DIY Asphalt Shingle Replacement

A damaged asphalt shingle.
What You'll Need
replacement shingle (should be the same size and material as the rest of your roof)
flat pry bar
a handful of 11/4-inch roofing nails (the exact number you need will need will depend on the size of your shingle, so have at least 10 on hand)

In the past, when roofs were made of materials like wood or slate, repairing a damaged shingle required an expert who knew how to work with unwieldy materials without causing a major accident. With today's asphalt shingles, the situation is considerably easier, and anyone with a bit of time and elbow grease can manage it.

Step 1 — Climb Onto the Roof

Place a ladder against the side of the structure the shingle is on, whether it is a home or shed, and climb up. Make sure the ladder is not wobbling as you climb. (Refer here for our guide to safe ladder usage.)

Step 2 — Locate the Problem Shingle

Find the shingle you need to replace.

Step 3 — Remove the Shingle Directly Above

Now, locate the asphalt shingle directly above the damaged one you wish to repair. The four nails holding this shingle are also in your damaged shingle, so you need to get them out first.

Step 4 — Remove the Shingle Above the Damaged One

Place the pry bar underneath the shingle directly above the damaged one and pry it upward until its four nails pop out 1/4 of an inch. Press down carefully on the upper shingle so that the nails remain sticking up. Use the back end of the hammer to pull them out.

Do not try to pull out each individual nail using the hammer underneath the shingle, as this may tear it.

Step 5 — Remove the Damaged Shingle

Use the pry bar to push up the nails on the damaged shingle. Press it down and pull the nails out using the hammer in the same way you did on the previous shingle. If part of the damaged tile comes detached, you may need to pull out one or more of the nails still in the roof with just your hammer.

Step 6 — Place New Asphalt Shingle

With the damaged piece now loose, you can remove the damaged asphalt shingle and slide your new shingle into place, tucking the top underneath the shingle immediately above it.

Using the hammer, nail down the new shingle with eight nails, trying to get as close to the original positioning as you can.

DIY Tip: When planning your shingle replacement, choose a day with a moderate temperature. If the weather is too cold, the shingles will be brittle and more likely to crack. If it is too hot, they can take on a gummy consistency that will make it hard to lift the nails out.

Make Safety a Priority

The most important thing when repairing a roof, even more than doing the job properly, is to be safe. A fall off even a one story roof can leave a person with severe injuries. Any steps taken on a roof should be slow and deliberate, no matter how used to it you think you may be. The worst you will end up with if you do not repair your roof perfectly is a leak, but if you do not practice proper safety, a leak will be the least of your worries.