Nailing Versus Stapling - Roofing - Contractor Talk

Nailing Versus Stapling

 
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:13 AM   #1
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Nailing Versus Stapling


I checked the search feature and found no matches on this so I thought I'd ask the pro roofers. Stopped by my local tool distributor yesterday and they were doing a demo with a stapler. (Of course, I stopped to watch it) So what's the better of the two or the drawbacks of the two?
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:34 AM   #2
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


I absolutely loved running a staple gun, they aren't as heavy as a nail gun, you reload every four bundles instead of every bundle like with nail guns, didn't have any where near as many jam ups and when I did they were easier to deal with than gun nails.

I just tore of an 18 year old 20 yr, 3-tab OC a couple weeks ago that had been stapled " not by me" and not one tab had been lost or any other type of patch work found on it.

With that said, the only time I ran one was in Orlando, Florida and that area's code changed to where nails had to be used, thus those 9 weeks or so with DFC was the only time I ever used one.
I moved back to Ohio roughly 3 years after that so I have no idea how well/long they held up.

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Old 05-07-2010, 07:18 AM   #3
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Staples are rare around here. I've only torn off one stapled roof and it came off pretty easily - the staples came up with the shingles rather than pulling through. This removal was for an addition tie in and we removed the entire plane. It was a fairly new roof. No missing shingles.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:18 AM   #4
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


I used to build textile export crates for an international company a few years back. I kept having problems with the nails that were holding on the OSB to the 2x's working loose due to being moved so much. I switched to staples and never had another problem. They were 1/2 crown 2" length. I still use them to fasten OSB to anything. I have also used them for T&G flooring with good results but never tried them on anything else. I would love to find a vinyl siding stapler that I could adjust the seating depth on the gun instead of the air pressure.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:26 AM   #5
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


I have put on hundreds of roofs with staples. Back from 10-20 years ago more roofers stapled than nailed. We used to run Senco PW's 1 inch crown 7/8 or 1 inch long. The only blow offs we had were from New Horizons not sealing and they blew off again after being hand nailed so it wasn't the method of installation but rather the shingle. I gotta say they jammed more than the Hitachi nailers and were really bad with wet shingles. Ran a Bostitch for the last year and they were a tad better. Like Slyfox mentioned lighter than a nail gun and you could go longer between reloads. It took quite a while to get as fast as gun nailing than stapling.

A few years ago my brother and father shingled about half and half on a 8sq back section of roof. My Dad ran the nail gun and my brother the staple gun. A few days after the new construction install we got some massive winds. Any guess on what shingles blew off? Yep, the only shingles to blow off were nailed! Upon closer inspection we noted the placement of the nails and depth of driven was better on the nails than the staples.

We tear off roofs with coil nails that are all too high and only go into one shingle. It would have been better to have either ran the nails in the double or to have just stapled it.

A few years ago was talking with a storm chasing salesmen and he almost spilled his drink when I told him I stapled. In response asked him how his installers installed vinyl siding and he said with staples of course! I said, "You can't staple siding"!!! He didn't say anything after that.

I switched from staples to nails about 8 years ago only because more and more home owners and builders got nervous when I pulled out the PW.

To people who think staples are garbage I remind them the number one used fastener to apply underlayment, make box's and install mesh for stucho or brick.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:37 AM   #6
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Would depend on the coating on the steel.
A staples generaly have a smaller shank then nails. Thinner would dictate that it would corrode faster therefore loosing its holding power.
Wood roofs would be more affected then an asphalt shingle.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


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Originally Posted by dougger222 View Post
We tear off roofs with coil nails that are all too high and only go into one shingle. It would have been better to have either ran the nails in the double or to have just stapled it.

. Not sure that has anything to do with nails or staples but rather horrible installers who cant read the wrapper.

Anyways, I have never stapled a roof. Ive torn off 3 roofs this month with staples and 4 without. Staples usually do come out a lot easier. Thats about all I know.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:57 PM   #8
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Theoretically, staples should hold just as well as nails, but with a wider coverage/hold down area.

I Have never had to repair a stapled roof, but the nail advocates all claim that staples are garbage. I can't see them being of any lesser quality than roofing nails.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #9
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Most of the roofs I repair for wind damage are stapled.

