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How to Shingle a Roof (The Complete Homeowner’s Guide)

Written by

Leroy Whitt

Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t roofing pros. That doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to have a comprehensive understanding of your roof!

Most houses in the U.S. have shingles on them. But knowing how to handle those shingles? That’s a whole other can of worms. Wondering if it is time to invest in a new roof?

It might be, if you notice that your shingles are:

  • Curling
  • Cracking
  • Missing

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore all you need to know about your shingle roof, including signs that indicate the need for reshingling, the different types of shingles available, a step-by-step guide on how to shingle a roof, and an overview of the costs involved.

Signs that You Should Reshingle Your Roof

  • Age of Shingles: The lifespan of roofing shingles varies depending on the material. Asphalt shingles, the most common type, typically last 20-30 years. If your roof is nearing this age range, it’s a good idea to inspect it for signs of wear.
  • Curling and Buckling: Shingles that are curling at the edges or buckling in the middle are a clear indication that they have reached the end of their useful life. This can be caused by exposure to harsh weather conditions and UV rays.
  • Missing Shingles: If you find shingles missing or scattered around your yard after a storm, it’s time to take action. Missing shingles can lead to water infiltration, causing damage to the underlying structure.
  • Granule Loss: Asphalt shingles have protective granules on their surface. If you notice an excessive amount of granules in your gutters or downspouts, it’s a sign that your shingles are deteriorating.
  • Leaks and Water Stains: Water stains on your ceiling or walls are clear signs of roof leaks. Damaged or missing shingles can allow water to penetrate your roof, leading to costly interior damage.
  • Moss and Algae Growth: If you notice the growth of moss, algae, or lichen on your roof, it can trap moisture and accelerate shingle deterioration. Regular maintenance can help prevent this issue.

Different Types of Roofing Shingles

Before you embark on reshingling your roof, it’s essential to choose the right type of shingle for your needs. Here are some common options:

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for residential roofing due to their affordability and ease of installation. They come in two main varieties: three-tab and architectural (also known as dimensional or laminate). Architectural shingles are thicker, more durable, and often have a textured appearance that mimics wood or slate.
  • Wood Shingles and Shakes: Wood shingles are typically made from cedar, redwood, or pine. They have a natural, rustic appearance and can last 15-25 years with proper maintenance. Wood shakes are thicker and more textured than shingles, offering a unique, rustic look but with a shorter lifespan.
  • Metal Roofing: Metal roofing is known for its longevity and durability. It can last 40-70 years or more and is available in various materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper. Metal roofs are excellent for areas prone to harsh weather conditions and are energy-efficient.
  • Slate Shingles: Slate is a premium roofing material known for its elegance and durability. Properly installed slate roofs can last over a century. However, they are expensive and require professional installation due to their weight and fragility.
  • Clay and Concrete Tiles: Clay and concrete tiles are popular in Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes. They are durable and can last 50-100 years or more. These tiles are heavier, so your roof structure may need additional support.
  • Synthetic Shingles: Synthetic shingles, made from materials like rubber, plastic, or recycled materials, offer a more budget-friendly alternative to traditional materials. They can mimic the appearance of wood, slate, or tile shingles and have a reasonable lifespan.

How to Shingle a Roof: 7 Steps

Now that you’ve decided on the type of shingle you want to use, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of shingling your roof. Please note that this is a general overview, and it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for your specific shingle type.

🔨 Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Roofing shingles
  • Roofing felt underlayment
  • Drip edge
  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing adhesive
  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing cement
  • Flashing material
  • Roofing hammer or nail gun
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar

Step 1: Prepare the Roof

Start by removing the old shingles, flashing, and any damaged roofing materials. Use a pry bar and utility knife to carefully lift and cut away the old shingles. Ensure that the roof deck is in good condition and replace any damaged plywood.

Step 2: Install Drip Edge and Underlayment

Attach a drip edge along the eaves of the roof to prevent water from seeping under the shingles. Next, install roofing felt underlayment over the entire roof deck. Secure it with roofing nails or staples, overlapping the rows to ensure proper water shedding.

Step 3: Begin Shingling

Starting from the bottom edge, lay the first row of shingles, ensuring they overhang the drip edge by about 1/2 inch. Use roofing nails to secure the shingles, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for nailing patterns and placement.

Step 4: Continue Shingling

Continue adding rows of shingles, staggering the seams to create a watertight barrier. Apply roofing adhesive under the tabs of each shingle to ensure a strong bond. Be sure to leave a 1/8-inch gap between each shingle to accommodate expansion and contraction.

Step 5: Install Flashing

Install flashing around roof penetrations, such as chimneys, vents, and skylights, to prevent water infiltration. Use roofing cement to seal the edges of the flashing and ensure a watertight seal.

Step 6: Ridge and Hip Shingles

Finish the roof by installing ridge and hip shingles at the peaks and ridges. These specialized shingles provide additional protection and a finished appearance to your roof.

Step 7: Clean Up

Once you’ve completed shingling the roof, clean up any debris and nails from the work area. Dispose of old shingles and materials properly.

Cost of Reshingling Your Roof

The cost of reshingling your roof can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of shingles, the size and complexity of your roof, labor costs in your area, and any additional work required. On average, here are some approximate costs to consider:

  • Asphalt Shingles: The most affordable option, with costs ranging from $3 to $5 per square foot, including materials and labor.
  • Wood Shingles and Shakes: Mid-range pricing, averaging between $6 to $10 per square foot, including materials and labor.
  • Metal Roofing: Depending on the type of metal and style, costs typically range from $7 to $12 per square foot, including materials and labor.
  • Slate Shingles: A premium option with costs averaging between $10 to $20 or more per square foot, including materials and labor.
  • Clay and Concrete Tiles: Costs can range from $10 to $15 or more per square foot, including materials and labor.
  • Synthetic Shingles: A budget-friendly choice, with costs typically ranging from $4 to $8 per square foot, including materials and labor.

Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and it’s essential to obtain quotes from local roofing contractors for a more accurate assessment of your project’s cost.

Get Help Installing Shingles 👷

When it is time to add new shingles to your roof, getting started can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to! The key is to invest in a reliable roofing contractor who can help guide you through the process of selecting and installing roof shingles. And when you want to work with the best, Whitt’s Quality Roofing is here to lend a helping hand! Whether you are looking to partially replace your existing shingles or are considering a full roof replacement, we can talk you through your options. Contact us today to get started. 

Leroy Whitt

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