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How to Install a Shingle Roof

You need to know how to install a shingle roof the right way to prevent moisture from penetrating the structure. You’ll be using a chalk line to create a grid to guide shingle placement. This ensures that you end up with straight rows. Always make safety a priority when working on a roof. Wear long pants, non-skid shoes, and a fall-prevention harness.

What You Need to Know About Shingles

  • Standard 3-tab shingles measure 36 inches by 12 inches.
  • These 3-tab shingles are meant to be applied with a 5-inch reveal. This means that 5 inches of lower tabs are exposed to the elements.
  • Approximately 3 bundles of shingles will cover 100 square feet of roof.
  • The line of sticky material across the shingles is meant to activate in the hot sun.
  • Align the lower flap of a shingle with the sticky material along the preceding row.

How to Install a Shingle Roof Step by Step

  1. Move items, like lawn furniture, away from the house to prevent damaging them during roof installation.
  2. Spread tarps to catch debris from the roof tear off.
  3. Measure the width and height of each section of the roof.
  4. Multiply the width by the height to find the square footage of each section.
  5. Add the square footage of each section to calculate the total roof square footage.
  6. Divide total square footage by 100.
  7. Multiply the resulting figure by 3 to determine how shingle bundles are needed.
  8. Increase your number of bundles by 10% to 20% to account for waste and building the ridge cap.
  9. Obtain your shingles and a supply of galvanized roofing nails.
  10. Before starting the steps for how to install a shingle roof, tear off the old roof.
  11. Pry loose shingles with a hammer claw and roofing fork.
  12. Tear off old underlayment with a scraper roof shovel.
  13. Pull out any remaining nails and sweep the roof deck clean.
  14. Place all debris in a dumpster.
  15. Working from the bottom edge upward, mark horizontal guidelines to help you place roof underlayment.
  16. Unroll underlayment across roof and nail in place.
  17. Overlap each successive row of underlayment by 4 to 6 inches.
  18. Line the drip edge sheet with the lower edge of the roof.
  19. Make a chalk line along the top edge of the metal sheet.
  20. Scoot the drip edge sheet downward 1/2 inch from the line so that it overhangs the roof deck slightly.
  21. Nail drip edge into place.
  22. Apply drip edge in a similar fashion to gable edges.
  23. To get good results with how to install a shingle roof, mark horizontal and vertical guidelines.
  24. Snap your first horizontal chalk line 12 inches up from the bottom edge.
  25. Snap remaining horizontal lines every 5 inches up from the 12-inch mark.
  26. Snap chalk lines every 6 inches vertically across the roof.
  27. For your starter strip of shingles, cut tabs off shingles.
  28. Attach the tab-less strips of shingles along the top of the drip edge. Nail down with galvanized roofing nails.
  29. Have the shingles overhang the roof deck like the drip edge.
  30. Align your first full row of shingles with the 12-inch mark.
  31. Nail the shingle 2 inches from each end and 1 inch above each cutout.
  32. Cut 6 inches off a shingle to start your second row of shingles.
  33. The removal of 6 inches offsets the tabs.
  34. Align the second row with the 5-inch line.
  35. Placement of shingles should align lower tabs with the sticky part of shingles beneath them.
  36. Work upward, making sure to offset each row of shingles and follow the grid.
  37. To build the ridge cap, cut shingles into individual tabs.
  38. Starting at one end, nail a tab so that it folds over the ridge.
  39. Nail the next tab so that it overlaps the preceding tab by 5 inches.
  40. Continue until the entire ridge is shingled.

Tools & Materials

  • Measuring tape
  • Roofing fork
  • Roof scraper shovel
  • Chalk line
  • A Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Carpenter's square

Professional Roof Replacement Services

The harsh wet weather of the Delaware Valley demands that shingles be installed correctly to prevent leaks. If you’d like to avoid the hard labor of how to install a shingle roof, outsource the job to professionals. At PJ Fitzpatrick, we have been fixing and replacing roofs for decades. Ask us for a roofing estimate today.

Need help with this project?

We have trained professionals that can help. Contact us today. 1-877-246-4354

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