Sheathing Problem with Staples

Sheathing ProblemI’m seeing more and more staples used to fasten roof sheathing and it is causing problems. Not because staples don’t work but because the wrong size staple is being used or the staple spacing in incorrect.

When the wrong staples or the wrong staple spacing is utilized, it causes problems for builders, roofers and of course the sheathing manufacturer because that’s who gets called first when problems occur. Some framers think the holding power of a staple is equal to that of a nail; wrong! It takes twice as many staples to hold a roof or wall sheathing in place than it does when you use nails.

Here are some facts about staples:

  • Always check with your building department to see if there are local requirements
  • Staple spacing must be 3”oc. along edges and 6”oc. in the field of the panel
  • Only use 16-gauge staples
  • The crown width must be 7/16”
  • Staple legs must be 1 ¾”
  • Staples must be placed 3/8” in from corners and edges

These are critical points for the correct installation of structural sheathing in order to meet code when using staples. Building officials and builders need to check each roof to be sure these minimum code standards are followed before finished roofing is installed.

Staple Fastener Problems 2
Builders should ask their framers how they will install the sheathing and advise them if they don’t know the correct way. The roofer should also check the installation to be sure code requirements are met. If they are not, don’t proceed until the problems are corrected or you can almost guarantee you will be called back because there is an issue with the roof.

The photo shows a recent installation I inspected where staples were used. No fasteners in the corners, staples were 12”apart and, on top of that, the framer did not leave the required 1/8” spacing between the panels.

This photo is the end result of a bad sheathing installation where framing problems have telegraphed through to the shingles.

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