Our home was built in 1954, and is a Florida ranch style home. We have about a two-foot overhanging soffit with trusses that show and with tongue and groove under whatever that’s called. Sorry, I don’t know the proper terms…

I had my roof redone. And nails have come through the plywood and show all over the attic and all the way around the soffit overhang on the outside.… Some are just the tips of nail that have come through the tongue and groove and some larger nails come through the trusses and have spilt the wood…My husband said this is normal, but it wasn’t that way before. Should the roofer repair all these nail holes?


5 Answers 5


The plywood of your roof is typically not as thick as your standard galvanized steel roofing nail, so it is expected for nails to show through this in your attic. The plywood can and is expected to take a bit of damage over time and this is okay as long as the shingle has something firm to hold itself down onto.

Over time if the plywood is too damaged to properly hold down new shingles or becomes too dangerous to walk on safely then a roofer should be able to identify such compromised plywood board and replace it as needed.

What is worrying about your question is that you specified that the roofing nails have split and damaged the roof trusses. Standard roofing nails should not be long or thick enough to split or crack structurally sound dimensional lumber.

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If this is what happened then you may have a problem unrelated to the quality of the roofing job. Your home is over 50 years old in a warm wet climate, so you should inspect for a number of different problems.

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  2. Termites enter image description here

  3. Carpenter Ants enter image description here

If you have any of the following indications of current or past damage to any of the three items then that would explain split, cracked or damaged roof trusses during a typical roofing job.

On another note: The soffit typically fits into a groove that is known as J Channel when installed on a roof overhang. The roof overhang is typically MUCH too tall for any roofing nails to reach soffit. I imagine instead you might be seeing a roofing nails perforating the fascia, which can be a sign of a sloppy rushed job. Without pictures though we can't tell that for sure.

  • I think the question refers to nails showing through the matched roof boards (sheathing) that span the rafter tails, not the rafters themselves ???? Jan 8, 2013 at 13:41
  • @shirlockhomes She mentioned splitting trusses because of roof nails so unless she incorrectly used the word truss to describe something else, this is how I interpreted it. Jan 8, 2013 at 13:58
  • I reread it and it looks like there are both! lol Jan 8, 2013 at 16:12
  • Thanks. I'm lucky, the attic looks fine. Thanks for sharing.You are right, it's the overhang on the outside of the house that I really concerned about.
    – user9976
    Jan 10, 2013 at 12:56
  • 1
    If you can see nails in the overhang, it doesn't have a soffit. That's the problem. +1
    – Mazura
    May 24, 2017 at 21:31

It's Florida, you have hurricanes.

The lifting force generated by high winds over a roof can pull 3/4" nails out and peel off large sections of roofing, they used 1 1/4" or longer to ensure penetration through all the shingle layers, underlayment and deep enough into the sheeting to hold up to this abuse.

Unless you live in the attic, you have no worries. The heads are covered by the shingles so they don't cause leaks.

A neighbor down the street from us had the roof on his garage end up laying in the street from a severe thunderstorm downdraft specifically because of this. It's kind of interesting finding a large 20x40 section of roofing laying in the street with underlay tar paper all over the place. The tar strips on the shingles held quite well. The nails didn't hold. The wind gust was so strong it bent the 70' sycamore in my front yard nearly double and broke off several sweetgum trees.

Additional information from GAF for impact resistant roofing (tornado alley - wind and hail) as follows:

  1. Use only zinc-coated steel or aluminum, 10-12 gauge, barbed, deformed, or smooth shank roofing nails with heads 3/8" (10mm) to 7/16" (12mm) in diameter.
  2. Fasteners should be long enough to penetrate at least 3/4" (19mm) into wood decks or just through the plywood decks.
  3. Fasteners must be driven flush with the surface of the shingle.
  4. Standard nailing pattern is 4 nails per shingle. Depending on local codes and expected wind conditions, 6 nails per shingle is required.
  • I didn't know they used longer roofing nails in hurricane zones. My hardware store doesn't carry them as I don't live in hurricane land so that is good to know. Jan 8, 2013 at 17:24
  • I added GAF recommendations for their hail resistant roofing. Jan 9, 2013 at 0:48

In the lower areas with exposed boards, the roofing contractor should have used shorter nails or staples in that area. Exposed nail points would not be acceptable to me. They should be clipped off flush to prevent possible injury if working under the eves, such as painting etc. The exposed nails are also going to be susceptible to rusting over time even it they are galvanized.

  • Thanks. This is where my true concern really is. It's the exposed areas on the outside of the house. In 50 years, the house has been reroofed a number of times I'm sure and this hasn't happened before that I can see.... so these nails can just be clipped off flush with the wood and painted? - Thanks!
    – user9976
    Jan 10, 2013 at 12:53
  • 1
    yes they can be clipped and painted. Jan 10, 2013 at 13:29

It is absolutely OK to see nails coming through in the attic. It would be More worrisome to see none. Then you have to be concerned about the nails being too short or possibly having Staples which are an inferior fastener. As to the chipping of trusses or decking/shearing. This is normal especially on older houses. If a 1-1/4" Roofing nail catches the edge of the sheathing it may also catch the edge of a truss and crack or chip either one. On the other hand your roofer screwed up by using too long of a nail on your soffit over-hang. Many older ranch style homes have tongue and groove decking that continues out as the soffit and you must use a shorter nail in those areas. A painter/handyman should be able to grind or cut the exposed nails on the soffit and touch up w paint


3/4" penetration is the law no matter the location on the roof. This is a common thing that CARPENTERS like to say the roofer did it wrong. They should read a code book sometime. The nails need to adequately penetrate for your roof to function properly and to get the full life out of it. If you dont want to see nails then the thickness of the plywood need to increase or the soffits should be enclosed. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PACKAGE OF SHINGLES. Its clearly stated with pictures.

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