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How to Measure a Roof For Shingles (Homeowner’s Guide)

Written by

Leroy Whitt

Asphalt shingles are a reliable roof material that homeowners across America have used for decades. Despite that, over time, asphalt shingles can wear down, leading to potential leaks and damage to your property.

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your roof, it’s essential to know when it’s time for a replacement and how to measure your roof properly for shingles. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover:

  • The signs that indicate it’s time to replace your asphalt shingles
  • The importance of accurate measurements
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to measure your roof
  • When it’s best to call on a professional

Stop wasting time Googling “how to measure roof for shingles” and start learning the facts, below!

measuring the beams of a roof

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Asphalt Shingles

Before you start measuring your roof for shingles, it’s crucial to determine whether it’s time for a replacement. Here are some common signs that indicate your asphalt shingles may need to be replaced:

  • Age of Shingles: Asphalt shingles have a typical lifespan of 20-30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles and the local climate. If your shingles are approaching or have exceeded their expected lifespan, it’s time to consider a replacement.
  • Curling or Buckling Shingles: Check for shingles that are curling at the edges or buckling in the middle. These signs indicate that the shingles have lost their structural integrity and need replacing.
  • Missing Shingles: If you notice missing shingles, it’s a clear sign that your roof is compromised. Missing shingles can expose your home to leaks and should be addressed promptly.
  • Granule Loss: Asphalt shingles are coated with granules that protect them from UV rays and add durability. If you find granules accumulating in your gutters or see bald spots on the shingles, it’s a sign that they are deteriorating.
  • Algae or Moss Growth: The growth of algae or moss on your shingles can not only be unsightly but also damage the shingles. It’s a sign that your roof may be retaining moisture and needs attention.
  • Leaks or Water Stains: Water stains on your ceiling or walls are clear indicators of roof leaks. Inspect your attic for signs of water damage and address any leaks promptly.
  • Sagging Roof Deck: A sagging roof deck can be a severe problem that requires immediate attention. It often indicates structural issues with the roof and could lead to a collapse if left unaddressed.

Why Measuring Your Roof Properly Is Important

Accurate measurements are crucial when it comes to roofing projects. Whether you’re replacing shingles, installing a new roof, or making repairs, precise measurements ensure that you purchase the right amount of materials and avoid costly mistakes. Here’s why measuring your roof properly is so important:

  • Cost-Efficiency: Accurate measurements prevent you from overordering or underordering materials. Ordering too much can be a waste of money, while ordering too little can lead to delays and increased costs.
  • Time Savings: Proper measurements help contractors plan the project more efficiently, saving both time and labor costs. This ensures your project is completed within the expected timeframe.
  • Safety: Accurate measurements help identify any structural issues or damage to your roof that may not be apparent otherwise. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent accidents and costly repairs down the line.
  • Warranty Compliance: Many roofing material warranties require proper installation according to manufacturer specifications. Accurate measurements ensure compliance with these requirements and help protect your warranty.

How to Measure Your Roof for Shingles in 6 Steps

man with tape measure sits on roof

Now that you’ve determined it’s time to replace your roof shingles and understand the importance of accurate measurements let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to measure your roof for shingles:

Step 1: Safety First

Before you begin, ensure your safety by using proper safety equipment such as a sturdy ladder, harnesses, and non-slip shoes. Always have someone available to assist you or be aware of your work.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Tools

You’ll need a few tools to accurately measure your roof:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen and paper or a digital device for note-taking
  • Calculator
  • Roof pitch gauge (optional)

Step 3: Divide Your Roof into Sections

Break your roof down into simpler geometric shapes to make measurements more manageable. Common roof shapes include rectangles, triangles, and trapezoids. For complex roofs, consider hiring a professional.

Step 4: Measure Each Section

For each section, measure the length and width to find the area:

  • Measure the length of the roof edge from eave to ridge.
  • Measure the width from the roof’s highest point to the eave.
  • Multiply the length and width to get the square footage of each section.

Step 5: Account for Roof Pitch

Roof pitch, or roof slope, affects the amount of material needed. Use a roof pitch gauge to measure the pitch accurately. Most asphalt shingle manufacturers provide guidelines for how to adjust for pitch when ordering materials.

Step 6: Calculate Total Square Footage

Add up the square footage of all sections to find the total square footage of your roof. This is the number you’ll use when purchasing shingles.

Part 4: When to Call on a Professional

While measuring your roof for shingles can be a DIY project, there are circumstances where it’s best to call on a professional roofer:

  • Complex Roof Structures: If your roof has multiple angles, dormers, or other complex features, a professional can ensure accurate measurements and a proper assessment of any structural issues.
  • Safety Concerns: If your roof is steep or high, it’s safer to leave the measurements to experienced roofers who have the necessary safety equipment and training.
  • Hidden Damage: Professionals can identify hidden damage or issues with your roof deck, underlayment, or insulation that may not be apparent to a DIY homeowner.
  • Warranty Requirements: If you have a warranty on your roofing materials, the manufacturer may require professional installation and measurements to maintain warranty coverage.

Work With a Professional Roofing Contractor

Measuring your roof for shingles is a critical step in maintaining the integrity of your home’s protection. By recognizing the signs that it’s time to replace your asphalt shingles, understanding the importance of accurate measurements, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a successful roofing project. If you encounter a complex roof or have safety concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a professional roofer to assist you in the process.

Looking for a roofing contractor you can trust with your roof replacement? Whitt’s Quality Roofing is here to help! Contact us today to get started!

Leroy Whitt

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