Choose The Right Fasteners To Make Your Roofing Last

| 11/12/2012 5:08:10 PM

When I designed my wilderness cabin back in 2009, I knew I wanted to go the extra mile to achieve beauty, and that included an attractive roof. If you’re interested in creating a roof structure that’s well insulated, pleasing to the eye, and shows off natural wood on the inside, this post might open up some new possibilities for you.

I opted to sheathe my roof with solid boards rather than plywood because I wanted something nice to look up at when I was inside, but this presented an obvious problem: How to insulate? I live in Canada, and since I want my cabin to be comfortable in all seasons, insulation is not optional. The typical solution is to stuff the spaces between rafters with batts or spray foam, then cover the whole thing with drywall or boards. Since I wanted to leave my rafters visible, this wasn’t an option. My only alternative was to insulate the roof from the top. In the end, I decided the best way to achieve this was by fastening specially made panels of foam and OSB to the outside of my roof boards.

Robert Working on Roof 

I found that a company called Barricade ( made just the sort of panels I was looking for. The company's wall panels consist of 2” of foam factory bonded to 1/2” OSB. But using these panels led to another difficulty: how to fasten them to my roof.

Robert's Roof 

Regular deck screws and roofing nails were out, because they simply didn’t have the strength and holding power required. Their heads are also small enough that I couldn’t trust them not to pull through the OSB in a high wind. I figured I needed a fastener with serious pulling and holding power, and a really big, flat head. After some searching online, I discovered a company called Camo that makes just the sort of screw I was looking for.

Their structural screws have a thick shank and extra wide, course threads for a super strong bite. The heads are also big and flat, which greatly reduced the danger of wind tearing panels off the roof, while increasing pulling power. Because they’re so thick, splitting of my roof boards was a danger at times, but not a big deal. The screws have Torx heads, and each box comes with a bit to match. For my installation I found 3 1/2” structural screws worked best for anchoring the insulating panels to the underlying roof boards.

Camo Structural Screws 

I was amazed at just how powerfully the screws sucked the panel down tight against the wood. Camo screws are certainly more expensive than other fasteners, but they’re hard to beat for strength and reliability. 

Robert Setting Screws 

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