Installing Three-Tab Shingles

What You'll Need
Hammer or nail gun
Roofing Cement
Measuring Tape
Carpenter's apron
Chalk line

Three tab shingles are the most common type of shingles installed today. Most three tab shingles come with warranties that last as long as 50 years, and adding three tab shingles to your home is a very easy DIY project. Just choose a sunny day and pick up a few basic tools.

Step One – Measuring and Making Calculations

First, you'll need to determine how many squares of three tab shingles you will need to purchase. A square of shingles is equal to about 100 square feet of roof space.

Add up the total square footage of your roof, and divide by 100. This will be the number of proving squares needed. In addition, add about 10 percent to accommodate for mistakes and serve as a cushion.

Step Two – Prepare Start Row of Shingles

Take enough shingles to create one row across the roof of your house, and then cut out the tabs of each of those shingles.

Step Three - Measure the Roof Line

Measure your roof. Mark a chalk line from the top to the bottom in the exact middle of the roof.

Step Four - Lay the Start Row of Shingles

Now, start laying down the start row of shingles using the ones you just cut. Make sure to center the first shingle on the chalk line. The uncut side of the shingles will need to overhang the edge of the roof by about 5/8 of an inch.

After you make sure the first shingle is perfectly aligned, use 4 nails to secure it in place. Hammer one nail about 1 inch from each side, and then place the other 2 nails about equal distances from each other in the middle of the shingle.

Continue working your way across the roof, laying down the start line of shingles. Always be sure that your line is perfectly straight and that the shingles butt up against each other. When you reach the edge of the roof or a ridge, cut the shingle size down to fit as needed.

Step Five - Lay the First Full Row of Shingles

Next, lay your first full single row of shingles by aligning the shingles on the centerline of the roof. The tabs should be facing down and aligned with the bottom of the starter line of shingles.

Again, use four nails to install the three tab shingles. Place two nails about 2 inches above the tabs with one near each side, and two nails about equal distances from each other and the outside nails. Continue laying the first full row of shingles along the edge of the start row of tab-less shingles.

Step Six – Second Full Row of Shingles

Now, begin with second row of shingles. Place a shingle just to the left of right of the chalk line in the middle of the roof. The tabs of the second row should lay directly in the center of the gap of the tabs on the previous row. Continue on until the row is finished.

Step Seven – Alternate Rows

Keep laying rows of shingles starting at the center chalk line. Alternate by placing the first shingles directly on the line and then placing them just to the side of the line.

Step Eight – Finishing Up

Once you have completed laying the singles, add the ridge caps to the roof.

Installing three tab shingles on the roof is not difficult, but it is complex, tedious work. For safety, always make sure that you're working with another person who can watch out for you and give you a hand.