How to lay asphalt roof shingles

Written by serena brown
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You need a new roof and have decided to lay the asphalt roof shingles yourself. Start by measuring your roof. Multiply the length and width of your roof, then divide that number by 100. Add 10 per cent to the number and that is how many asphalt shingles you'll need. Purchase asphalt shingles in whatever style you like along with other supplies you'll need, then follow the instructions for laying them.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Shingles
  • Ridge shingles
  • Asphalt roofing cement
  • Hammer
  • Flashing material
  • Chalk line
  • Tin snips
  • Level
  • Ladder
  • Work gloves
  • Roofing nails
  • No.15 felt roofing
  • Heavy-duty staple gun
  • No. 90 mineral surface roofing
  • Pry bar

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  1. 1

    Check for damage. Repair any damage to your roof's structure before laying any new asphalt roof shingles. If you are putting new shingles over existing ones, use a pry bar to remove any loose nails or shingles. You'll also have to remove shingles if there are more than three layers of them already on the house.

  2. 2

    Put down felt if it's missing where the new shingles will go. Felt is placed between asphalt shingles and the roof's wooden structure. Attach the roofing felt with staples and a heavy-duty staple gun. If you are applying more than one row of shingles, overlap each section of felt by 2 inches.

  3. 3

    Put roofing cement on back and lay the asphalt shingle on the felt. Use nails across the centre of the shingle to attach it to the roof. Nail directly down, not at an angle, to prevent cutting the shingle. If you are working on the edge of the eaves, let the shingles extend over the edge by 5/8 inch. If you are placing multiple asphalt shingles, place them evenly against each other. The cut-out part on the bottom of the shingle should be placed over the centre of the shingle directly below it.

  4. 4

    Apply shingles to valleys, chimneys and vent pipes. If you are laying an entirely new roof of asphalt shingles, you may want to do valleys first. This is the part of the roof where two sections meet at an angle. Put down mineral surface roofing first, then an 18-inch-wide strip of flashing. Nail the outer edges of the flashing and use cement on the centre edges. Put a 36-inch-wide strip of roofing felt over the flashing and staple it down. Cut asphalt shingles to fit the valley and use cement and nails to attach them. For chimneys and vent pipes, cut out flashing to go around these areas. The flashing must extend out about 6 inches from the pipe or chimney. You'll need additional 7-by-10-inch strips of flashing to go against the sides of the chimney.

  5. 5

    Secure the flashing with cement and nails. Lay asphalt shingles over the flashing and attach shingles with cement and nails.

Tips and warnings

  • To avoid slipping, wear rubber shoes and pick up loose nails and shingles.
  • Be careful working around any power lines and antennas near your roof.

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