How to Calculate Nails

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Nails often are sold by the pound.

When you are getting ready to do a home improvement project, it is best to make sure you have all the materials you will need to complete the project before you start. There are few things as aggravating as having to stop in the middle of a task to run out to the hardware or home improvement store. In order to ensure that you have enough nails for the job, first calculate how many nails you are likely to need, and then ask your retailer about how to translate that number into pounds, because nails usually are sold by weight.


Step 1

Identify the components of your project. For example, if you are re-roofing, know how many shingles you will use to cover the roof area. If you are building a deck, count the number of joists, planks and supports.

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Step 2

Calculate the number of nails per component. For example, you usually use four nails per shingle, though you might use more if your roof is in a high-wind area. Roof shingles are measured in squares; there usually are 80 shingles per square, so you would need 320 nails per square. With a deck, you might have a an 8-foot plank with nails spaced every 6 inches, or 16 nails per plank.


Step 3

Calculate the entire area to be built and the number of nails required. If there are 320 nails per roofing square and you need four squares, you need 1,280 nails for the entire roof. If there are 10 8-foot planks on your deck, you need 160 nails to attach the planks.

Step 4

Contact your nail supplier to convert the number of nails into pounds.


The weight of your nails depends on the size and length of the nail. The larger the size number, the thinner the nail.

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