30 based on the severity of the concern.

Why Does My Roof Leak Sometimes?

Aside from popped nails on the roof, other causes of roofing leaks may include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Cracked flashing
  • Improperly sealed valleys
  • Faulty vent booting
  • Ice dam buildup
  • Clogged gutters
  • Gaps and holes in chimney foundation
  • Condensation in the attic

Final Words

Worker laying out asphalt shingles on the roof

Nail pops on roofs can originate from different sources, including the use of low-quality roofing materials and nail gun usage. Applying the correct steps to fix the offending nails and/or shingles will help prevent increasing the risks of your roof contracting additional concerns.

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