Home Improvement: Is it Safe to Nail to a Roof?

Your roof is a sturdy feature of your home, but just how durable is it?  It’s a question that might not come up until you nail to a roof and begin to wonder if the act could cause regrettable damage.  Sure, nails don’t leave behind gaping puncture holes, but would you be ruining your expensive investment that serves to protect you for decades?

Here’s the scoop: nailing anything into your roof, even if it’s just one single nail, could compromise the entire roof system.  Not to be dramatic, but it’s true.  You see, when a nail is driven into the shingles, it doesn’t stop there.

The Consequences of Nailing Something to Your Roof

The point of the nail continues until it pierces the underlayment of the roof, an integral part of the system that’s responsible for keeping it waterproofed.  If there’s a hole made into the underlayment, the waterproofing material is compromised, and suddenly the water runoff can seep beneath this layer and penetrate the home’s supporting structure.  Even a small leak can put your entire roof at stake.

When water enters areas of the home where it shouldn’t (and water should be channeled away from the home entirely), it can cause issues that are far worse and more expensive than just mold and mildew growth.  Small leaks made by driving nails into your roof may go unnoticed, which is even more dangerous because water can weaken structures over time.  Foundational issues, problems with structural integrity, leaks in your attic or basement, and a gaping roof are all common occurrences when water is present.

Small puncture holes from nailing something to your roof can invite water into your home.  If you begin to notice the common problems associated with water leakage, then you’re looking at expensive roofing repairs.  You’ll need to contact a professional roofing contractor, who will more than likely need to replace the shingle that’s been nailed as well as patch or replace the roofing underlayment to properly waterproof your home.  The most severe cases where a homeowner has been nailing things to their roof for years could justify an entire roof replacement—and that can cost thousands of dollars.

Don’t Roofers Use Nails?

You might think this and use this question to justify hammering something to your own roof, but you’ll want to certainly think twice.  Roofers do use nails, in fact, when they’re installing a roof.  But consider this: roofers are trained professionals and when they nail the shingles to the roof, they’re doing so in a very specific way that doesn’t damage their hard work.  Their particular nailing method is one that these professional roofers are trained in and so the shingles that are nailed are then covered by the next shingle placed above it.

How to Safely Attach Something to Your Roof Instead

First, what are you attaching to your roof that absolutely needs to be nailed?  A common object that attaches to the roof is an antenna for digital signals.  Fortunately, when you sign up for digital Internet and television services, the service provider will have a professional help install the antenna that’s needed for the connection.  Many homeowners experience leaks in their attics from antenna installations gone awry, so take up the offer to have a professional do this job instead.

Security cameras are another typical accessory homeowners attempt to attach to their roofs by means of nailing.  Although it’s tempting to nail a camera in place and be done—don’t do it.  Remember, you’ll damage the shingle and potentially drive the nail into the waterproofing underlayment, which could compromise the roof’s entire system.

Security cameras aren’t a quick installation, so if you’re thinking you could just nail one to your roof, you’re mistaken.  Some require hardwiring for a better or more secured connection, others will require a few tools to get the job done, like a drill and a little how-to knowledge.  Regardless, you may want to consider again involving a professional to do the installation no matter what brand you choose.

You might be tempted to hang flower baskets from your roof.  This can also damage your shingles if you nail the hanging flower baskets to it, and the weight of the baskets can pull and drag the nails, inflicting further abuse on the shingles and roofing underlayment.  Homeowners will try to get around this by nailing their flower baskets to the soffit, but this is also ill-advised.  If you do want to hang flower baskets outside of your home, then attach their chains to the supports of your house like wooden beams or porch posts.

Have Your Roof Inspected

Part of having a healthy, long-lasting roof means keeping an eye on its condition.  Periodically check the condition of your roof from time-to-time, like after a heavy storm, when winter concludes and the season changes, or make it a monthly task on your house checklist.

Have your roof inspected annually by a professional contractor.  A trained contractor will be able to detect when shingles need to be replaced, layers need to be patched, or if any part of the roof needs repaired.

At Feldco Roofing, we provide breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof insulated throughout the year. For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced and professional to get the job done correctly. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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