Installing Roof Shingles – A Simple Guide

Installing roof shingles isn’t very complex or difficult. It isn’t easy or hassle-free either. If you’re thinking about installing roof shingles for your home or office, then this guide will be of some help and guidance in explaining the steps and showing you what you’re in for. Knowledge is power, and reading this will keep you well informed about how to install a shingle roof.

First of all, your current roof needs a close and expert inspection to identify areas of damage or rot. Applying a new asphalt shingle roof over a damaged roof frame will only lead to fresh problems down the road. Indications that the wood may be rotting are areas that sag and an uneven surface of the underlayment. When rotten wood framing is a possibility, the safest and least expensive solution is to tear off the existing cover and then install new roof shingles.

Another reason why you may have to tear off your old roof is if it has two or more layers already. In this case, adding a further layer of shingles over it may cause the load to become so high that the supporting infrastructure cannot support it, causing the roof to break or sag again.

Tear Off Before Installing Roof Shingles

In case you identified enough reason to tear off your older roof before installing roof shingles, then you will be exposing a lot of damage that’s hidden under the older shingle layer. The right tools will help get the job done swiftly and efficiently. Stripping tools including a roofing shovel with teeth, a heavy pair of gloves and safety equipment are necessary. Place a thick tarpaulin sheet to collect the old shingle pieces as they are ripped off the roof.

Gardens can be damaged during this tear off process, and it is worth taking some steps to safeguard them beforehand. If the tear off is only going to affect a part of your roof, then it can be a relatively simple and quick job. But if the entire roof needs to be torn off, then a sequential process must be followed. Workers who are engaged in a roof tear off need to wear a safety anchor and take other precautions against falls and injury. Knowing how to use the safety equipment is an important part of installing roof shingles.

If your roofing contractor attempts to do this job all alone, insist upon someone being along to help. While safety equipment can prevent serious injury, they may still leave you in uncomfortable and unusual positions (such as hanging upside down on the side of your house!) and will need help to get untangled from the harness. Having helpers can significantly enhance the safety of this work.

Installing Roof Shingles Over Tar Paper

Rotten parts of the older roof are removed and replaced. Long nails from the old roof deck must be meticulously extracted, or nailed back in. Tar paper is the next to be installed. Adding ice and water dams along the eaves is an important step. Tar paper is laid on with an overhang of around half a foot, extending all the way to the crest of the roof and over the ridge to the other side.

Roof trim and flashing come next. Using nails at regular intervals help securely fasten the roof framing to the wooden base. Vents and chimneys need special flashing and modifications while installing roof shingles. Doing all this correctly will prevent leaky roofs in the future.

How Much Asphalt Roofing Shingles Will You Need?

Before ordering bundles of roof shingles, you will need to make a rough estimate of the roof area. If you read our report about this, you’ll know that it roughly takes 3 bundles of shingles to cover a square of roof. When ordering your asphalt shingle packs, be sure to get a few extra because of the chance of damaging a few during installation.

While installing roof shingles, be sure to assemble and use the right tools. A nailing gun will simplify the task of fixing the shingles to your roof frame. Caulking guns make it easier to crimp and bend roofing caulk. Gloves for construction use protect against accidental injury. Eye and ear protection is important for workers who are constantly exposed to the noise from power equipment. None of these tools are absolutely mandatory for installing roof shingles, but they streamline and simplify the chore and make it easier to do.

How To Go About Installing Asphalt Roof Shingles?

To give some direction and orientation, the contractor will run colored string from one point to another and draw chalk lines that indicate where the rows of shingles will be fixed. Otherwise it is easy to get misled into laying the tiles in a crooked manner which gives a very ugly appearance to the roof. It also affects the degree of protection against water damage, as leaks can occur between imperfectly positioned shingles.

The first row of roofing shingles is important. Typically the work begins at the bottom edge of the roofing deck, with a full shingle placed with “feet up” and covering the gable and starter trim, in alignment with the string or chalk lines drawn up initially. The shingle is nailed into place, affixing each shingle with 4 nails. In high wind areas, this may be increased to 6 nails per shingle for better protection.

The next shingle is installed beside it, taking care that there is no overlap. The successive rows will overlap to provide a watertight seal, so there is no need to have the individual shingles overlap as well. Carry along until the other side of the gable is reached, and the excess (if any) may be trimmed using a knife.

The second row of installing roof shingles involves making a vertical cut of the shingle and removing 6 inches off it. This is to ensure the second row creates horizontal overlap over the first row, as well as vertical overlap that provides a tight seal against the elements. The other rows are done in exactly the same way.

As you approach the ridge, you may need to trim the last row of shingles to fit nicely. Then repeat the process on the other side of the roof, until the shingles meet up at the ridge. If there are any vents in the way, you can install ridge ventilation to assist air outflow and avoid the build up of heat beneath your roof. You can cut out holes in a shingle to accommodate a single vent using a circular saw. Make sure the fit is snug and secure to prevent later leaks and water seepage.

Installing Roof Shingles At The Ridge Cap

Now that you’re at the apex of your roof, you can cover the ridge cap using pre-cut shingles that are shaped correctly, or modify your own shingles by cutting square sections. Start on the side of your roof that faces away from the wind. Bedding the ridge cap in cement can hold it in place and prevent leaks by sealing off gaps. Nails to hold the ridge cap in place need to be half an inch longer than the rest.

So installing roof shingles is a relatively straightforward process. However it requires special tools and training, and a certain degree of expertise and experience, in order to do it safely and well. For more detailed information about how to go about installing roof shingles, explore a few more online resources and consult with a qualified roofing contractor who will guide you right.



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