You have to wait 15 to 20 years to find out.
This is usually how long it takes for a bright nail to rust out and expand so much that it splits the top of a roof tile – causing a sudden un-explained leak on your roof. By this time, your ceiling has been damaged and an unnecessary roof repair to your tile roof has to be carried out. This is a fairly common problem – from the newer roofs of the eastern suburbs of Sydney to the north and western suburbs. I have found this problem all over Sydney.
One of life’s little mysteries is how a Sydney roofer has to resort to using ordinary bright (instead of galvanised) nails to secure roof tiles onto the tile battens. You can believe that a roof tiler can skimp on his nails and use the cheap bright nails – then the whole roof becomes a problem. But I often just find a few rows of tiles with the rusty nail problem and the rest are OK because galvanised nails have been used.
Whatever the story, rusty nails can do some damage to a roof many years down the track. Probably without the roof tiler having any knowledge of the legacy that he has left behind.
A long and lengthy process of locating the tiles with the rusty nails and replacing them will solve the problem. But first we have to find enough of the right sized roof tiles for the replacement work. And when the tiles are near the ridge capping- we have to take the ridge capping off and more work has to be done to re-instate the ridging..
All this roof repair work should not be necessary – if the tile roofer had used the right nails!