Also read warranty documentation and installation instructions from shingle manufacturers before deciding if you want to staple or nail. Your shingle manufacturer may not warrant staples. Also there may be some code issues with staples.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:21 PM   #10
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


I agree with Grumpy, check with the mfg. Haven't seen staples used on a roof in a number of years. For any other material it will depend on your local codes, job specs & engineering.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:39 PM   #11
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Same as Dougger here. Although we used Bostitch guns. Never had a problem with using them. Sometimes they come out easy on tear offs, but other times I prayed it was nails. Those staples are a PITA when they hold into good OSB or plank board roofs. In cheapo plywood, they usually come out with the shingles, IF they are correctly placed.

Many crews use sheathing staplers for siding, but I think it's wrong. You can't feel if you hit the studs. We hand nail all our siding.

Sheathing staplers work awesome for sheathing though. Nothing fires quicker than a stapler, and less problems with the guns.

Nails seem to hold better in the sheathing, but pull through the shingles easier. If you have a decent shingle and a good installer, it's a non factor, IMO.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:23 PM   #12
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


up here staples are illegal, our code clearly states a minimum of 1" nail with a head no less than 3/8" in diameter. to many roofs have failed that were stapled, we have a really bad freeze thaw cycle here in the winter
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:42 PM   #13
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


MJW, you bring up a good point about sheating staples. I only only seen one framer out of fifty or so over the past fifteen years fasten sheathing with a nail gun.

As far as siding we also hand nail. But for roof sheathing it's the Hitachi stapler, best in the business.

In most cases staples or nails pull out of 7/16th inch OSB rather easy, same goes for thin ply plywood. On the other hand both will hold very well in plank boards or thick ply plywood.

The roof we're on now we can't use staples. Certainteed states nails are the only allowed fastener while installing Landmark TL's. We're putting on the Mountain Ridge which is a first and all copper flashing which is also a first for us. So far so good, the roof is Max Def Resawn Shake 7/12 on White Bear Lake.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:28 PM   #14
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


I have never used any type of nail gun that couldnt keep up with as fast as I could hit it. A faster nail gun or staple gun is a non-issue.

Of ALL the blown off roofs I have ever repaired, 100% were nailed.

Is OSB now better than plywood?
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:29 AM   #15
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


I would rank OSB and thin ply plywood about the same. On the other hand thick ply plywood is better than both. Of course this is/was another discussion that ran several posts and pages. Real decking is plank boards...$$$

A few weeks ago a home owner told me an engineer told her OSB was better than plywood. The problem I see with plywood is almost every roof we do from the 80's has major issues with it. Other than water damage from a flashing issue or vent have yet to see a roof with an overall OSB issue. Keep in mind OSB has only been used since the 90's at least in my area. Of course I feel if plywood has been wet at some point it will have issues down the road.

On reroofs we put down 7/16 OSB but on new we put down 1/2 OSB. Never had an issue with either so will just keep on using them like every builder I've ever worked for in the past 15 years. Take that back one builder used 1/2 in plywood on roof and exterior. I was in charge of getting the shingles on the rooftop, cutting in the vents, everything!!! They only installed IKO's if that says anything!!!

One thing I've noted over the years is this, outside of plank board decking gun nails hold better than hand nails. The barbs help keep the nail in.

I feel the overall picture is this, if you know how to install shingles gun nails, hand nails, or staples will all hold just fine. If you know how to install sheathing OSB or plywood will work just fine. Even though Certainteed warrants nails placed above the double laminate section doesn't mean it's good enough for my jobs. We put 5-6 nails per shingle in the double thickness.
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:46 AM   #16
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


