Letter Re: Wandering Roofing Nails

Dear Hugh,

Glad to see the roofers are done. The problem with those nasty critters–those old galvanized roofing nails popping up like mushrooms on the ground–is easily solved. If your surrounding land is fairly flat, try this: 30 In. Magnetic Sweeper with Wheels. If the land around your home is rough-n-tumble (like mine) just get one of these on the end of a rope and drag it over, under, and around the home. I like this one, since it does “double duty” in my pond as well: 250 lb. Pull Retrieving Magnet. (Note: prices seem to change rapidly for these items on Amazon. Check before buying.)

Those old and usually rusty/corroded roofing nails are prime suspects for foot puncture wounds as well as wounds to our trusty K-9’s feet. (Don’t ask me how I found out about foot wounds; well, it was a 90-minute trip to the nearest ER for a tetanus shot.) Flats to the pickup and farm tractor tires just result in the dear spouse’s blistered ears. YMMV– try other sources, Amazon, Northern Tool, flea markets, et cetera. All the best! – K.W.


    1. @Ned2
      They actually did a good job. They used magnetic sweepers and spent a considerable amount of time cleaning up, but because of the landscaping, there are always some nails that make it through. If we had concrete and pavement, it would be an easy job, but gravel, lava rock, and rose bushes complicate matters.

        1. I’ve got about a bazillion magnets from hard drives. I don’t quite seem to be able to throw one away without pulling the magnets. I’m in the process of screwing about 20 of them to an old worn out push broom (which I’ve removed the bristles from) and then covering with a strip of 1/8″ plexiglass to make it easy to clean. Works pretty well.

  1. My son collects 49X40 used pallets from various places around town. He gets them for free and either takes them to a collection point for $3.00 each or stores some at my industrial yard to sell for $5.00 each. needless to say we must to magnetic sweeps on a regular basis to prevent flat tires.
    When I worked on the ramp for airlines many of our tugs had magnetic bars attached to them to sweep the ramp area as they drove around to prevent FOD damage to the jet engines.

  2. Good information. We just had our roof done. Nice to find a tape measure buried in the bark. They did a pretty good job at cleaning up but now that Spring is here I’m still finding nails. Thanks for the info!

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