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Exposed / Uncaulked Nails


Brian G
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I ran this across the other forum once, but I thought I would do it again here since we have some alternate brains to pick.

What do you say or write, if anything, about finding exposed / uncaulked nails on composition shingle roofs? I see them on virtually every inspection in ridge caps, metal and rubber vent pipe flashings, and different (mostly metal) flashings here and there. Is it nothing? A minor item? An outright defect? Something else?

Brian G.

Trolling for Opinions

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Brian,

I apologize if I already chimed in on this one but...

You shouldn't be seeing exposed nailheads on any flashing, period. I'd tell my client the flashing should be replaced now. The only exposed nails on cap shingles are usually on one end, and while it's better that they be gooped up, I don't think it matters and never take notice of it.

That's my take,

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I suppose it could have something to do with climate, but I just can't get excited about a carelessly exposed nailhead or two on a cap shingle.

Maybe 2-3 times a year I see 80 year old slate roofs with no cap flashing on the ridge or arris lines. The ridge board and rafters beneath these peaks are stained, but only very rarely have any decay and never admit enough water to wet insulation.

Now there's a whole lot more water coming through an open ridge than there is down the shank of an ungooped, cap shingle nailhead. Of course, tis better to goop.

Scott, can you explain what you meant by the Catch 22 of roofing? I didn't get it.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

I suppose it could have something to do with climate, but I just can't get excited about a carelessly exposed nailhead or two on a cap shingle.

I think it probably does have to do with climate. I'd say about half of the ones I see are backing out to some degree and / or rusty. I've not seen any leaking I could directly attribute to it, but I write it up anyway. Sooner or later, some of that is bound to leak.

This is also one of those irritating minor issues that the contractor could do correctly with very little extra effort, but rarely will (here). In my brief 1 1/2 years so far, I've seen 4 houses where the nails were caulked, and one of those was caulked by the seller...4. Pitiful.

Brian G.

Writing 'Em Up

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Just a little personal experience w/ uncaulked nails.

I had one on my shack; saw it, never caulked it. Just one, near a ridge cap corner. Barely exposed. The shack is just that so why would I care?

10 years later I was up there sweeping pine needles off the roof & felt a little "sponge" under my feet. Tore off the shingles to find (approx.) 32' of rotten roof deck plywood that could be easily traced back to a single exposed nailhead that had been leaking for 10 years.

Exposed nails go in my report w/ a recommendation for a dab of roof tar; if I said caulk, someone would go up there w/ a tube of silicone.......

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Kurt, why would you not want silicone used?

This may be another climate thing, but I always recommend polyurethane or silicone caulk for this. Roofing tar won't last more than 2 - 3 years down here. It dries, cracks, and in small thin patches like those over nailheads, will simply fall off in time. I've seen silicone up to 10 - 12 years old, still flexible and holding. I've also seen it curling-up a few times....don't know why.

You know how we're told that our kids are ignorant in geography? Well I find adults to be little better. If you take out a globe, put your finger in the middle of the South, then turn the globe so that your finger tracks across the Atlantic Ocean, where does your finger make landfall again? Most people say "Europe". Wrong...North Africa. We never think of it as such, but the American South is basically a sub-tropical region. The native trees are Pines instead of Palms, but the weather is the same.

Brian G.

Looking Forward to Sweating a Little [:-cold]

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Kurt, why would you not want silicone used?

This may be another climate thing, but I always recommend polyurethane or silicone caulk for this. Roofing tar won't last more than 2 - 3 years down here. It dries, cracks, and in small thin patches like those over nailheads, will simply fall off in time. I've seen silicone up to 10 - 12 years old, still flexible and holding. I've also seen it curling-up a few times....don't know why.

You know how we're told that our kids are ignorant in geography? Well I find adults to be little better. If you take out a globe, put your finger in the middle of the South, then turn the globe so that your finger tracks across the Atlantic Ocean, where does your finger make landfall again? Most people say "Europe". Wrong...North Africa. We never think of it as such, but the American South is basically a sub-tropical region. The native trees are Pines instead of Palms, but the weather is the same.

Brian G.

Looking Forward to Sweating a Little [:-cold]

I should have been caulk specific; there are some silicones that can work, but I meant the cheap $1.79 a tube stuff. Whenever I see cheap silicone on a roof up here, it is peeling off.

"Solar Seal" or similar grade caulk has silicone in it (I think) and works great. Roofing tar, i.e., plastic based roof cement, works great up too.

Insert whatever material you want in the "dab" comment; I use roof cement ("tar").

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Originally posted by hausdok

I can see it all now.

Mississippi Home Inspector Found Stuffed Inside Furnace Air Handler After Internet Flirtation

Tisk-tisk. I guess you just can't explain normal Southern Social Flirting to a Yankee married to Korean lady. Ignore that man, Ellen.

Brian G.

Master of Flirt-Fu [:-batman]

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