How to Install 3 Tab Shingles on Barn-Style Roof

Written by will conley Google
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How to Install 3 Tab Shingles on Barn-Style Roof
A barn-style roof is characterised by slope changes. (yellow barn image by Cathy Kovarik from

Three-tab shingles are the standard, tar-backed, asphalt-covered shingles covering most residential roofs. A barn-style roof, or Gambrel roof, is one that includes a slope change (or multiple slope changes) on each side of the roof. When shingling this type of roof using three-tab shingles, you can proceed as you would with a regular roof. Choose a warm summer day to complete this job, as three-tab shingles are more flexible and easier to work with when warm. As you lay courses of shingles up the roof and encounter slope changes, just let the three-tab shingles sit up like cowlicks. The heat will eventually lay the shingles down, every time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Three-tab asphalt shingles
  • Nail gun
  • Razor blade

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  1. 1

    Determine the number of squares of three-tab shingles you will need for covering the barn-style roof. A "square" of shingles is usually three bundles, but is sometimes four or five bundles if the shingles are manufactured to one of the smaller standard sizes. In any case, a square is enough to cover a 10- by 10-feet area, or 100 square feet of roof. Measure and add the square footage of every section of the roof and add 5 per cent of this total to compensate for waste. Divide the grand total by 100 to determine the number of squares you will need.

  2. 2

    Lay the first three-tab shingle at an outer corner of the lowest sloping face of the barn-style roof. Use a nail gun to secure the shingle to the decking with three nails through the upper, non-decorative portion of the shingle.

  3. 3

    Lay the next three-tab shingle next to the first one. Secure it (and all ensuing shingles) with the nail gun as you did in Step 1. Continue laying shingles end to end until you reach the other end of the roof face. Trim the last shingle to fit by scoring the tar side with a razor blade and snapping the shingle in your hands.

  4. 4

    Trim the first shingle of the second tier in half and lay it so that it overlaps the first tier according to the manufacturer's specifications. (The shingles have little ridges on their undersides that make it easy to determine how much to overlap.) Lay the rest of the shingles of the second tier, trimming the last shingle to fit.

  5. 5

    Lay the third course starting with a whole three-tab shingle. Continue laying courses of shingles, alternating between starting with a half three-tab shingle and a whole one.

  6. 6

    When you reach a slope change in the barn style roof, just keep going as normal.

  7. 7

    When you reach the ridge (horizontal "peak") of the barn style roof, you are done with the three-tab shingles. Cap off the ridge with ridge caps (square shingles).

Tips and warnings

  • It is not generally recommended to use a propane torch or heat gun to heat the three-tab shingles at the slope changes, as this tends to damage the integrity of the shingles and voids their warranty. Just let the sun make the shingles lay down naturally over time.

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