How to Roof Guide - Asphalt Shingles Installation

Roofing Inspection:

In order to install a new roof, it is recommended that your current roof be inspected for rotten wood damage prior to applying a new layer of asphalt shingle. Look for obvious signs of wood damage such as saggy and uneven roofing surface. If you notice that there are areas potentially affected by the rotten wood underneath the shingle, then the tear off will be necessary. If your current roof has more than one existing layer, then tear off is recommended because, applying a third level of shingle will put unnecessary heavy load on your roof structure.

Tear Off:

If you found the signs of obvious roof damage due to prolonged leaks, then the tear off will expose all that may be hidden underneath the old layer of shingle. In order to perform a tear off you will need, stripping tools, a tarp, a good pair of gloves, and you may need some safety equipment. Open up the tarp and lay on the ground where the old shingle will be falling. It is a good idea to secure the tarp with some heavy objects so it does not get blown away by the wind. If you have flowers where the old shingle will be falling, then you may want to protect them with some type of garden table. The tarp would go over such a table or structure, which will help ensure that your flowers will survive the tear off.

If you are going to strip a small roof such as a small shed or garage then, you may be able to do it standing on the ground or on a small ladder. If you are planning to tear off the roof on the house then you will have to start at the ridge line, and work your way down. Keep in mind that whenever you work on the roof, it is imperative that you safety yourself with an anchor that is secured with long screws going through the studs on both sides of the ridge. Make sure that you are properly instructed on how to use the anchor and fall arrest equipment.

Do not work alone on the roof. Fall arrest equipment may prevent you from falling by observing your fall, but it may leave you hanging on the side of your house. There will be no way for you to get out of your harness, unless somebody helps you. Somebody needs to be there with you in order to call for help.

Installing the tar paper and Ice and Water:

Having completed the tear off, you will want to inspect your roof for possible damage and replace any rotten wood or plywood. After that you need to get rid off all the lose nails on the roofing deck. You can either nail them in or take them out with the hammer. Once your roofing deck is clean and free of debris, you can start installing tar paper. It is also recommended that you install one layer of ice and water on the eaves, especially in the northern climate and if you are working on a roof that is not very steep. Run one layer of ice and water along the eave. Then run the tar paper using 6 inch overlap. You will overlap ice and water by six inches and continue in the same fashion until you get all the way to the ridge.

Installing the roof trim:

Install the eave and gable flashing along the eaves and the gable of the roof. Nail it in every 10 to 12 inches on center. Prepare any necessary pipe vents and flashing that you are going to be using during the installation.

Estimating Asphalt shingle:

You will need to accurately measure your roof to find out how many bundles of asphalt shingles you will need. Use How to estimate a roof guide that teaches you the basic ways to measure and estimate your roof.

Installing the asphalt shingle:

You will need the following tools before you can install asphalt shingle roof:

1. Nailing gun with special oil grease to make sure that it functions properly.

2. