How to Shingle the Peak of a Hip Roof

What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Utility knife
Roofing cement
Roofing nails

Hip roofs have four, equally sloped faces that all angle towards the center of the house. Replacing shingles on these roofs can be difficult and dangerous due to the heights, heavy loads, and complex construction details involved. Unless it’s just a small patching job or a replacement, a professional roofer should always be called to do any major repairs. Familiarize yourself with your roof and the best spots to get on and off of it.


Step One: Preparation

First, you will need to get your material. In most cases, it is far easier to visit a roofing-supply company. These suppliers specialize in roofs, and will more than likely be able to match the color and style of shingle you are installing. They can also give better advice with any questions you might have. Call around first. This might save you valuable time and will give you a better idea of what you will need to get the job done right.

Step Two: Getting Started

If you are going to have to do any demolition, you will need to use a flat pry-bar and carefully remove the very top shingles of the peak by wedging the bar under the roofing nails and prying up. Start at the center and work your way toward the edges. Take care that you do not damage the surrounding shingles you wish to save. It also helps to have a designated spot on the ground where you dispose of the shingles. A truck bed, or a strong tarp laid out close to the house helps the clean-up process move faster. Once you have finished the demo and have compiled your materials, you will want to set up your ladder. It should be placed on solid, level ground, and needs to reach at least 3 feet higher than the roofline to more safely access the roof. Once this is done, you will want to pre-cut the shingles for installation. Each shingle should be cut into thirds, where the unseen portion is cut at an angle, so that the exposed portion is a little bit wider. For each shingle, you now have three tabs.

Step Three: Installation

After cutting your peak shingles, assemble your tools and materials as safely, and as closely to your work area as possible. Start on one end of the peak and secure a shingle with two roofing nails. The exposed section of the tab should face out, and there should be one nail on either side of the peak. Work your way towards the middle of the peak from either end being sure to cover the nails with every following shingle you lay. When your shingles practically meet in the middle, you will cut your final tab so that it is only the exposed portion, and fasten with three or four nails.  Use your roofing cement to cover these last nails.  You are finished.


If you attempt to do this type of job, there is one thing you need to remember. Safety is always a number one priority. Make sure that you have a helper. Shingles are heavy and awkward to lift up ladders.  Someone else being there can be extremely helpful and possibly life saving, if something goes wrong. Also, be sure that your ladder is of adequate height and that your roof isn’t too steep. A safety harness attached securely, and a nail apron can also do a lot for making the job safer and easier.