Do Nail Pops Require A Tear Off?

I have a single layer of 20 year old 3 tab asphalt shingles over 3/4" T&G sheathing.

I have a number of nail pops that have punched through the tabs. There are a couple of spots where the sheathing has gotten wet which I have dealt with by banging the nails down and smearing roofing tar on the holes while I get some estimates.

One contractor told me that he is confident that he can pound the nails back down and add a layer of architectural shingles, avoiding a tear off.

My obvious concern is the possibility of future nail pops in other locations. Even if he pounds the existing pops down, what is going to prevent other nails from popping later? He also mentioned that nail pops are not as big an issue with architectural singles due to their thickness.

He is going to give me an estimate for both a tear off and non-tear off installation and leave the choice to me.

I’m interested in what others think about adding a second layer as opposed to a complete tear off.

I’m also interested in what would occur if I opted for a complete tear off. Would all of the old nails be removed or would they just be pounded down anyway?

Thanks in advance for info/suggestions.

I would do a recover of the area using the architectural shingles but some prep work is warranted before reroofing. One is to nail down as many of the nail pops that you can. Then I would install 15lb to 30lb shingle underlayment (roofing felt) as a good nailing base before nailing down the second layer of shingles.

You will get a much better job by removing the existing roof. Most of the nails will be removed at that time. You can also deal with any bad/rotted/loose wood decking at that time.

I should have prefaced my remarks with saying that a complete tear-off is best but the other option that I wrote out is for when finances are limited to where you can only afford a recover price but if you toreoff-you mught find conditiions good enough that you would not have top re-sheet using 1/2" CDX plywood.


I would not use that guy for any roof.

Telling you not to worry about nail pops because of the type shingle you are using is not true.

Also you do not use felt on a recover.

Most people remove the old nails on a tear off. Hammering the nails down will not be an issue. They will not pop up.

re: Hammering the nails down will not be an issue. They will not pop up.

If the nails are popping up now, what will prevent them from popping up once the new roof is installed?

I beg differ with you. Out here on the West Coast we doi a lot of recovers covering up the old nasty three tabs with thrity lb. felt first and then apply the architectural shingle over the overlay. But then you peopleon the East Coast do things differently than we do out West.

I say if you are worried about the nail situation, get it torn off and spend the extra money in order for that to be done. At my company we will NEVER reroof. There are too many unknowns when that happens such as old nail heads popping up, rotten wood and other things you will only find out when taking off the other layer or layers (for the people who didnt want to do the hard work the first time). I believe you will be much less worried about future problems with your roof if it is torn off the first time. At my place we do pull every nail and make sure everything is in good condition. Make sure to ask whoever you may have come do the roof if they do pull all the nails or pound them back in. That could be what makes your decision for you. If a tear off is out of your price range for moment find a company who offers financing. We do and its 6 months same as cash so you will have no interest for those 6 months. I hope it works out for you.

Also, I have never heard of anyone ever felting to do a reroof. Things must be different.

Hello Pop…I have to agree w/ BamBam, Tear it off and make sure that the co. that does the job pulls all the old nails, and that they re-nail the 3/4 planks… also that all the damaged planks are replaced…a true professional knows that once a nail has popped it will pop again in time. If you beat a lose nail back down, it just comes right back up! The same is true for sheathing nails. I always re-nail the entire deck , then go over it and pull all the loose sheathing nails,(most of which have loosened from the tear off process)! Also paper over shingles = Double vapor barrier…old roof sweats and rots. I have torn off so many roofs that have been over the top, that were no where close to the life expectancy of the new shingle,which leads me to believe that if you go over old shingles, you don’t get the full life of the new! Also if your current planks have gaps between the planks, the new shingles cannot all be nailed on the warrantee line! I always re-sheet a plank roof that is not Tounge & Groove…this ensures that every shingle can be secured by nailing the line… It only takes one shingle not nailed on the line to void a warrantee! Ask your roofer what he plans to do with that scenario. You will stump him I’m sure,lol…


There is a difference between a roofing nail that is nailed flush to the wood and one that is up a little to start. The one that is nailed down flush will not back out.