It may be a matter of preference, or it may be that staples are junk. Maybe it's just in Texas, but I see staples backing out of just about every mobile home roof I get on. Insofar as nails being run too high, etc. that is completely on the installer. I have never had a client request staples. The majority of our wind claims are stapled on. Here is my logic and this is what I tell my clients. Take two pieces of paper and staple one to the wall and use a thumbtack on the other. Gently try to pull each off the wall using very little force. The stapled paper will come right through the bridge of the staple leaving a nice pretty slit where it sat. If you can get the thumbtacked piece to come off with a gentle tug, you will note that there is usually a corner of the paper still intact. Quite simply, staples have very little pullout resistance as there is no bearing area to hold them down. They are generally overdriven into the shingle, puncturing it, thus doing very little to hold it down to the roof.....it would still hold it up on the roof as the legs of the staple would be holding off gravity, but the shingle is not secured down. A nail head properly driven gives allows for a larger bearing area that increases the pull out resistance. Would you put insulation down with just screws on a mod bit? No, you use 3" plates for the exact same logic. There is no comparison between a shingle and OSB or ply. The products are different. Shingles don't grab any portion of the nail or staple. I prefer to use decking staples on sheathing for one main reason. The guys tend to put more of them in as the bump fire on the guns works much better than in a nail gun.
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:34 PM   #17
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


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Originally Posted by buildpinnacle View Post
It may be a matter of preference, or it may be that staples are junk. Maybe it's just in Texas, but I see staples backing out of just about every mobile home roof I get on. Insofar as nails being run too high, etc. that is completely on the installer. I have never had a client request staples. The majority of our wind claims are stapled on. Here is my logic and this is what I tell my clients. Take two pieces of paper and staple one to the wall and use a thumbtack on the other. Gently try to pull each off the wall using very little force. The stapled paper will come right through the bridge of the staple leaving a nice pretty slit where it sat. If you can get the thumbtacked piece to come off with a gentle tug, you will note that there is usually a corner of the paper still intact. Quite simply, staples have very little pullout resistance as there is no bearing area to hold them down. They are generally overdriven into the shingle, puncturing it, thus doing very little to hold it down to the roof.....it would still hold it up on the roof as the legs of the staple would be holding off gravity, but the shingle is not secured down. A nail head properly driven gives allows for a larger bearing area that increases the pull out resistance. Would you put insulation down with just screws on a mod bit? No, you use 3" plates for the exact same logic. There is no comparison between a shingle and OSB or ply. The products are different. Shingles don't grab any portion of the nail or staple. I prefer to use decking staples on sheathing for one main reason. The guys tend to put more of them in as the bump fire on the guns works much better than in a nail gun.
I call bull****. Your test is flawed. Figure out a real world comparable test.
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:18 PM   #18
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Aaron B,

So much for a lighthearted discussion. No test here....just fact. There is not ONE shingle manufacturer who WON'T warranty a roof installed with nails. However, there are very few that will warranty a roof that is installed with staples. Our single most governing agency, the NRCA, does NOT recommend the use of staples as an approved fastening method for shingles. If you would like to look it up, Aaron, you may do so in the NRCA's Roofing and Waterproofing Manual, 4th Addition. My 'test' is an example I will use to create a visual for a homeowner. I actually don't even need to use it as the only time it comes up is when I am answering the question "You don't use staples, do you?" I use it for reinforcement to create a visual and expose any hack who has tried to convince them otherwise. Common sense will tell you that there is no bearing area on a a crown of a staple to hold down the shingle. Winds can rip the shingle right through the bridge of the staple, thus making it essentially useless. Most roofers use them for one reason and one reason only, and it was stated earlier. They get 4 bundles to 1 bundle before having to change out. Staples also come with about three times the quantity per box which can save a roofer a whopping $30-$40 per job. It's a cost issue. Anyone who really things it 'better' than nailing speak up. Why would anyone risk looking even more shady in an already shady business by trying to save a little time or money. There are very few HO's who don't know the difference. It's not worth the risk.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:30 PM   #19
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


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Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
I checked the search feature and found no matches on this so I thought I'd ask the pro roofers. Stopped by my local tool distributor yesterday and they were doing a demo with a stapler. (Of course, I stopped to watch it) So what's the better of the two or the drawbacks of the two?
Not sure where you are located, but in Florida staples have been outlawed years ago.

Staples do not hold as well as nails, they have less area to hold the shingle and many times are not set right and cut the shingles.

I assume if your distributor is demoing staples, they must be legal in your area though.

I would never use staples on shingle even if allowed by code.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:23 PM   #20
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Re: Nailing Versus Stapling


Staples??: laughing:

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