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Attaching to a Shingle Roof: Do’s and Don’ts

Attaching to a shingle roof is a bit more complicated than you might imagine. You’d think it can’t be that bad, just nail it on right? Maybe it needs something like a drywall anchor? Maybe some sort of caulk?

If you need to attached something like an antenna, security cameras, or even a Weathervane, follow these tips for a job well done!

attaching to a shingle roof: shows a little kid carfully screwing in a screw to a raw stud in a house.

Roofs might not be rocket science, but they are responsible for shedding all the rain and snow that falls on your house. Just like those ceramic panels on the shuttle, they need to be whole and in good shape to do their job.

The Hazards of Nails and Making Holes in Your Roof

The root of the problem is water. Roofs are the magic that keeps your house dry when the rain and snow come. A good roof is a complicated system of many layers of protection including the felt underlayment, ice and water protector, roof shingles, and flashing. Damage to any of these components can create a cascade of leaks and eventual water damage. Even tiny holes can make big problems in the long run, leading to expensive repairs.

There are ways to correctly attach to your roof, involving carefully driving nails underneath the shingles. However, it’s really easy to do this wrong. If the nail isn’t driven in enough, it can lift the shingle and create a pathway for water to sneak in. If the nail is driven in too deeply it can buckle the shingle underneath, again creating a pathway for damage. Don’t make your roof worse while you’re trying to make your life better. When you’re adding some cool new things to your home, keep an eye out for these signs of roof damage and follow these tips:

Don’t do this when you attach to your roof:

  • Don’t drive nails or screws into your shingles
  • Don’t think that a little silicone caulk can fix everything
  • Don’t create any underdriven or overdriven nails under shingles
  • Don’t let any nails or attachments create gaps or lift shingles

Read more: Roof Shingle Repair Mistakes to Avoid

So How Do You Attach Anything to Your Roof?

Mostly, you shouldn’t. If you do need to attach something like a security camera or flower baskets, attach them to the soffit instead of the roof. The soffit is the underhang where the roof reaches past the walls of your house. The soffit helps protect the walls of your house from the rain and snow that your roof sheds. It also serves to make the roof look balanced and create architectural interest. By attaching things like cameras to the underside of the soffit you can create holes in your roofing system where water won’t be likely to get in.

Attaching to a shingle roof: showing a soffit on a new roof.

Do attach items to your roof in these ways:

  • Attach security cameras to the soffit rather than the roof.
  • Attach antennas to the chimney or even better, put them in the attic.
  • Attach flower baskets to structures other than your roof, such as porch pillars.
  • Attach Christmas lights using clips made for that purpose.
  • Call a professional to attach larger structures like a pergola or weathervane and make sure it’s attached to the soffit.

Roofs are one of those things you really don’t want to mess up. The money you save by doing it yourself brings with it high risks of expensive repairs if it’s done incorrectly. Attaching to a shingle roof can create holes in your roofing system leading to water damage. Even small holes can cause a lot of damage over time. If you do want to attach something to your roof, let us know. We can help make sure it’s done correctly and safely.

About Weather Vane Roofing

We provide roofing, siding, insulation, windows, and gutters. Making your house beautiful and efficient is our main goal. We use the latest in technology and products to provide eco-friendly and cost effective solutions for your home and business. With locations in Lansing, Owosso, and Brighton/Howell we are Mid-Michigan’s roofing experts. Let us transform your house into a home.

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