Using 30lb on a re-roof is nuts, and will certainly affect the profile of the finished product. What purpose does it serve?
There is nothing wrong with a re-roof, if there were then code would reflect it. Properly vented it is a viable option for a home owner who may not have the funds for a new roof or may be planning on moving short term.
You boys that give it “We don’t do re-roofs” seem to think it lends some kind of prestige, it does’nt, it means you lose an opportunity to earn money, and give the customer what they want.
You also give re-roofs a bad rap, btw, much the same as the “we don’t use guns, we only hand nail” crowd…you know the drill, we’ve all heard it, but a gun used right is every bit as good as hand nailing.
There is a “roofer” on another forum who is always on about how he only does slate and copper yaaadeeya and asphalt is “crap”…well compared to slate there is no competition between the two but there has to be room for alternatives

There really doesnt seem to be very much money in a reroof after paying everyone and everything. Also, we have had customers who just wanted a reroof and we let them know why we personally do not do it although nothing is wrong with it and most of them agree to pay the extra amount to have it torn off and start with a clean slate. If they still say they want it reroofed I will put them in contact with guys that have no problems doing it. It really isnt a big deal to me. I have done it for many people on sidejobs in the day. Bump and run. Too easy.

dont let anybody talk you in to a cover up.thats cheap fast and need to see what your roof deck looks like.replace rot,re nail,etc…

Always tear off the roof for best quality! A shingle lay-over is makeup for an ugly woman.

If the nails are popping now they will continue to do so and pop through your new roof. This is also why all the old nails need to be removed during the tear off process. Don;t let the roofer pound them in.

Striping the defective roof is always the way to go. Felting over shingles is just plain retarted. when we did go overs back in the day you would nest them as they called it by using the old course lines as your chaulk line that way they didnt bridge,went on faster and set better. when in doubt read the manuf specs, even if you are on the left coast.

up here in BC Canada we would tear all off and resheath with 3/8 plywood,over shiplap, install #30 along eaves and valleys and #15 over remaing roof areas,thats how we do it in the WEST.

ditto dennis.
“get most of the nails out”.

roof dennis he can.

impressive indeed.



There is a difference between a roofing nail that is nailed flush to the wood and one that is up a little to start. The one that is nailed down flush will not back out.[/quote]

I just spoke to contractor that told me this:

  • There is no such thing as a “nail pop”.
  • Ring shank roofing nails cannot back themselves out due to
    contraction-expansion cycles or any other reason.
  • In my entire career, I have never seen a roofing nail back itself
    out and I have done hundreds of roofs for all of the high-end builders
    in the area. They wouldn’t use me if I didn’t know my stuff.
  • The reason your house has nail heads popping through the shingles is
    because these were “high nails” - nails that were never properly set
    by the contractor who installed the roof. The compressor didn’t seat
    the nails completely and the roofer was too lazy to grab a hammer and
    pound them down.
  • I will hammer all of your high nails down and add a second layer
    over the original
  • I will guarantee, in writing, that the original nails will not back
    themselves out and damage the new roof.

Your thoughts on his comments are most welcome…

Roofers do not usually use ring shanks for shingling.
Roofing nails can and do back out.
The point may be redundant as the old nails may rise through the new roof, but, you get what you pay for.

The responses from this so called roofer. Before we get started how old is this guy.

Builders will hire the cheapest price. They deffinetly do not use ring shank nails on shingles.

This guy is tell you stories. I have been in business for 28 years and have never used a ring shank nail on a shingle roof.

He is also telling you what you have seen does not really happen. Nails back out. In a layover they do not have to back out to pop thru. The first layer contuines to deteriorate. That means they keep getting thiner, eventually they can pop thru without moving themselves. This depends on the condition of the roof when you put the next layer on.