When prepping your roof job, you need more than a good coil roof nailer. You'll also need a solid understanding of OSHA safety rules. Whether it's a complete re-shingling or a simple repair, you're sure to hear discussions about high-wind nailing patterns. That number doubles if you live near the coast or anywhere in Florida. In hurricane prone areas, local building codes require a high wind nailing pattern.
In 2003 (at least officially) there was a strong wind tile nailing pattern. Since then, international building codes have required roofers to use six nails to secure shingles. You also have to place the nails properly in front of the seal line. They require these high wind products to be installed on any roof in a wind zone rated at 110 mph or above. Shingle manufacturers now use the two-hour duration test to produce products rated at speeds between 60 and 130 mph.
See our article on how to use a roof nailer.
So what does this high wind nail pattern look like? On a traditional 3-sheet shingle it looks like this:
Note that the nail is just below the tar line. Place your nails on either side of the gap. You want them away from the middle of each individual shingle. This ensures that the gaps in the shingles above do not expose the nailheads below. Here's a visual example of what you don't want:
Tall wind-nailed pattern of architectural tiles
For architectural or 3D shingles, the nail pattern looks like this:
With architectural shingles, you don't have to worry about nails coming through the gaps. Unlike 3-sheet shingles, they use construction layers on top of solid layers so there are no gaps. So you just have to distribute the nails evenly across the width of the shingle. Make sure to keep about 1 inch from the sides and keep the nails below the tar line. You also don't want any nails showing up below the level of the shingle that sits on top of the nails.
Other tips for working
Some roofing coil nailers have adjustable shingle guides. This allows you to automatically set the position of the nail relative to the bottom of the shingle. This is very convenient, but after a while you may find yourself without a wizard to nail off quickly and accurately after a few lines are done.
Whether you live in a high wind area or not, we recommend using the 6-nail pattern. It doesn't take that much effort at all. Most people use a pneumatic roof nailer, so adding n extra strokes is not a big deal. Of course the cost will not be much more. Considering the hassle associated with early roof material failure of any kind, you can probably agree that a little extra time and money up front can save a lot of trouble.