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The science behind steel roof fasteners

Why Hy-Grade chose nails over screws for its roofing system
IMGP9409_Edited_ Tom Ware (President and CEO) and Ryan Ware (CFO)

It’s easy to be impressed by the science behind advances in things like technology, medicine, and humanity’s ongoing exploration of the cosmos. But what about the science behind more modest discoveries?

Surely there was some scientific method applied to the creation of everyday items like the paper clip, the selfie-stick, or even the toothpick. When it comes to steel roofing systems, the designers at Hy-Grade Steel Roofing Systems in Guelph definitely relied on science in the development of their superior roofing design.

The company’s sophisticated research and development, combined with their 33 years of legacy, engineering, and innovation, has resulted in the creation of the most extraordinary Canadian-made steel roofing system available on the market today. Even more impressive is the fact the entire system hinges on the relationship between the uniquely designed steel “shake” or shingle and the simple galvanized nails that fasten the whole system together.

Many steel roofing systems are held together using screws. The Hy-Grade system uses a simple 2-1/4 inch smooth shank nail incorporated into a proprietary design that can successfully accommodate the natural expansion and contraction of the metal occurring during seasonal temperature and weather changes. It’s the integration of that simple nail into the roofing installation that separates the Hy-Grade system from its competition, this according to company president and founder, Tom Ware.


“It’s because of the way our shake is designed that makes it so durable,” said Ware, who established the family-run business in 1988.

“If you have a piece of sheet steel and put a nail or screw directly into it, it’s going to expand and contract and move against the fastener, causing it to back out or loosen. Our V-groove design – we call it a socket – doesn’t move on the fastener at all, because the shake is allowed to move around the fastener without ever touching it. The nail continues to hold the system in place.”

It may be hard for some to believe the degree to which metal expands and contracts from summer to winter. However, accommodating for that process was critical to developing the singular design of Hy-Grade metal shakes. It’s also the reason why the company stands behind its industry-leading 50-Year No Leak and Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.

“With our system you never have to worry about the fastener, whereas with most typical steel roofs you’d have to service them every 10 to 15 years. A full length of 30-foot steel roofing can move as much as 3 to 5 inches as it expands and contracts. It’s always pulling and pushing. Sometimes the steel buckles, stretches, or develops dimples while moving on the fastener. With temperatures hitting 40 in the summer and minus 30 in the winter this is a lot of expansion and contraction.”

Hy-Grade only manufacturers one style of steel roofing – a 32-inch by 14-1/4-inch streel shake with five unique ribs specifically designed to be held in place by a nail.

“We only have one profile with our roofing system because it works,” said Ware. “We could try to make a tile profile or even a shingle look, but there are a lot of complications to it all. This design works.”

Learn more about top-quality Canadian-made Hy-Grade steel roofing systems. For more information, call 855-494-7233. Or visit them online.