Answering this question will depend on several factors, including the size of your home or building, type of roofing system and roofing product, and local code requirements such as additional nailing requirements for high-wind locations.
The average residential roof size in the US is about 1,700 square feet or 17 squares. All roofers use “squares” to measure and estimate roofs. A square is equal to 100 square feet of roofing surface. Shingle manufacturers recommend using four nails per shingle in the main part of the roof and five nails in the first row, which amounts to an average of 320 nails per square. Using the US average roof size of 17 squares, this calculates to 5,440 nails. Nailing requirement in high-wind areas requires additional nails.