If you’re planning a roofing project or just curious about the ins and outs of roofing, you might wonder about something as fundamental as nailing down shingles. How many nails should you use for every full shingle on your roof? Let’s unravel this straightforward but vital aspect of roofing.

The Standard Rule: Four Nails Per Shingle

When it comes to asphalt shingles, the standard rule of thumb is to use four nails per full shingle. This rule applies to both three-tab shingles and architectural shingles, which are the two most common types used in residential roofing.

Nailing Pattern for Three-Tab Shingles

Three-tab shingles, as the name suggests, have three tabs that create the appearance of separate shingles. To secure a single three-tab shingle, you should place two nails near the top edge of the shingle, typically within the adhesive strip. Then, you’ll use the other two nails above the tar line but still below the adhesive strip. This pattern ensures that the shingle is properly anchored to the roof deck.

Nailing Pattern for Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles, being thicker and heavier, require a bit more fastening. For these shingles, roofers typically use six nails per shingle. The nailing pattern is similar to that of three-tab shingles. You’ll place two nails within the adhesive strip and four nails above the tar line but below the adhesive strip.

Why Four Nails?

The choice of four nails per shingle is based on a balance between securing the shingle adequately and minimizing the risk of damage. Here’s why this number works well:

  • Secure Attachment: Four nails evenly distributed across the shingle ensure a secure attachment to the roof deck. This prevents shingles from being lifted by wind or other external forces.
  • Minimized Risk of Cracking: Using more nails could increase the risk of cracking the shingle during temperature fluctuations. Four nails strike the right balance to avoid this issue.
  • Waterproofing: Placing nails within the adhesive strip and above the tar line maintains the shingle’s waterproofing integrity, preventing water from seeping through nail holes.

Verdict: Four Nails Per Shingle

In the world of roofing, the rule of four nails per full shingle remains a reliable and proven method. It’s the sweet spot for achieving a securely fastened, weather-resistant, and long-lasting roof.

So, whether you’re tackling a roofing project yourself or hiring professionals, remember that the magic number is four nails per full shingle. It’s a simple guideline that plays a crucial role in ensuring your roof stands strong against the elements for years to come.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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