Roofing nails: How to find the right models

Just go into the toolbox and find some nails for the roof? This is a fatal mistake that many a layman might make in fixing roofing felt. Because this requires special roofing nails. Because like the cardboard itself, they have to defy wind and weather and therefore need special properties.

Nails requirements for roofing felt

Rain, ice and snow not only gnaw on the roofing felt, but also on its fastening. Therefore, the nails for the roof must have some characteristics, so that they are suitable high up. First, a protective layer is important so they do not rust. Roofing nails are usually hot-dip galvanized or copper-plated. Also, the fixing nails for the roofing felt must have a broad head. This prevents the nail holes from tearing.

The location of the nails is always a risk for tightness - the head should close with the surface and neither crush nor injure the cardboard. Many roofing nails are also very short, standard lengths are between 20 and 30 millimeters. In addition, the DIN standard for roofing nails stipulates that they have a rough shaft (see DIN 1160 B).

Roofing nails can be brought into the roofing felt in two different ways. First with the hammer and second with a firing pistol. In this variant, the nails are mounted on a roll and are shot with the so-called pneumatic nailer in the cardboard

Large selection: Different sizes of roofing nails

Like every nail, the version for the roofing felt differ in various properties. Whether galvanized or copper-plated, the important information that a DIY enthusiast must know is:

  • Nominal diameter
  • Head diameter
  • Length

Especially the nominal diameter and the length are essential. The former is usually between two and three millimeters, the length varies from very short, such as 12 millimeters, up to 30 millimeters. But also lengths up to 60 millimeters are possible and held in the DIN standard. The length is important for the home improvement, because roofing nails can also be too long - if the formwork of the roof, for example, is very thin. Then the nail ends inside would look out of the roof! Also, the length is a matter of different layers. Very short roof nails are not suitable for the second or third layer of roofing felt, since they barely penetrate to the formwork.

The head diameter must be taken into account, especially when installing the roofing felt. Because the nails should be placed at a distance of several centimeters. Large heads are important for density, but just affect that distance.

Pack sizes: how much should it be?

Is there a big roof to cover with cardboard or is it just the little gazebo? Does it need several layers? This depends on the number of nails that are needed. Depending on the distance and use, about 35 to 55 nails per square meter may be needed. Some experts advise to a distance of eight centimeters between the nails, others recommend 15 centimeters. But even five inches are quite possible. In general, the rule applies: rather too much than too little. If you are unsure, you should seek advice on the specialist market. Roofing nails can be easily bought in the hardware store or in the corresponding online shops. Depending on your needs, the do-it-yourselfer can buy different pack sizes here. Typical sizes include:

  • 40 pieces
  • 50 pieces
  • 100 pieces
  • 120 pieces
  • 200 pieces
  • 250 pieces
  • 1000 pieces
  • 3000 pieces
  • 5000 pieces

Further quantities are usually no problem. But also the weight is a popular statement. For example, roofing nails are also sold at the kilo price. 2.5 or 5 kilos of roofing nails are particularly suitable for the large-scale construction project.

Cost of Roofing Nails

The nails for the roofing boards are not very expensive. The larger the number of pieces in the pack, the cheaper of course the single nail. In general, costs of around one euro per square meter can be assumed here if the nail is put into the cardboard only with a hammer. But there is also the version of the nails on belt or roller - the roofing nails for shooting can be bought in very large quantities. Offers start at around 35 euros for 7200 pieces. Here, however, the pneumatic nailer must also be included in the cost, as this device is much more expensive than the conventional hammer. Such a tool can be purchased from about 75 euros, while the hammer costs only a few euros, depending on the size.


If you want to fix your roofing boards with nails, you should not use 0815 nails. Important here are special roofing nails. These are weatherproof and equipped with a wide nail head. This should ensure a better tightness, because the nail spot is always a risk for penetrating water. Roofing nails are available in various lengths and pack sizes. They can be hit or shot with the hammer or the pneumatic nailer.

Artikelbild: © Rolf Klebsattel / Shutterstock