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Hand Nailing vs. Nail Gun Roofing: Which Is Better?

Posted on March 22, 2024

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Hand Nailing vs. Nail Gun Roofing: Which Is Better?

Choosing between using a nail gun or hand nailing during your roofing project is an important choice that contractors and homeowners must make. Selecting the appropriate method can have a substantial impact on the cost, longevity, and quality of a new roof, as each method has pros and cons. Whether to use a nail gun or not also depends on the types of roofing nails, their size, and materials.

In this blog post, we will examine the pros and cons of using a nail gun vs. hand-nailing roofing material into place, in order to assist you in choosing wisely for your upcoming roofing project

What Are The Pros and Cons of Hand Nailing vs. Nail Gun Roofing?

Hand Nailing 

hand nail roofing


  1. Accuracy In Securing Shingles Or Roofing Materials: When nailing the roofing material in place by hand, roofers control the placement with a level of precision. 
  1. On-The-Spot Corrections: When hand nailing, roofers can make quick adjustments and corrections, which lowers the possibility of mistakes and guarantees a high-quality installation.
  1. Sensitivity To Pressure: Because hand nailing provides tactile feedback, roofers are able to feel the pressure being applied, which reduces the possibility of over-driven nails damaging the roofing material.
  1. Appropriate For Wooden Decks: Since hand nailing gives you more control over nail placement in situations like these, it is frequently recommended when working with wooden plank roof decks that may have gaps.
  1. Consistent Craftsmanship: Hand nailing is frequently complimented for its consistency and the high caliber of craftsmanship it generates because it gives exact control over the placement of each nail.
  1. Requires Less Equipment: Hand nailing requires less equipment than using a nail gun, so extra tools like air compressors and nail guns are less necessary.


  1. Slower Speed: Roofing projects with hand nailing typically take longer to complete and require more labor time than those with guns, especially for rookie roofers.
  1. Labor-intensive: Using a nail gun is easier for anyone to operate, but hand nailing requires more manual labor and skill.
  1. Higher Cost: Hand nailing can sometimes cost more, as it requires more labor, time, and skill than using a nail gun.

Nail Gun Roofing

Nail Gun Roofing


  1. Speed And Efficiency: Nail guns can finish roofing projects more quickly because they are faster than hand nailing. However, a less experienced roofer may not be able to use it as effectively. 
  1. Decreased Labor Intensity: Compared to hand nailing, using a nail gun requires less manual labor and skill.
  1. Consistent Pressure: Nail guns offer consistent pressure for driving nails, enabling the uniform depth and placement of nails.
  1. Cost-Effective: Roof installation with a nail gun may be more affordable because it requires less labor and can be installed more quickly.
  1. Appropriate for Big Projects: The quick speed of a nail gun makes it perfect for large roofing installations where finishing a job quickly is crucial.


  1. Equipment Costs: Air compressors and nail guns are two pieces of extra equipment that are needed, and they can be expensive for roofing companies.
  1. Safety And Noise Issues: Using air compressors and nail guns can result in noise pollution and safety risks, such as stumbling over air hoses on rooftops.
  1. Inconsistencies: Even though using a nail gun is efficient, inconsistent work can result from things like improper air pressure, which can cause problems like improperly positioned nails and under or over-driven nails.
  1. Danger Of Damage: Improper nail gun pressure settings can lead to overdriven nails, which can harm shingles and jeopardize the structural integrity of the roof.
  1. Possible Warranty Problems: Improper nail positioning or nail gun pressure can void manufacturer warranties and cause an early roof failure.

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Accuracy Comparison: Hand Nailing vs. Using A Nail Gun

Precision is essential to installing a roof’s long-term safety and structural soundness. When qualified roofers use hand nail roofing materials in place, they can precisely control the depth and angle of the nails, securing them without damaging or compromising the integrity of the shingles.

On the other hand, even though nail guns are quick, they might not be as precise as hand nailing. Their quick firing mechanism may result in uneven nail placement over time, which could eventually lead to issues like loose shingles or leaks.

Nail guns may lead to less accuracy compared to hand nailing due to their speed. The control hand nailers have over nail placement guarantees a stable installation and reduces problems down the road. Homeowners and contractors should consider speed vs. accuracy when deciding between hand nailing and using a nail gun for roofing.

Speed Comparison: Hand Nailing Roof Shingles vs. With A Nail Gun

There are noticeable efficiency differences between using a nail gun and hand nailing. Nail guns are especially useful for projects that need to be finished quickly because of their quick firing capabilities, which enable quick progress and coverage in less time. However, skilled roofers can work fast without sacrificing accuracy, nearly keeping up with nail gun roofing.

Although hand nailing takes longer, trained professionals show the accuracy and skill required for this age-old technique. In the end, hand nailing is still a useful choice for roofers who value accuracy and craftsmanship, even though a nail gun is faster. Skilled manual nailers know how to strike a balance between speed and accuracy, demonstrating the adaptability of both techniques based on the particular needs of the roofing project.

Cost Analysis: Hand Nailing vs. Nail Gun Roofing

Financial considerations are also important, and due to the higher labor requirements associated with hand nailing, homeowners may face higher labor costs. The extended installation duration could also result in higher project expenses overall. However, because nail guns require a one-time purchase of power tools, they can save money over time by requiring less labor and completing projects more quickly. When evaluating each method’s cost-effectiveness, homeowners need to take these factors into account.

Final Verdict: Hand Nailing vs. Nail Gun Roofing

Deciding between hand nailing and using a nail gun for roofing depends on various factors, including project specifics, the roofer’s skill level, and personal preference. Each method has its own advantages and considerations. Hand nailing provides greater control over nail placement, ensuring accuracy and reducing the risk of issues like nails being driven too far. Conversely, nail guns can be faster and more efficient, particularly for larger roofing tasks.

Generally, hand nailing might be preferred for precise and controlled work, especially for intricate or detailed roofing projects. However, for larger projects prioritizing speed, a nail gun can significantly enhance efficiency. It’s crucial to evaluate the project’s specific requirements and carefully weigh the pros and cons of each method to get the most suitable approach.

Get An Efficient Roof Installation In Broken Arrow, OK

Deciding between hand nailing and nail gun roofing comes down to striking a balance between cost, speed, and accuracy. Although hand nailing offers accuracy but requires more time and labor costs, nail gun roofing is faster and more effective but carries a risk of compromised accuracy if it’s not used correctly. By weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each technique, you can confidently choose the method for your roofing project that best suits your budget, schedule, and required quality standards.

For reliable roofing services tailored to your needs, consider A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing. With a proven record of providing exceptional results, we are ready to bring your roofing project to life. Contact us today to learn more about our high-quality roofing solutions. Give us a call at (918) 402-7167.