Nail Pops on Roof: What Causes Them & How to Fix Them

June 8, 2022

Nail Pops on Roof: What Causes Them & How to Fix Them

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Even though nail pops on roof are a common issue for homeowners, they do not go away on their own. If anything, they will get worse and can potentially cause severe damage to your roof or home.

The last thing you want is to compromise your roofing system. If you are concerned about nail pops on roof, keep reading to learn how they are caused and how to fix them.

What Are Nail Pops?

Does your roof look like it has little tents on it? Maybe the shingles are lifting or look like a rock is stuck underneath them…these are signs of a roof nail pop. When the nail begins to loosen, they can “pop” up and out of the wood and shingle they are meant to keep in place.

When this happens, it will not only change the appearance of your roof but can also cause potential damage to your home. Having your roof repaired or at least inspected should be done sooner rather than later. Keep reading to see what the causes are of nail pops on a roof.

What Causes Roof Nails To Pop?


A variety of reasons can cause nail pops. One of which, very common for our area in Central New York, is temperature changes. Our location is prone to having high temperatures with high humidity in the spring & summer months, as well as cold temperatures during the fall & winter. During these temperature changes, expansion and contraction can cause the nails to pop up and lift the shingles.

Additional causes for roof nail pops are the following:

Roofing Nails

Using the wrong size nail is another common cause of roof nail pops. If the nail isn’t long enough to get into the roof decking, it is likely the nail will lift and cause the shingles to lift as well.

Additionally, if shingles are added to an existing layer, it may be more challenging to determine where the nail is going. The fastening will not be as good when they go in between boards.

Roof Decking

Plywood is among the most commonly used for roof decking. The nature of plywood allows for temperature changes to cause the wood to expand and contract. Depending on the temperature when the roof decking is installed, the fastening of each piece may not have been done correctly.

If this has occurred, it is possible the forces can cause the nails to lift and come loose. Eventually, the nail pushes up into or through the shingle. In addition, if the roof decking has become soft due to water damage, the nails are less likely to remain in place. A good, strong wind could easily pull up the shingles and nails, allowing more damage to occur.

Nail Guns

Pneumatic nailers can often cause problems, such as nails being driven in at an angle or the gun not being set correctly and overdriving the nails. Shingles also have a minimum required nailing pattern, which, if not followed, can cause the shingles to slip. Nails with a smooth shank don't grip the sheathing well, which can cause problems.

Known Problems of Nail Pops

A few loose nails may not seem like a severe issue, but they can be. Suppose roofing shingles aren’t held securely in place. In that case, water can seep beneath the shingles and cause damage to the roof decking, leak into the attic, and damage insulation and other building materials.

Mold can be an even more serious issue, as it can endanger your family's health. If the loose nails go undetected, you could live with it for months or longer before becoming aware of the problem. 


The roof may have a rough or bumpy look to it. The nails make the shingles look like they have little hills.


When shingles lift from the roof decking, there is a chance water can seep into the attic. During a storm, the wind may cause more water to get inside or rip the shingles from your home.

Shingles, when working correctly, will be the first line of defense against the elements. If they become damaged in any way, they will not work at protecting your home as well.


When asphalt shingle roofs become damaged, you will notice that during storms, pieces of the shingle may end up in your yard or gutters. When nails pop through a shingle, they can cause tears and cracks in the shingle, leaving them more vulnerable to wind and rain damage. Additionally, each nail head that pops through a shingle provides direct access to the roof sheathing.

Preventing Nail Pops on Roof


It is essential to use the correct length of roofing nails and install them correctly to secure the shingles on your roof system. Nail pops are not entirely preventable, as it is not always possible to see the roof decking during installation.

If a nail is installed where two pieces of decking come together, it may pop after some time as it has not solidly penetrated through the decking. Address nail pops quickly to avoid further damage. Also, make sure your roof is adequately ventilated.

How Are Roof Nail Pops Fixed?

If roof nail pops are caught quickly, the roof repair won’t be as difficult. The loose nails will be removed and replaced, and the shingles will be resealed. If the nail pop is left alone, or if you're unaware this has occurred, the nail holes in the shingle can allow water to leak through into your home. Repairs such as these will be more extensive and costly.

Do You Have Nail Pops On Your Roof?


If you noticed that your roof has sudden bumps in the shingles, it is a good idea to call Melo Roofing, a top-rated roofing contractor in Syracuse, NY, for a roof inspection. The spots may be a minor issue, or they could be nails working their way through the shingles on your roof.

More damage may have already occurred that you might be unaware of. The experience that Melo Roofing offers is next to none, so if you have nail pops on roof, call them right away.