Review: PacTool International RS501 Roof Snake
I had never heard of the PacTool International RS501 Roof Snake until about a year ago and if for no other reason than its ability of this tool to reach under items such as roof shingles, siding, plywood, etc and set nails, this thing is amazing! While I may not use the Roof Snake very often, it comes so handy in certain circumstances that I would not ever part with it.
The patented one inch offset nail-slot feature not only allows you to properly align roofing nails with the bottom edge of your existing shingles, it also allows you to drive nails in spots that would be next to impossible without this tool.
I was replacing siding at the time when a co-worker showed me the PacTool International RS501 Roof Snake. After his heavy recommendation, I purchased one and what a time saver did it become. I had many, many nails that had pulled through the siding when I was replacing boards. Prior to purchasing the roof snake, I had to try to get the nails left underneath the good boards flush, so that the new boards would slide up behind them without catching during installation. Previous attempts had involved a grinder, sawzall, hacksaw, oscillating tool, cutters and while I had some success, nothing compared to this tool in both convenience and ease of use. Simply slide the offset end behind the siding and up to the nail head and pound flush.
The claw tip on the opposite side is designed for the removal of nails, this tip is designed and suited for the wide head of roofing nails and it allows you to remove the nail without over bending the shingle itself. The smooth design of the claw also aids in separating the shingles from each other without causing any unnecessary damage. While the claw is good for removing roofing nails, my experience is that with other nails, especially those in wood, the head of the nail is usually driven too deep for the claw tip to work its way underneath. You would most likely end up doing a lot of cosmetic damage to the surface trying to dig the nail out with the claw on the Roof Snake. When I have to remove a nail out of anything, especially when trying to minimize the collateral damage, my go to tool is the Dead On Tools Exhumer.
The body of the tool itself is made from high strength powder coated steel. The powder coat is thick and will serve to protect the metal underneath from the elements for years to come. While not the intent of this product, the thickness of this tool combined with the claw tip and the distinct curve have allowed me to successfully use the roof snake as a pry bar on multiple occasions.
While this is a tool built for the sole purpose of roofing repairs, it is also one of those tools that could make a home in any handyman’s tool box. There are a lot of times when for one reason or another, the standard tools for the job just won’t work. This may be because of clearance issues, leverage, or some other extenuating circumstance. The PacTool International RS501 Roof Snake is one of those tools that really shows off when the normal tools just won’t cut it.
It may not get used everyday, but worth having on hand!