How to Use Roofing Paper How to Use Roofing Paper

What You'll Need
Safety attire
Roofing paper
Roofing knife
Roofing nails with plastic cap
Staple gun and staples (optional)

Applying roofing paper is an essential part of successful shingle application. It acts as a protective second lining from water and snow to keep the moisture out and also provides additional insulation for your house. Using roofing paper is something you can easily do yourself, as it is not a very hard or complicated task. However, it will be even easier if you have another person to help you out. Since you will be on the roof, it is important to take all necessary safety precautions. Wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, safety gloves, goggles and a helmet in the unfortunate event that you should fall off the roof.

Step 1 - Measure Your Roof

Place your ladder in a firm place on the ground, climb up and measure the surface of your roof in square feet to make sure that you purchase enough paper to cover both sides.

Step 2 - Unroll Roofing Paper

Unroll the paper towards the peak of the roof by starting at the lowest outside edge. Always unroll from bottom to top, and you should make sure that you leave a small amount of paper that hangs over the side of the peak. By leaving an overhang, you can be sure that water won't get in and damage the wood layer of the roof. Continue to roll the paper up the roof and over to the opposite side. It is helpful if you have another person to aid you in this task. At the peak of the roof, fold the paper over and use your staple gun or nail it to the downward slope of the opposite side of the roof.

Step 3 - Secure the Paper

Use the roofing nails or a staple gun to secure the paper to the roof around the outside edges and bottoms. Nails should be about 12 inches apart. If the weather is windy or you are not handy with a hammer, you may opt to use a staple gun to secure the paper to the roof. Of course both a hammer and nails and a staple gun can be used for the most effective fastening.

Step 4 - Unroll The Remaining Paper

Overlap the first section of roofing paper by about 2 inches as you unroll the next pass. Most roofing papers have a line on the back that indicates the 2 inch mark. Again, about 12 inches apart, nail down the second section of paper where it overlaps with the first. Continue to unroll and secure each section of paper until the whole roof is covered. Depending on your preference, you can lay paper from right to left or left to right.

Step 5 - Trim Excess Paper

Use your roofing knife to trim off any excess paper from the last section of paper that you lay on the roof. Once all paper has been laid and secured, you are now ready to begin installing shingles.

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