View Poll Results: Which do you prefer to nail shingles?
I use a hammer (hand nail) 29 23.58%
I use a pneumatic gun (gun nail) 94 76.42%
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Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail

 
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Old 01-29-2004, 09:49 AM   #1
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Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Which do you prefer and why? I think we can all agree staples suck
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Old 01-29-2004, 11:09 AM   #2
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


I don't actually bang up shingles anymore. After a few years of installing I decided to move into the office. Yes gun nailing really speeds up the job, but there are some issues I have which prevents me from allowing my guys to use the guns.

With the gun, you never really know if your nail went into wood or into a crack, since it sinks on one hit anyways.

If you are sharing a compressor with someone the pressure will fluctuate, causing the nails to sink too deep or not deep enough.

If you slam your gun in at an angle the head of the gun can gouge or tear the shingle.

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Old 01-30-2004, 09:05 AM   #3
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


If I couldn't use a nail gun I think I would be a siding installer. I guess I've been spoilded by pnumatic tools and could never imagine hand nailing.
My father nailed for 15 years before he started stapeling. He said at first he could hand nail faster than staple. He claimed 3 squares an hour was not a problem with hand nails. His best ever stapeling was 9 squares one bundle in an hour and 5 minutes. He now uses a nail gun after 15 plus years of using a staple gun.
Some builders and homeowners demanded nails rather than staples. I stapled for around 7 years before switching to nails in the last 2 years.

IF the pressure is set right and the nails/staples are placed right there are both very efective to hold down the shingles.
For a couple years my brother nailed and I stapled on the same roof, we did at least 100 roofs and had perhaps 2 or 3 shingles that blew off. Most were within a couple weeks of install due to not sealing.

Recently my father and brother had a roof that had several shingles blow off. This time my brother was stapeling and my father was nailing on the same back piece of roof. Every stapled shingle stayed in place which were a little off on the staple placement while all the blown off shingles were nailed to perfection.

What happened is you got a few lousy roofers that should be working at McDonalds or something that tried to staple down roofs. I've seen and heard that some would skip the undernail shingle (while running up the roof off two lines) on the entire roof. Now when you start talking about each shingle having three nails versus four and your going to have blow offs. People started thinking it was due to the staples and not the installers and hence the bad rap to staples.

I will never staple again due to being licesensed and bonded and all doing more and more residential tear offs it looks better to most people to nail. Actually my one brother now has boughten his first nail gun and plans to nail. Well that leaves one of my uncles (the other uncle nails) and my oldest brother that still staple.

Hand nailing would be better I guess but to time consuming for me being owner operator on all jobs. I
It must be really tough to hand nail in the winter with gloves on?
 
Old 01-30-2004, 09:08 AM   #4
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Sorry Grumpy!!!
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:55 AM   #5
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


LOL. Definetly tough to hand nail, but our guys are paid by the hour.
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Old 01-30-2004, 04:05 PM   #6
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


If you don't mind me asking what price in your area are you getting for basic 6/12 roofs with upgrade 30 year laminate shingles new construction?
Do you have to load the shingles on the roof? boom truck or up ladder? Do you install drip edge? Cut in air vents or ridge vent?

I've got one builder I do work for all over MN that I have to do everything for them. Usually the framers do the roofing and soufit installation but when they don't I get the call.

On most jobs the shingles are sitting on pallets on the ground. One job the homeowner had a tracktor with a bucket on it. Another one had a bobcat. The others had Lulls which is the best for me.

I charge extra for I/W, loading, drip edge, cutting in vents or ridge vent. My last 6/12 came out to $44.00 per square. A 10/12 yeilded $83 per square. My uncle did a 12/12 in WI and put on 17sq new contruction and got a check for almost $3,000, that's good money! I guess roofers are in short supply in Wisconsin and are getting paid top dollar.
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:02 PM   #7
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


send me an e-mail and I will send you my pricing spreadsheet

I really really hope your talking about labor only prices.
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Old 02-11-2004, 06:25 PM   #8
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy
Which do you prefer and why? I think we can all agree staples suck
I prefer to use guns just for the fact that it is quicker. Even if you slow down while using them and watch what your doing. If the nail blows through the shingle just take the time to replace it with a new shingle. If the nail does'nt go in all the way hit it with your hammer. Even with having to stop to do these things, I believe that the guns are still saving me time.
 
Old 02-12-2004, 04:01 PM   #9
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


You can never determine, with a gun, if you sunk a nail in a crack or in some wood. It sinks in one hit no matter what. Guns may save time, but I prefer knowing it's been done right.
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Old 05-23-2004, 06:03 PM   #10
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy
You can never determine, with a gun, if you sunk a nail in a crack or in some wood. It sinks in one hit no matter what. Guns may save time, but I prefer knowing it's been done right.

After laying enough square with a gun....you can feel whether or not it went in the wood or not.

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Old 05-23-2004, 06:44 PM   #11
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Nail guns are the natural progression of construction, with all the downward pressures on price as a builder you have to work smarter not harder. I could cut finish molding with a hand saw and a miter box made of wood instead of a power miter saw and the argument could be made that doing it with a hand saw yields a better product, but once Pandora’s box has been opened and everybody else is taking advantage of a tool for productivity it is mighty hard to go back. I have hammers, but they get swung very rarely now a days. For every productivity tool that comes along there are set backs in regard to some degree of quality but what makes us professionals is adapting new methodology and quality controls that ensures a finished product that at the end of the day both you and your client can be proud of.

