If you’re looking to take on the ultimate DIY home project and re-shingle your roof, then you need to know how to do it the right way. Shoddy craftsmanship when it comes to roof installations can be extremely harmful to the integrity and safety of a home— improper installations will result in voided warranties, leaks, and lots of stress.
You need to learn how to shingle a roof properly before you tackle your own project. This video will get you started:
Before You Shingle Your Roof:
Before you get started with applying shingles to your roof, keep these tips in mind. You want to make sure everything is perfectly set up so you can have a successful installation.
A Complete Tear-Off is a Must
First and foremost, you need to start with a complete tear-down of the roof. Bad roofers will try and save money by forgoing this step and will just install a roof right over the existing roof. This is a terrible idea and should never be done. When you tear off your old roof, you’ll be able to evaluate the roof system to see if it is still safe and secure. This is especially important for older homes that have roof systems that are 25+ years old.
Always redeck the entire roof and check to make sure the system still checks out. Then, and only then, you can start installing the shingles.
Gather the Right Tools
Installing a shingle roof is not a casual job you can complete in an hour or two. It takes skill, knowledge, and lots of equipment. You’ll need the following roofing tools and materials before you get started:
- Asphalt shingles
- Caulk gun
- Chalk line
- Circular saw
- Drip edge
- Extension ladder
- Felt underlayment
- Ice and water shield
- Measuring tape
- Push broom
- Roofing harness
- Roofing nails
- Roof nail gun
- Roofing shovel
- Stapler + staples
- Utility knife
- Work gloves and boots
Acquiring all this equipment is expensive. If you don’t have it on hand, you can likely rent it from a local home improvement store. However, if you have to buy or rent most of this equipment, you’re probably better off spending that money on a professional installation from a local roofing contractor.
Be Sure to Install a Drip Edge
Don’t make the mistake of not installing a drip edge. Drip edges are essential for avoiding water damage to your roof. If any water starts to drip down and off your roof, the drip edge will kick the water out and keep it away from your home and siding. Without a drip edge, the water will drip down and under the roof and towards your home, leading to severe water damage. Don’t try and save a few bucks by not using a drip edge on your new roof.
Use Your Shingle’s Branded Felt Paper
Felt paper is also a necessary part of installing new shingles. But, make sure to match up your felt paper brand with that of your shingles. Many manufacturers’ warranties are only valid if you use their felt paper underneath their shingles. If you use cheaper or off-brand felt paper, and you experience issues with your roof, the chances of getting the warranty are slim.
Install Dedicated Starter Shingles
Once again, don’t try and save money and use a regular shingle as your starter shingle. Starter shingles go on the edge of your roof and are key components to avoiding wind damage. Once again, many warranties require you to have actual starter shingles. No starter shingle = no warranty.
Install Dedicated Hip and Ridge Shingles
Most manufacturers also produce shingles that are designed for the hips and edges of your roof. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have to use their branded hip and ridge shingles to achieve the warranty, then do it!
Be Safe and Follow Safety Protocols
Always wear a helmet when up on your roof, as well as roofing boots, a harness, and safety glasses. Read about some other crucial roofing safety tips here.
4 Steps to Shingle Your Roof Today
Step 1: Prepping Your Roof
First, you need to figure out which type of roofing shingle you need. 3-tab shingles are often the most common and are typically 36 inches long. Measure your roof so you can ensure you buy the right amount of shingles. The general rule of thumb is that three packs of shingles will cover 100 square feet.
Follow these steps to ensure you measure your roof correctly:
- Measure the width and length of each section of the roof. Then, multiply the width and length to get the total area.
- Add the areas of each individual section together.
- Divide the number by 100, and you’ll get the number of squares you need.
- Lastly, multiply this number by 3, and you will know how many packs you need to buy.
You’ll then need to remove the old shingles and flashing. Remove all the shingles with a roofing shovel and use a hammer to get rid of any nails leftover. Remove the metal flashing if it needs to be replaced. It’s always better to be on the safe side and replace it unless you are certain it’s still in good condition. Finally, sweep the roof clean, removing any nails and debris left behind.
Step 2: Installing New Flashing
Next up, you’ll need to install the underlayment and flashing. This will help weatherproof your new roof and keep it safe and secure.
Start by laying asphalt, felt, or another underlayment over the roof. Taking a staple gun, secure the felt to the roof. Overlap each row about 4 inches. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain or snow, consider adding an ice and water protector.
Next, install new flashing and the drip edge. Nail the drip edge in place using your hammer and roofing nails. Also, install flashing around the chimney if you have one and other valleys where two roof planes meet.
Step 3: Get Started With Your Starter Shingles
Starting at the bottom of the roof, map out a guideline with chalk. Keep chalking additional guidelines based on the width of the shingle through at least four rows across your roof. Using your chalk and tape measure, mark about 1 foot up on the roof for the first set of shingles.
Every 5 inches, make a new mark until you get to the top of the roof. Repeat this on both sides of the roof. Use the chalk line to snap a straight line vertically every 6 inches.
Place a glue strip along the rake edge and drip edge, and then attach your starter shingle, nailing it into place.
Step 4: Installing the Shingles
Now it’s time to install the actual shingles. Working your way up and across your roof, start laying your courses. Hammer one nail about 2 inches from each end of a shingle. Secure another nail an inch above each cutout.
Continue on and follow the pattern of lining a full shingle up against the next, nailing it into place. Cut your last shingle on each row so that it is the correct size. Repeat this process all the way to the ridge.
Once you’re at the ridge, bend the shingle over it so that each side is equal and nail it into place. Continue this step until you get to the far edge of the ridge. Cut the last ridge shingle to the length you need, but be sure that no part of the roof is exposed.
Be sure to perform a final inspection to look out for any exposed nails, gaps, or missed areas. Then, clean up your roof and yard so that you don’t get injured by any roofing materials or debris that could fall from your roof or poke you on the ground.
Sound Complicated? Find a Qualified, Quality Roofer Near You to Help
It’s pretty clear that installing a roof by yourself is incredibly complicated and difficult. It’s always best to let a professional contractor handle the work so you stay safe and stress-free. If you read through all that and thought, hmm, maybe I should let a professional handle my new roof, you’re in luck!
Take a look at the Roofing Insights Directorii. On this roofing directory, you’ll find only the most qualified, highest-quality roofing service providers in your area. We heavily vet every roofer on the directory, so you know that you’re choosing from the best of the best.