How to Lay Shingles

What You'll Need
utility knife
roofing nailer
felt paper
ice and water shield

Many people wonder how to lay shingles on the roof, but in their majority, home owners pay contractors thousands of dollars for a job that is not difficult to do. If you consider working on this project on your own, here is a set of instructions on how to lay shingles.

Step 1–Determine the Number of Shingles Needed

Estimate how many shingles it will take to cover the whole roof area. Start by measuring from the peak to the overhang at the lower edge of the roof. Get the total area in square feet and subtract the area covered by chimneys and other surfaces that do not require shingles. The result will determine how many shingles are needed for the project. Go to a home improvement store to buy a sufficient number of shingles needed to cover the entire roof.

Step 2–Prepare Everything Needed

Make sure to be fully prepared with all necessary tools and materials before you start laying shingles on the roof. Other materials needed include a roofing nailer, felt paper, starter strips, and utility knife.

Step 3–Remove Old Shingles

Replace old shingles if required. Do not lay the new shingles on top of the old ones since it will increase the chances of leaks. Tear the old shingles away from the roof first.

Step 4–Prepare the Roof

Roll out the felt paper on the roof first and secure it using a nailer. Make sure that it is rolled straight. After the felt paper is rolled out, apply ice and water shield to protect the shingles from shifting during the winter season. This will prepare the roof for the laying out of shingles.

Step 5–Start Laying Shingles

Choose an approach to laying the shingles. The easiest way is to lay them row by row making sure that they are installed as straight as possible. Start at the bottom of the roof and work upwards towards the roof peak. Lay a starter course first. To create a starter course, cut the three tabs on the shingle using a utility knife. Lay them in a straight row from one side of the drip edge to the other, nailing each shingle with three nails (two at about 4 inches from each side and one in the middle). The shingle usually has black lines where the nails should be fastened.

The next course or row will go over the starter course. Lay the next course evenly with the tabs reaching just to the edge of the starter course. Fasten the shingles with 4 nails each at about 3/4 of an inch above the shingle cutouts. Lay the next row of shingles in a manner that it just touches the top of the shingle cutouts below. Simply lay each successive row of shingles until the peak of the roof is reached.