Can I cut off most of my roofing nails from the inside?
I've never seen a nail coming out from a roof, so I can't see what
harm it would do.
I thought I would leave a half inch, or a whole inch if you tell me
I thought I could use an electric cutoff tool, like they cut locks off
with, but since nails are far softer, it would go quickly.
Comments and reasons I'm being stupid welcome!
I have to put in more fiberglass, and also I have to repair a phone
line. I'm pretty sure its problem will be found in the attic. And I'm
sure I'll find other things to do there in the next 20 years.
My new roof was put on with nails that are a lot longer than the old
nails for the first roof. I had gotten pretty good at keeping my head
below the old nails, but rather than learn a new height, or wear a
hard hat in the attic, I thought I would shorten them and get rid of
the points! Good idea?
I see nothing wrong with cutting them off, the only friction holding
the nail is where it is in the wood. I use a cut off wheel often, but
might think twice about dropping red hot nails into the attic space.
Chances are that that they would cool off and do no harm, but "what if"
comes to mind. Why not just use side cutters or end cutters? Those
would make a cold cut, and a good sized pair would make light work of
Just passing by here... I am a remodeling/roofing contractor here in
South Texas. We put on a lot of roofs, and I had to be beat over the
head to convince me that the extra penetration >can< be a good thing,
but not necessarily.
It is so hot here that the roofs flex and move, and we get nails that
pull from the flexing, sometimes as much as 1/4 inch! But I have only
seen a few pull all the way out, and those are around flashings (more
expansion from the metal) and no ridge vent.
I used to use only 1" nails, and now I only use 1 1/4". But if you
don't have hard temp swings every single day (25 degrees is nothing
down here.... ) you might never have problems.
When we cut nails off that are exposed on older houses (no soffits), we
always use a pneumatic cutoff tool. Any kind of cutting pliers makes
it a longer task AND the nails are not cut perfectly flush.
Look at it this way: if your roof is about 20 squares (an average house
that is about 1650 square feet), you will have about 7500 nails in it!
If your usable attic access is about half of that, then you are looking
at 3750 nails! Wanna cut almost 4000 nails by hand?
On 2 Oct 2006 22:24:04 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
So I guess it is to my roofer's credit that he uses the longer nails.
They must cost a little more, and even though he uses a gun, they
still must be a little harder to put in, or more misfires.
I didn't have problems with the nails coming out for the first 25
years. And we do sometimes have 25 degree swings, but less than 5 or
10 days a year I think.
So you think if it's ok to do, it's ok to cut them off flush!?
I woudn't want to do 3750 at all! But my 2-story townhouse is only
700 sqare feet, so that would make it about 706, and I don't need to
do the front half where it seems I never go, 350, or the part that is
more than 5'9" high, 15 or 20%, say that leaves 295. (I'm 5'8" but I
allowed an inch for shoes.)
And I think there will be nails that are so close to the trusses that
I will automatically keep my head away (I'll try out my theory when
I'm up there.) so that might be another 5%. -15 = 280.
Plus it was a lot of effort and I rarely went to the parts of the
attic where the roof was only 18" high or less. That's another 20%,
280 - 20% = 224. So if I get it down to 10 seconds a nail, with no
interruption, that still 37 minutes. Maybe it will be 4 seconds a
nail, I haven't used one of these things before. (maybe I want an
excuse to borrow one from a friend. It's electric. )
Wait a second! I wonder how many of the first set of nails are still
there. He tore the roof off, but I really didn't notice if the nails
came with it. I think not. Now we're up to 448 and 74 minutes.
Oh, I won't need to do the 18 inches or 2 feet at each end of the
attic, and I think my house is 20 or 22 feet wide so that's another
18% so now I'm back to 367. Still doable, or at least I can do part
Maybe I can hold a pot under the nails as I cut them off so they don't
all settle on the top of my ceilings.
7/16.5 x 1750 = about 706
We only cut them off flush for the sake of appearance, not all over.
Since we use longer nails now, they look ugly poking out of the decking
on porches or eaves with no soffits. So they are cut flush only on
these areas. If I were to cut off the ones in the attic area, I would
not cut them flush. 1/8" left is a good idea.
You have my word you won't be anywhere near 4 seconds on a continuous
basis. Think about it; you are using a machine for the first time, you
are cutting overhead, and you will be in an uncomfortable environment.
Personally, assuming you will not be up there every day or two, I
really like the old bike helmet idea.
On 3 Oct 2006 07:18:29 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Well, you've never lied to me before. And your name is nailshooter.
You should know. (Of course if your name was nailcutter, that would
be even more impressive.)
My bike helmet is like new, because I never wear it when I ride. I
only bought it because this stupid nanny-club insisted everyone who
rides with them wear one.
OTOH, I've got two old hard hats which I found dumped by the side of
the road in 1967. I wore one when I went looking for a road
construction job, and I'm sure it helped. (I can't remember if we
actually wore hard hats there. There was nothing to fall on us or to
hit with our heads, only sky.
Couldn't find a cheap electic cutoff tool anyhow, only air.
And my ex-girlfriend doesn't want to lend the one from her job to me.
She says her uncle works every day, and he'll be annoyed if it isn't
there the moment he needs it. (to cut off a lock at a ministorage. I
said How about if I rent it for 10 dollars, and I promise to return it
withing 15 minutes of when she or he calls (I live 10 minutes away)?
She said money won't make a difference and he won't like to wait, and
his wife broke her arm, and he has enough problems right now.
But he likes me and after his wife's arm heals some, I'll ask him
directly. I told my friend I would, and she didn't object. I guess I
want to try one out.
Couldn't help but get a chuckle out of that one. In my earlier days I
was quite a "nailbender", having started in the trades before nail guns
were so cheap and so prevalent. I learned how to drive nails on a
framing and decking crew, literally driving nails all day when they
didn't trust me with a saw.
You won't be able to run a cutoff tool without a pretty good sized shop
type compressor. If you are running a small one all it will do is spin
the cutoff wheel around and annoy you.
Check this out:
Most of the tool stores have their equivalent of this model, and they
are usually priced about the same way. Northern Tools sells this under
their house brand, I have seen them at the WalMart super store, etc.
You get the idea. I been using the cheap one I bought for about a
year now with no complaints.
Am I missing something here?
Why not just bend each one over with a whack from a hammer, trying to
bend them at right angles to the grain of the wood they are sticking out
of. Let the next guy worry about pulling them out.
I'd expect that to torque the whole nail, tearing it through the
shingle, and widening the hole in the roof-deck.
Personally, I'd just leave them the hell alone, and make it
a point not to slam my head into the roof.
But then I;m willing to live with vinyl-asbestos floor tiles,
asbestos siding, lead drains, and unrefridgerated
jelly, so obviously I have a death-wish.
OK that you want to die, but consider others. If the water in the lead
drain gets contaminated, you may be killing off mosquitoes at the town
sewage treatment plant. They have the right to live a happy life and not
be lead poisoned by inconsiderate people like you.
FWIW, I refrigerate jelly, but not peanut butter.
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