How to Install Shingles

How to Install Shingles

This article provides helpful information on all roofing projects, from minor repairs to full scale re-roofing.

Don't forget to take proper safety precautions. Always use a ladder with the proper height that is secured both at the top and bottom to prevent falling. Take care not to make contact with power lines or other utilities. Only perform roofing work in warm, non-inclement weather. Wear proper shoes to avoid slips. You can also nail boards onto the roof for better footing.

Estimating Materials

Shingles are retailed in bundles called squares. To determine how many squares you'll need to buy, measure the square footage of the roof. The dividend of the square footage by 100 equals the number of shingles required. Always buy extra material just in case.

The home improvement store also sells a variety of roofing nails which are specially designed for each type of shingle. While 1.5-inch nails are best for new roofs, 1.75-inch nails are reserved for repairs. You also need roofing felt and cement.


Selecting the Shingles

The shingle you purchase depend on several factors, including local climate, zoning codes, and the building's intended use. A sales associate at the home improvement can help you make the final selection; however, 5-inch exposure is the typical standard.


You can have up to 3 layers of roofing material in place. If you have more than that, you must remove the existing material before applying the new material. Of course, you must also perform any repairs and handle loose nails.

Replacing Damaged Shingles

Pry-out the nails to removed the damaged shingles. If the nails are covered, use a knife to excise the shingle. Replace damaged shingles with new shingles that are similar in design to the originals and bond the shingle to the roof with cement and nails.

Roof Valleys

When shingling an area in which portions of the roof form an angle, you must take special care. Any mistakes could easily lead to leaks.

Use caution when laying shingles in the roof valley. Prepare the area properly to prevent leaks.Apply roll roofing material to the valleys as illustrated.

Add 18-inch metal flashing down to the middle of the valley, securing it only to the exterior edges and add cement.

Apply 36-inch roofing material over the original strip.

Next make dual chalk lines. The lines should originate from the ridge with an initial spacing of 6-inches, and extended outward from each other with increased spacing of 1/8-inch for every foot the lines extend.

Next lay the shingles as illustrated along the chalk lines. The shingles should not be laid any closer than 1/2-foot to the lines.

Asphalt Shingles

Use 15-pound roof felt and 5/8-inch plywood sheathing for asphalt shingles.

Overlap each length of felt by 2-inches to avoid damage from inclement weather.

Use staples to attach the felt.

Starting the Shingles

Snap a chalk line in the center of the roof. Then attach a starter strip to that it extends from the roof by .5-inches at the lower tip of the roof. If you don't have a starter strip, refer to the figure to see how you can make you own from the shingles.

Use a chalk line to mark the exact center before starting the asphalt shingles.Apply the first shingle over the starter strip at the chalk line.


Drive 4 nails into each shingle.

Refer to the illustration of how to continue laying the shingles.


Adding More Shingle Courses

See the manufacturer's instructions for information about where to snap the chalk line for an extra course of shingles and make them until you reach the end.

Lay the next row of shingles over the preceding one according to the instructions.

Add the third course beginning in the center and repeat these steps to complete the roof.

Shingling Vent Pipes

You can use vent pipe boots when adding the final details around vent pipes. To make you own pipe boot, apply metal flashing to the vent pipe before. The flashing must have a 6-inch edge..

The flashing must extend at least 6 inches around the edge of the vent pipe. Use asphalt cement to seal the edges.Carve out the center of the flashing in a round chap that will wrap around the vent pipe. Put cement on the bottom.

Add shingles until you reach the vent pipe, then cut out the center of the final shingle to fit it around the pipe.


Chimneys and Shingles

Apply flashing just like you did for the vent pipes. Refer to the figure for an illustration of how to do this on new roofs.


Secure the flashing in place, then fold in half 7x10-inch flashing and place it against the chimney.

Place these flashing strips against the chimney, seal the edge with roofing cement and nail into place.

Apply shingles to the chimney edge. Then seal and nail into place.Refer to the illustration.

Shingling Hip Roofs

Every row of shingles on a hip roof must extend all the ay around it.


Cut the shingle to match the roof. Purchase hip shingles.

Complete the top of the roof before the rest of it.

Starting the row of shingles required that you start with two when dealing with the ridge.