They may not build them like they used to anymore (houses) and I say THANK GOD! Those old solid houses are full of knob and tube wiring, crumbling stone foundations, impossibly energy inefficient walls and all manner of crap. I'll take a manufactured glue lam beam over a warped, old growth joist that has been cut through to look like swish cheese by an army of plumbers and electricians over the decades, desperately trying to bring the house into the realm of something useable for a modern family.
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Old 05-23-2004, 07:05 PM   #12
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Mike, in response, how long have those houses been standing? 100 - 150 yrs. somebody must have done something right. I would buy an old Dade County pine home built at the turn of the century WAY before I would buy a new home. At least I would know that it had seen a hurricane or two and is still standing, proof enough for me. Electrics and plumbing can be dealt with if you have solid construction to begin with.
I'm expensive and I screw anything and everything. My stuff stays where it belongs even if the wind blows in excess of 200 MPH for a few hours.
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Old 05-23-2004, 07:18 PM   #13
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


I understand your response, but it is not valid since you are applying a general specification to a very specific application. Building something to withstand hurricanes is not typical for 99.9% of the rest of the houses in the US. In your circumstances I would agree that the exception to the rule applies.
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Old 05-23-2004, 08:58 PM   #14
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Productivity does not equal quality. If your hunting for profit forget new construction roofing. Also keep in mind this post directly relates to the roofing application and not framing or other needs of nailing. This is about roofing, and shingles only.

Mike you yourself applied a general specification to a very specific application when comparing hand cut moldings to hand nailed shingles.

Last edited by Grumpy; 05-24-2004 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 05-23-2004, 11:13 PM   #15
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Mike, it IS valid to most of the people that live on the Eastern Seaboard AND Puerto Rico And St. Thomas, U.S. Territories. Monies generated in the U.S. pay for the destruction of these places as well. What it all boils down to i s$$.
30 yrs ago I designed a 'hurricane proof' home and was planning to build it. It featurerd no flat surfaces, shutters were to roll down at 45 deg, It was entirely self contained with water and generator and would float if the storm surge reached a given limit. A survival cell.
With all of the engineeing documentation, the County denied the permit. Why? Because it was outside of the standards and they did not want to attempt to deal with it.
Everybody's in it for the money, not in somebody elses best interests.
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Old 05-24-2004, 09:48 AM   #16
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


All good points.

Do you think it is fair to look at this as similar to the progression of roofing when the introduction of laying plywood instead of planking came into practice?

Sorry, I just see it as the continued natural evolution of construction, I look forward to this inovation and the problem solving that is associated with it, and the shuffling of labor as a result. Any advances in productivity allow me to spend my time on other details of a project where the returns to the client are more visible and therefore have higher percieved value to the customer.
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Old 05-24-2004, 01:16 PM   #17
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


We install our plywood with nail guns. We install our shingles with hammers. Since you bring up plywood I do feel plywood is soft underfoot. If it were my house I would feel more confident with 1" boards, however I'd settle for 5/8" sheeting.

You are talking about construction as a whole, and this topic is about shingling ONLY.
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Old 05-24-2004, 11:03 PM   #18
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


I agree with josh when using a nail gun to install shingles. an experienced guy can tell if your nail hits wood or nothing. I have used Hitachi nail guns for 12 years. A few problems are 1 Running too many guns with an air compressor that wont keep up (Normally 3 or more guns with a small electric) High nails 2 Guns that are not properly maintained. If a gun is dirty it may skip and nail placement may be overlooked. also if the Driver on the gun is wore it will fire crooked nails they will sink all the way but the head will be cocked and stick up just enough to effect the next shingle. 3 with nail guns being so easy to operate and so fast you need to have experienced guys to slow down and pound the occaisonal high nail or cocked nail and take time to maintain the gun. which alot of roofers are more concerned about speed. So i do prefer nail guns as long as there is an experienced person running it. I have also torn off both hand nailed roofs and gun nailed roofs. Most times the roofs that have been put on with a nailer all nails stay in the wood when tearing off. hand nailed roofs most nails come out during tear off. taking into consideration the same size nail is used. There is that barb about 3/8 of an inch down the shank on coil nails that hold the nails together when fired it is embedded into the wood which gives a little extra holding power. now if you were to use 1 1/4 hand nails which alot of hand nailers do these will stay in the wood comparable to 1 inch coil nails.
So the bottom line is give the experienced guy a gun and the laborer the hammer and nail. once the laborer knows the correct placement and knows what is sounds and feels like to hit wood he graduates to a nail gun.
One more thing pressure needs to be constant 90 PSI Minimum 100 Maximum If you are nailing below 30 degrees Lower pressure is needed and more high nails will have to be pounded. when operating a nail gun below 30 degrees the driver may crack the shingle. so here again you need the experience to adjust for proper Air Pressure.

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Old 05-25-2004, 05:26 PM   #19
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


Another problem with too many or too little guys sharing a compressor is uneven pressure. If you have 4 guys on a compressor and 2 take a smoke break the remaing two are blowing their nails throught he shingle.

Let's say those two guys are smart enough to adjust the pressure... Now the two smokers come back to work and they forgot to readjust the pressure and none of the nails are sinking enough. All of these shingles are future blow offs.

There is simply too much room for error. Your damned near asking for trouble.
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Old 06-06-2004, 09:04 PM   #20
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Re: Hand Nail Vs Gun Nail


If the air pressure is set to low on the compressor or the guns are dirty the roofing nails will not be fastened flush to the deck and will eventually pop through the roofing shingles when self-sealed or stepped upon. When you have exposed nails through one layer of roofing, "it's just a matter of time" before the homeowner develops a leak. Every roofer should carry a hammer for raised nails, then there would be less complaints.

 


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