How to Lay Shingles on a Pitched Roof

What You'll Need
Round plastic cap nails
Electro galvanized roofing nails
Roll valley roofing material
Shingle scraper
Roof cement
Angled Roofing Brackets
Safety harness
Ridge cap anchor
Temporary anchor
2x6-inch board
Safety glasses

If you do your own household repairs, be especially careful when laying shingles on a pitched roof. Few things are more annoying than a leaky roof, and the stains it might leave on ceilings make a home virtually unmarketable. No buyer or new homeowner will want to inherit such a costly repair. Follow the steps below to effectively lay shingles on your pitched roof.

Step 1 – Installing Safety Equipment

You must protect yourself when planning to work on a sloped roof. That means taking special safety precautions to avoid a fall. You will have to set up a system of anchors and lifelines that can be shifted as necessary as you complete portions of the roof. You will begin at the eaves and work up toward the peak of the house. Ridge cap anchors should be installed on each end of the house with the lifeline connected to both. You will wear a safety harness hooked to the lifeline while laying the shingles.

You will also need a pair of fixed angle roof brackets as braces for a 2x6-inch board to provide a stationary surface from which to work. Hammer nails halfway into the sheeting at various intervals up the slope of the roof. The angle brackets will be hooked on these as your work progresses up toward the peak. Keep safety glasses and gloves handy for use as the work progresses.

Step 2 – Preparing the Decking

Use a shingle scraper or shovel to remove old shingles (if the old roof is being replaced). Start at the lowest part of the roof to check the existing decking and felt for potential leaks. If the sheeting shows through, use felt and plastic cap nails for patches. Wear the safety harness connected to the lifeline to move along the roof and shift the angled brackets to raise the brace to higher levels. When the sheeting is patched and well covered, move the angle brackets back to the lowest level to begin laying shingles.

Step 3 – Installing New Shingles

Leave about 1½-inch overhanging the edges of the roof, and nail the shingles one row at a time moving upward. Keep the harness and lifeline snug, and move the angle brackets higher with each few rows. Use metal flashing around sewer vent pipes and clean-outs. Place roll roofing through any valleys in the roof, and use roofing cement to seal the shingles above it. Alternate the notches in the shingles for the proper appearance.

At the top, lap the shingles over one another along the peak of the roof. Seal the nails with cement. The acute angle of the roof has one big advantage: it keeps water flowing, so leaks are less common.