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HAND NAILING vs NAIL GUNS, WHAT'S THE BEST FOR MY ROOF?
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Since both methods are approved and accepted by all the asphalt shingle manufactures then it shouldn't really matter at all. What really matters is a good installation technique by the roofers installing the roof. Usually older roofers will prefer to use the hammer instead of a nail gun, they like the feeling of the nail catching the wood making sure they can control the force applied to drive the nail flush to the shingle and not to over or under drive the nails which will cause all sorts of problems.
Most roofers prefer to use nail guns, they can get a lot of stuff done pretty quick specially big jobs. They calibrate the air compressor to a different PSI depending on the roof sheathing,for example if the roof has plywood/osb sheathing then a 90-100 PSI is the recommended setting and for 1x8's pine boards or thicker sheathing a 100-120 PSI will work just fine and always test the air pressure just to make sure they won't perforate shingles.
Both methods have their pros and cons, hand nailing the shingle is slower and it'll take a lot of roofers to finish the job,using nail guns it'll be faster and it'll take just a few roofers to finish the same job, same size, etc. no wonder why this method is the most popular.
Experienced roofers will also tell you that it depends a lot on the type of job they'll be working on and on the condition of the roof's sheathing because some won't handle the hand nailing so good specially older homes with old pine boards sheathing and as a result broken sheathing is to be expected. So next time you see a roofing crew using nail guns or hand nailing, don't panic! everything is going to be alright, just remember that every week million dollar homes and businesses across the country have their roofs installed using both methods, so no need to worry about it.
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