While some of our roofs are made of Spanish tiles or metal, the majority among them are made from asphalt shingles. These shingles are then held in proper position with small, wire operated, roofing nails that are usually driven by a good quality roofing nailer. These roofing nailers are broadly categorized as coil and stick nails, both of which are used in various operations. But while both these nailers come with several uses, the coil nailers top the charts for their ease of availability, cheap cost and simpler operation. That being said, even before you splurge on the best roofing nailer, it is extremely important to have a proper understanding about their operation. So if you’re using a roofing nailer for the first time and are absolutely clueless about the operation, here’s everything that you need to know.
Take the necessary safety precautions
It goes without mention that it’s extremely necessary to take safety precautions while using a roofing nailer. You can start off by protecting your eyes. After all, you’d definitely need some solid protection when you’re shooting shingles or nails. In addition to this, always make it a point to check your surroundings while using the nailer on the roof. Make sure you’re not in a dangerous position where you have a possibility of falling off.
Use the right compressor
Most roofing nailers have the power to fire more than ten nails every second. And guess what? In order to do that, it also takes up a huge amount of air. While most of us have pancake compressors, these compressors don’t manage to keep up with the high speed of the nailer. So before buying your roofing nailer make sure you have the kind of compressor as recommended by the manufacturer.
Load your nailer’s canister and set its depth
Once you’ve considered the safety precautions and invested in a good compressor, it is now time to load your canister. Now, in order to load the canister of a roofing nailer, you’ll have to open the door of the feeder with the door of the magazine. After you’re done with this, slowly remove the retainer from your coil and insert this coil to canister. As you do this, make sure the nails are pointed in a downward position. Once you position the first nail in its barrel, close both the doors of the nailer.
For better results, always ensure that the depth of the nail is appropriate for its length. Additionally, also give a test short before rapidly firing them in your shingles.
Adjust the deflector and the shingle guide
Your exhaust is going to expel the burst of air as used by your nailer. So if your nailer is backed with an adjustable deflector, turn it for preventing the possibilities of air blasting right on your face.
Once you’re done with this, move on with adjusting the shingle guide. This guide will ensure all your nails are in equal distance from the edge of the preceding shingles.
Tweak the firing mode
Most roofing nailers come with two firing modes, namely- the single action and the bump contact ones. For the single action mode, one nail will be driven when the trigger of the nail gun is pulled and when its nose is depressed. For the bump mode, on the other hand, the nailer will drive nails at every instance till the nose is kept depressed. However, even for that, you will have to make sure that the trigger is properly held.
This fire mode, if not operated properly can turn out to be dangerous. This is why it is extremely necessary to take proper precautions while using the bump and action mode and also while setting your roofing nailer for firing in general.
Get in the flow
Usually most of the professional roofers install their shingles at an apparently superhuman speed. However, if you observe them carefully, you will find a specific pattern that they follow. In addition to the pattern, you’d also need proper muscle memory as they keep repeating the same cycle time and again. While you can always imitate their technique, I’d suggest you to not go overboard/unnecessarily faster than what you are truly capable of doing. A better way would be to find a perfect pace, where you have the necessary control and expertise of using the nailer as well as learning your craft.