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Stainless steel nails for roofing is ~$1K premium. Assume that the commercial roof (self-storage building, with sloping roof) is on a Florida island, but not on the beach. What questions do I need to ask to determine whether it is worth the premium?

What can I expect as the incremental benefit of stainless nails?

  • What is a "commercial roof"? – MonkeyZeus Feb 18 at 14:27
  • What type of roof? The benefit should be no / little rust depending on the alloy, specially near the coast. – riseagainst Feb 18 at 20:43
  • $1k for nails!? I pay $50 for 5lbs, but I'm getting deck screws. – Harper Feb 20 at 23:17
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2014 Florida Code: Section 1506.5 NAILS - The corrosion resistance shall meet ASTM A 641, Class 1 or an equal corrosion resistance by coating, electro galvanization, mechanical galvanization, hot dipped galvanization, stainless steel, nonferrous metal and alloys or other suitable corrosion-resistant material.

Stainless Steel - Made of type 316 stainless chromium-nickel steel with molybdenum which icreases corrosion-resistance, improves pitting resistance and increases strength at high temperatures.

These fasteners provide the maximum in corrosion protection. These would be ideal in your part of the country considering the salty conditions. Very defined ribbing in the shank which provides maximum protection in high wind conditions. Cost averages at about $11.00 per pound.

Hot Dipped Galvanized - These are steel nails immersed in melted zinc. The zinc coating is much thicker than standard electro plated steel nails. The steel is manufactured with a ribbed shank, but the hot dipping fills in the grooves which reduced the strength of the ribs. Cost averages at about $5.00 per pound.

Electro Galvanized - These are zinc plated steel nails. The zinc is not nearly as thick as hot dipped galvanizing. These nails are often not even recommended for outdoor usage. They usually have a smooth shank which will result in a lot of nail pops. Cost averages at about $2.25 per pound.

Is it worth it to pay more? The better the fastener, the more likely they are not to fail in extreme weather conditions. All of these nails meet the required criteria. I would suggest either stainless steel or hot dipped galvanized. The electro galvanized are okay for felting and roll roofing but not really a good choice for shingles.

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Note: Costs are based on current metal prices and will change over time. You can always expect stainless steel to be the most expensive. The hot dipped will be usually at about half of the stainless cost and the electro galvanized is usually a little less than half that of the hot dipped. You get what you pay for when it comes to nails of all types.

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I have roofed many homes on the west coast and we used hot dipped galvanized nails, when thinking about pay back for stainless I find roofs in the coast area fail more often from the harsh conditions high winds and blowing sand eating comp roofing long before the nails even start to rust. Remember you should not see the nails they should be under the shingles even on the ridge there should only be visible nails on the last one and here these are required to be covered we usually use a dab of roofing tar. So ask what is the life expectancy of the roof for your area, then the life expectancy of the galvanized nails compared to stainless to know if it is worth the extra I would say it's not worth it but your area is warmer and that may have more of an affect than the Pacific north west.

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Remember, every time you strike a galvanizing nail a piece of the galvanizing is chipped off the nail where it’s struck...the head.

The head is what keeps the shingle tight to the roof and from blowing off. Blow off is the number 1 reason for roof failures. The nail does not need to be “exposed” to corrode, (I.e.: fog, driving rain, etc. all contribute).

I live in a “high corrosive” area and we always use stainless steel nails (hand driven or power driven).

Roofing warranties are “pro-rata”. As the nail corrodes and the nail head deteriorates, the warranty is less and less. So, when a 25 year roof blows off in year 20, you’ll get 4/25th the original cost of the shingles (not labor) of the THEN cost of shingles. (Can you imagine what the cost of shingles will be at the new price in 20 years?)

Stainless steel nails are worth the extra cost.

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