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How to Repair Nail Pops on an Asphalt Shingle Roof

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A nail pop underneath the tab of an asphalt shingle.

A nail pop underneath the tab of an asphalt shingle.

What You Will Need*



Evidence of nail pops on an asphalt shingle roof.

Evidence of nail pops on an asphalt shingle roof.

How to Do It

  1. Lift the existing shingle right above the area where the nails are backing out.

  2. CAUTION: Do not over-lift the existing in-place shingles. Repairs on asphalt shingle roofs are best done when the temperature is warm enough so the shingles can soften somewhat, so you can work with the shingles without cracking or breaking them.

  3. If the shingle covering the nail can be raised enough (without cracking it) for you to use a hammer directly on the backed-out nail, re-drive the nail with a hammer directly to the nail head.

    If the nail is bent, rusted, or too loose to stay firmly in place, remove it completely. Use a new #11 or #12 aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel barbed ring shank roofing nail with 3/8-inch to 7/8-inch diameter heads. New nails should be long enough to penetrate wood plank decks at least 1 inch, or go completely through plywood or OSB decks.

    Drive the new nail into the shingle in a new location about an inch above the old location. Do not drive the new nail into the old nail hole.

  4. If the shingle covering the nail cannot be raised enough to expose the nail head so a hammer can be used, use a flat bar.

    Place the end of the flat bar on top of the nail head and tap the bar with a hammer to re-drive the nail back into the deck. You will basically use the flat bar as a giant nailset.

  5. After you’ve installed the new nails, cover the nail heads with a 1-inch wide spot application of industrial grade, asbestos-free roof cement.

  6. Apply similar spot applications of roofing cement to the underside of the tab of the lifted shingle which will sit on top of the shingle you were working on. Five spots, one in each corner and the other three spaced evenly across the bottom of the shingle.

    All spots of roof cement should be applied back about one inch from the edge of the shingle you’re applying it to, so it doesn’t ooze out and become visible when you press the shingle down.

  7. Lower the lifted shingle back down onto the shingle beneath it, firmly pressing the shingle tabs into the roof cement to adhere the shingle tabs.