Home Maintenance

Is it Okay to Attach Something to a Shingle Roof?


Table of Contents:

  1. Can You Nail Into Your Roof?
  2. Can You Attach an Antenna to a Roof?
  3. Can You Mount a Security Camera on a Roof?
  4. Can You Attach Flower Baskets to Your Roof?
  5. Can You Attach a Pergola to a Shingle Roof?
  6. Can You Attach a Shade Sail to a Roof?
  7. Can You Attach Solar Panels to Your Roof?
  8. Can You Attach Christmas Décor to Your Roof?
  9. Need Advice About Attaching Something to Your Roof?

There are many home accessories that you may want to attach to your roof, from security cameras at the front door to flower baskets in the backyard. We recommend you choose a professional roofer to safely attach these items to your roof.

Besides, it is wise to look into alternatives before asking a roofer to attach something to your roof. If you can avoid adding stress to your roof, you should.

The manufacturers of your home accessories may not warn you against nailing them to the roof because they might not understand roofing materials and why you shouldn’t attach accessories to them. The truth is, you can increase your risk for leaks if you try to attach something to your roof without professional guidance.

Not only will we explain why it is a challenge to attach common items to your roof, but we’ll also tell you where you should hang these items instead. There is a safe solution for everything you want to hang on your roof.

Can You Nail Into Your Roof?

A roofing system is designed to keep water out of your home. Roofing professionals achieve a quality roof by layering various materials on top of the decking, or the wooden foundation, of your roof. There are many components of a pitched roof, from felt underlayment and ice and water protector to roof shingles and flashing. Together, these components force water to run off your roof into the gutters and away from your home.

If you drive even one nail into the top of your roof, you may compromise its entire system. That one nail will puncture the shingles and underlayment of your roof, creating a hole through the whole system. When it rains, water can enter the hole, bypass every layer of security on your roof and trickle into your attic. This nail may cause a small leak, and even small leaks can cause significant problems for your home.

You may be asking: Don’t roofers use nails when installing roofs? Yes, professional roofers use nails to apply shingles, but they do so in a very specific way so that each nail is covered by the shingle above it. Adding another nail above the shingles compromises your roof system.

nailing shingles at the nailing line

You may have heard that attaching something beneath the roof shingles is a possible way to avoid this problem, but this must be done carefully. A shingle needs to lay flat against the roof to work properly. Even an underdriven nail, which is a nail that was not driven deep enough into the shingle, can cause problems. This nail will prop up the shingle ever so slightly, and this is enough room for water to get beneath the shingle. If your roofer adds another nail beneath the shingles, they’ll be sure it lays flat.

nailing architectural shingles on the nailing line

proper shingle nailing

Improper nailing may void the limited wind resistance warranty on your roof. However, there are ways to attach any accessory you want to your home, without compromising the life span of your roof. A roofing professional will choose corrosion-resistant screws for this job, not just nails.

Can You Attach an Antenna to a Roof?

While an antenna can be attached to a roof by a roofing professional, it is best to look into other options. While antennas were once nailed up on roofs regularly, the resulting holes in the roof could cause leaks. Now, antennas are most commonly placed in attics. Modern digital signals can bypass your roof without suffering too much of a reduction in signal quality.

should you attach a tv antenna to your roof

There are other options. Your antenna installer may suggest mounting your antenna to your chimney, so long as it is light enough. They also have methods of securing the antenna to your roof without driving in nails, using a strap system. Or you can mount a freestanding antenna directly in your backyard.

If your antenna came with a bracket to attach it to a roof, your antenna provider may not understand why using the bracket isn’t a good idea. We suggest you check with a roofing professional you trust to make sure that the method your antenna installer plans to use is safe and won’t damage your roof.

Can You Mount a Security Camera on a Roof?

can you mount a security camera on a roof

The rooftop may seem like a natural place for a security camera, but camera manufacturers actually do not recommend putting your security camera up there. Though most surveillance cameras are now weatherproof, rain and snow can still limit their life span. Inclement weather can also distort their view, and no one wants to run outside after every drizzle to clean off their cameras’ lenses. So, manufacturers recommend you mount your security cameras to the soffit.

The soffit is the underside of your roof’s eave. The structural component of the soffit is wood, but the bottom layer is thin vinyl or aluminum that has vents, which allow the attic space to breathe. In order to secure a camera base to the soffit properly, it would need to be fastened through the vinyl sheet and onto the wooden truss, as the soffit’s bottom layer is not strong enough to hold a security camera on its own. The security camera may fall out if it is only attached to the vinyl or aluminum panel alone.

technician mounting home security camera to soffit

You should also know that mounting a security camera is a little more involved than it appears. While some cameras work using batteries and your home’s Wi-Fi, not all do. If you have an older model, you may need to drill into your roof space from your home to make room for the camera’s power cord. It’s best to ask a professional to do this job, so you don’t damage any part of your roof or home.

Can You Attach Flower Baskets to Your Roof?

You shouldn’t attach a flower basket to your roof, nor should you attach them to your roof’s soffit. While you might see some flower baskets hanging from the home’s soffit by a chain, that is not a wise way to hang them unless the chain is connected to a structural portion of the soffit. Your roofing professional will know how to properly attach the chain.

roof covered porch with hanging flower baskets

The thin aluminum part of the soffit can’t handle the weight of a basket of flowers. Remember, flowers get even heavier after you’ve watered them. Instead, flower baskets should be attached to the wooden beams and supports of your porch or the face of your home. There are special flower-hanging brackets you can use to hang your flowers.

flower hanging brackets holding geranium flower pot

Can You Attach a Pergola to a Shingle Roof?

There are many types of backyard structures that you may want to connect to your home’s roof. While we understand the desire to attach a pergola or other structure to your shingle roof, this is not as simple of a job as it sounds.

can you attach a pergola to a shingle roof

If you have your heart set on attaching your pergola to your roof, call in a roofing professional to get the job done for you. In partnership with your landscaper, builder and other professionals, your roofer can properly attach your pergola in a way that looks good, without sacrificing the longevity of your roof.

Can You Attach a Shade Sail to a Roof?

Shade sails are essentially large sheets of canvas that provide shade. You may see pictures of shade sails that have been attached to the roof, either nailed into the shingles or tied to the gutters. These methods of attaching a shade sail can create problems for your roof. A professional will attach your shade sail to your roof at the soffit under the lower structural edge, where it is safe.

can you attach a shade sail to a roof

It’s a much better idea to attach a shade sail to your other backyard structures, such as your gazebo or trellis. You can also support your shade sail with freestanding poles that are not in direct contact with the house. That way, your roof is safe, and you can still place a table beneath your shade sail.

Can You Attach Solar Panels to Your Roof?

IKO allows solar panels to be attached to our shingle roofs, so long as a trained professional performs the installation. Note that any leaks caused directly by the panel anchor points will not be covered by our asphalt shingle limited warranty.

attaching solar panels to a roof

Can You Attach Christmas Decor to Your Roof?

IKO has previously explained how to hang Christmas lights from your roof. You can do this yourself, if you’re careful. When in doubt, ask a roofing professional for advice about how to hang unique, heavy or fragile décor.

Hanging Christmas lights from your roof

Need Advice About Attaching Something to Your Roof?

If you’re considering attaching something to your roof, it’s smart to consult with a roofer you trust first. They can come up with smart solutions for you to display your flowers or add your pergola without sacrificing your roof’s quality or its limited warranty. Use IKO’s Contractor Locator to contact a roofing professional near you for advice. There are always solutions to attach a home accessory without hurting your roof.