How to Install Shingles

Looking to install a new roof? We have everything you need to know. We'll walk you through roof prep, applying underlayment, laying shingles, and more.

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Most homeowners consider installing a new roof a job for a professional—but that doesn't have to be the case. With our expert advice and instructions, you can learn how to shingle your own roof. We have tips for prepping the roof's surface, laying underlayment, installing flashings, and much more. Read on to become a roofing expert. 

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How to Roof Over Existing Shingles

Under the right conditions, installing new shingles over old ones is a time (and cost) effective fix for a new roof. Although this method is easier than tearing off an old roof and starting from scratch, due diligence needs to be taken to ensure the roof lasts. We'll show you tips and thorough how-to steps to help you get the job done right. Learn how to lay roofing over existing shingles here

How to Tear Off Old Shingles

The actual process of tearing off old shingles isn't all that difficult, but disposing of them is a different story. You'll likely need to rent an oversized trash container to collect the debris. Our tutorial shows you exactly how to tear off the old shingles to get your home ready for new roofing. 

How to Repair Sheathing

Once all of the shingles have been removed, the next step is to make any necessary sheathing repairs. You'll want to look for sags, dips, or any indications that the sheathing is weak. This section shows you what signs to look for, plus explains exactly how to make repairs. 

How to Apply Underlayment

Also known as "tar paper," roofing felt is an important addition to your roof. The underlayment works in conjunction with flashings and shingles to protect your home from the elements. Installing underlayment is fairly simple—and this tutorial shows you exactly how to do it. 

How to Install Flashings

Some flashings, such as an open metal valley flashing, must be installed after the underlayment but before the shingles. The process is simple—just cut the flashing, set it in place, and attach. Other flashings, need to be installed after or along with the shingles. This section walks you through all of the different types of valley flashing and shows you how to install it. 

How to Install Three-Tab Shingles

Asphalt shingles, also called composition shingles (they may be made largely of fiberglass), are the most common type of roofing for homes. They are inexpensive, come in a wide range of colors and profiles, are easy to install, and are suitable for a wide range of climates. This section shows how to install three-tab composition shingles, the most popular type. 

How to Nail Shingles

Nailing shingles can be done by hand using a roofing hatchet, but working with any speed takes practice. Years ago, experienced roofers developed the technique of getting a nail ready between the two fingers of one hand while they pounded a nail—usually in two whacks—with the other hand.

Today many pros and do-it-yourselfers prefer to apply roofing with a pneumatic nail gun and a compressor or a cordless power nailer. You can rent a pneumatic or power nailer from a home center or a rental store. Be sure to specify that you will use the nailer for roofing so you will get the right kind of nailer. Buy the correct nails for your situation when you pick up the rental equipment.

Another major advantage of power nailers is that you can work with gloves on—hand-nailing requires at least one bare hand to hold the nails. Roofing is notoriously hard on hands; cold weather can make the job even more unpleasant. Gloves provide an added layer of protection, warmth, and a surer grip for handling bundles of shingles.

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