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Tips for Installing Architectural Roofing Shingles

All materials will eventually degrade over time. When exposed to extreme weather and elements, your roof is one of the most vulnerable components. Whenever you encounter any roofing issues, it might get out of hand if no professionals are involved.  

When it comes to roofing shingles, there are various ways how you can approach installing new ones to your property’s top structure, depending on your requirements. It’s best to have a professional working with you when you attempt any tasks related to installing new shingles. However, if you genuinely can’t for any reason, you might want to arm yourself with these tips:  

Roofing shingles architecture
Fig: Roofing shingles architecture

1. Check if You Have the Correct Number of Required Shingles  

Measure the dimensions (length and width) of each roof segment, then multiply them to get the total area. To get the required number of squares, add the areas of each part together and divide by 100. Multiply this amount by three to figure out how many packages you’ll need.  

Covering 100 square feet typically requires three bundles of shingles (9.29 square meters). Asphalt shingle “bundles” are essentially sealed containers of asphalt shingles. The term comes from wooden shingles tied up with wire in bundles. Take precise measurements of your roof and purchase accordingly.  

2. Lay the Shingle Across the Roof and Measure Its Length  

The shingles at the bottom row must extend beyond the roof’s border. To handle this situation on a wood shingle roof, you’d have to cut those on edge to form a straight line. It will aid in determining how you will lay out the shingles across the span of the roof. The average length of asphalt shingles is 3 feet (91.4 centimeters). You’ll have a half piece on one end of each row if the breadth of your roof isn’t an even number of the shingle’s length.  

3. Remove Old Flashings and Shingles  

Remove the ridge covers or caps and pry up the nails. It’s okay if you can’t get all of them initially; you’ll have the opportunity to remove them afterward. Remove the metal flashing from the roof’s valleys, vents, and chimneys. Expect damaged lashing, particularly in the valleys. Many roofers will preserve some of the flashings in good condition, but you should probably get rid of them if you have the opportunity.  

Begin removing the shingles from the top that is farthest from the garbage receptacle or the corner where you wish to deposit the shingles. To swiftly remove them, use a roofing shovel or a garden fork; for more comprehensive work, utilize the hammer method and do it manually.   

During this operation, ensure the building’s walls and windows by placing a massive sheet of plywood against the property below where you’re working. Otherwise, you risk breaking a window or causing siding damage.  

4. Clean The Roof  

Clean the roof as thoroughly as you can. Remove any nails that haven’t come up yet. In the sheathing, reattach any loose boards. Check the sheathing for any damage or rotten boards, and replace any damaged ones.  

5. Install the New Flashing and Underlayment  

Utilize water barrier and sticky back ice as an underlay where ice dams, twig and leaf dams, and valleys. Replace the flashing with new ones, then nail “drip-edge” metal flashing along the roof deck’s bottom edge, close to the gutters.   

You’ll also require rake edge flashing for the sides of the roof. Ensure that the installation of your flashing is around chimneys and walls. If you need to access the roof area, it is advisable to utilize service stairs. A turn-back flashing and step flashing are two different types of flashing.  

Overlay the roof with felt-paper, asphalt, or a specific waterproof underlay, like a self-healing membrane. Some roofers would utilize 15-pound (6.8 kg) of roofing paper, which is a good option, but a self-sealing membrane with a rainfall screen is ideal. Attach this felt down, starting at the bottom of your roof and working your way up.   

It must be at least 3 inches between each row. To avoid ripping the paper. Use a lot of staples and work cautiously. When you’re fastening it to the roof deck, use a lot of nails and if exposure to the wind is a high possibility before you place the shingles, use “tin caps” beneath staples.  

6. Select the Type of Starter Course You’ll Utilize  

If you purchased or will be cutting your starter shingles to suit the project, you can utilize narrow tab-less beginner shingles. Some individuals like the convenience of pre-cut starter shingles minus the tabs since they only have to buy one type of shingle and trim it to suit.  

7. Create a Guide Using Chalk Lines  

Draw a line from the roof’s left to right border as a reference, with the chalk line visible directly above each course. According to the shingle width throughout the top, proceed to chalk further guidelines in at least four rows. Ensure the lines on the felt paper run in a square pattern as you’re laying it down.  

Depending on the shingles type and the roof you’re currently working on, you may need to draw a chalk guide starting 7 inches (17.8cm) from the bottom roof edge. In either scenario, apply the starting course’s glue strip to the rake edges and the drip edge.  


Roof maintenance is a form of investment and safety precaution. 

It is never a terrible idea to safeguard your interests by taking preventive measures. However, it is not advisable to do the tasks yourself because it may result in a more costly repair if you don’t do it properly. Therefore, it is always advisable to have a licensed expert work with you to ensure the project’s success.  

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1 thought on “Tips for Installing Architectural Roofing Shingles

  1. Wow, I never knew that there were many more layers to roofing than just the top of the house. Underlayment and flashing sound like complicated parts that might need the help of an expert to get right, and I shouldn’t try to DIY if I want to avoid a faulty installation. Once I find a roofer in the area, I’ll make sure I ask them for some help with new shingles.

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