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Articles About Roofing

Exposed nails and nail pops

Hole caused by low nail


On this pipe boot, the bottom nails are exposed, but sealed.

On this pipe boot, the bottom nails are exposed, but sealed.

When a nail is driven into wood to secure a shingle, it must be long enough to attach to it, and the wood must be thick and solid to hold the nails. If any of these isn’t, then the roofing nail can back out, possibly causing a hole in the shingle. This of course can lead to a roof leak.

Another reason for nails backing out, or nail pops, is the angle that the nail was driven in. If the nail is angled too much, the nail head will not be flush with the shingle, and may eventually back out. Your roof goes through huge variations in temperature throughout the year, and this causes much contraction and expanding. Because of this, if the roofing nails are not driven properly, are not long enough, or are driven in bad wood or in seams, they can back out.

An exposed nail happens when a nail is placed too low and is not covered by the shingle above, is placed in the seam between two shingles, or in the gap between tabs in three tab shingles. The only reason for an exposed nail on shingles is installer error. However, on pipe boots and the last cap shingle, you will find exposed nails that are caulked. Over time, the caulk will age and deteriorate, which becomes a roof maintenance issue.

Unfortunately, many people, and even some less experienced roofers, will simply caulk an exposed nail or nail pop. This is not the correct way to fix the problem. You must take the nail out, seal the hole, and drive another nail in. Just caulking it will only temporarily fix the issue. If you have or think you might have this issue, contact Pro Systems, Inc. immediately at (757)508-9299 or email at We do not cut corners and always fix any issues we find the right way.

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