Roofing nailers are a necessity for laying a roof quickly and efficiently, but they require more care and maintenance than a claw hammer. If you are performing a roofing job on your own home or other structure, then you need to understand the basics of taking care of these invaluable tools. Here is a guide to keeping your roofing nailer operating smoothly:
Take care of your air compressor and hose
One of the first and most important considerations to keep in mind is your roofing nailer is no better than the air supply that provides the power for driving nails. Poor-quality or ill-maintained compressors can cause nailers to skip, drive nails partially or lag behind when you are driving nails at a good rate of speed. Worse, air compressors that aren't properly filtered for moisture removal can introduce water into your nailer and cause corrosion and other significant damage.
Air compressors should also be well-maintained, so follow the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer of your compressor. Regularly drain water from the empty tank, and replace water separator filters.
It isn't just the compressor itself that needs attention; be sure to provide your air hose with proper care, too. Air hoses left lying on the ground or in cold weather extremes can be crushed, pinched or freeze up. Keep hoses neatly coiled on a reel and in a location where they won't get too cold or hot.
Check screws periodically and tighten
There are tremendous forces placed upon your roofing nailer each time it is actuated. A high-pressure burst of compressed air enters the nailer and slams the driver into the nail. These repeated impacts can cause screws to loosen over time and could result in tool failure if they aren't tightened. That's why it is important to check each visible screw head on a regular basis and tighten any loose screws. For the most secure hold, add a small drop of thread locking compound to the screw threads before tightening.
Inspect and replace chipped drivers
The driver is the heavy-duty "hitter" of the roofing nailer, since it makes contact with the nail and drives it into the roof. While you can usually expect this component to last for thousands of strikes without failing, keep in mind that the metal driver can chip or crack. If the driver fails, it will result in bent nails, partially driven nails or stop the functioning of the tool altogether. That is why you should regularly inspect the driver for signs of damage, particularly if you are experiencing trouble with performance. The manufacturer of your roofing nailer can provide you with a parts schematic and may also sell driver replacement kits for use in repairing your tool. Use pneumatic lubricant.
If your roofing nailer sticks or fails to fire on occasion, then your tool may need lubrication. Constant exposure to harsh conditions can cause the roofing nailer to "dry out"; this can not only cause malfunction, it can also result in accelerated wear of parts. When lubricating your roofing nailer, be sure to use a high-quality lubricant deemed safe for use with pneumatic tools. Never use a non-approved oil or grease, as they can actually ignite under the pressure of compressed air inside the tool and cause damage or even injury.
Clean tar and dirt from the nose
In the roofing environment, there are a number of contaminants present that can clog your tool and inhibit its performance. Tar, sand, and soil particles are just a few of the potential problem-causing substances. When you place the nose of your roofing nailer on the shingles, these substances are often pushed into the tool and can create a sticky mess.
Fortunately, cleaning these substances is simple, so this maintenance step should be performed often. Dampen a rag with kerosene or mineral spirits, and use it to wipe away the tar and other contaminants. Do not immerse the tool in the solvent, and be sure to allow it to air dry before use.
For more information and tips, talk with professional roofing contractors, such as those at Fischer Roofing - Flat Roof Pros, or the manufacturer of your product.