How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

What does toe nailing mean?

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Toe nailing means driving a nail at about a 45-degree angle to connect two pieces of wood that are perpendicular to each other. It was the standard way to secure roof rafters to the top plate of a wall up until the 1970s when metal strap connectors became required by building codes. Usually at least one nail was toe-nailed into each side of a rafter, although occasionally we have seen a single toe nail securing each rafter end in older houses. An example above shows two toe nails at one side of a roof rafter of a 1950s home in Winter Park, Florida.

   Unfortunately, although a pair of opposing toe nails are fairly strong in resistance to laterial movement, and are still often used today to secure interior wall studs to a base plate, they are weak in uplift. This makes the nails in a toe-nailed roof more likely to be pulled up in a hurricane, allowing the wind to lift the roof off the wall and cause catastrophic damage. By contrast, the nails through a metal connector are perpendicular to the hurricane wind forces trying to lift off the roof. That’s called “in shear,” and essentially means the nails or wood must be broken apart to release the connection. Much stronger.

    Besides not being allowed for roof-to-wall connections by today’s code, a toe-nailed roof voids one of the hurricane-resistance discounts offered to Florida homeowners on their windstorm insurance under the state’s wind mitigation inspection program. To read more about it, go to our blog post What is the wind mitigation inspection for homeowner's insurance?  If your roof is toe-nailed, consider Is it worth it to upgrade my roof tie-down hurricane straps for a better wind mitigation insurance discount?  

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about the WIND MITIGATION FORM:

• Why did I get no discounts or only a small discount from my wind mitigation inspection?

How long does a wind mitigation inspection remain valid? 

 Who can perform a wind mitigation inspection in Florida?

• How long does it take for a wind mitigation inspection? 

• What is checked during a wind mitigation inspection? 

Is a wind mitigation inspection report (OIR-B1-1802) required for homeowners insurance in Florida? 

Which building permit date is used for the Building Code section of the wind mitigation form? 

What are the different roof deck attachment discount categories for a wind mitigation inspection?


What determines the year of a house? 

What is the difference between a toe nail, clip, single wrap, and double wrap for the wind mitigation form?

Can I do my own wind mitigation inspection?   

What’s the difference between a gable and hip roof for my insurance?   

How can I tell how hurricane resistant a Florida house is before I buy it?

What is a wind mitigation discount? 

Do I get a a discount for partial hurricane shutters in a Wind Mitigation inspection?

• Why did I get no discount for roof-to-wall-attachment in my Wind Mitigation report? 

 What’s the difference between a four-point and wind mitigation inspection?

   Visit our INSURANCE page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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