Learning how to install roof shingles

Let's learn how we can install roof shingles properly to prevent water damage. Shingles are installed with water shed in mind and if done properly will provide an easy gravity flow pathway for rain. Shingles are really inexpensive and easy to install.

how to shingle a roof Before you can begin, you need to decide which type of shingles you plan to use. This is a question that can save a lot of money. You see, there are many different qualities of shingles, but you get what you pay for. If you live in an area that has good weather most of the time, go for the cheaper shingle.

If you live in a place that gets a lot of rain, snow or high winds, you might want to shell out for the better quality shingles.


asphalt shingle


wood shingle


tile shingle


fabricated shingle

If you have a standard roof with only one peak that runs the length of your home, the shingle job will be rather easy. For all other homes, you'll need to prepare more thoroughly. The more 'valleys' you have the closer you'll need to pay attention.

Start by attaching tar paper or roofing felt to the sheathing beginning from the lowest edge and working your way up. Make sure your upper tar paper strips overlap the lower a little. Attach with enough short galvanized nails to hold it in place.

tar paper

Next, attach the flashing to all valleys and around all projecting items such as chimneys, vents, etc. Then begin the shingles at the lowest level working your way up.

Remember, you are creating a watershed environment and not reservoirs. Don't skimp on quality here. Use the appropriate amount of nails for each shingle to avoid wind damage.

asphalt shingles

Let's talk about asphalt shingles. They are the easiest to install and the least expensive to buy. They are also really durable.

how to shingle

shingle nails

It's important to offset the shingles so the tabs don't line up. This makes them shed water more efficiently.


The first row is the starter course. It is just to reinforce the edge of the roof. You can buy starter course shingles or you can just cut the tabs of and use them for the first row.

install shingles

Nail the first row of shingles over the starter course. Make sure the shingle extends beyond the plywood sheathing by at least 1/2-inch so the water drips away from the eave.

nail shingles

Shingles need to be nailed only where the nailing assignment specifies.

roof vents

Roof vent pipes need to be covered so that the rain makes a sweeping motion down the roof and away from the sheathing.

ridge cap

The final step is nailing the ridge cap in place.

You now know how to install roof shingles by yourself.

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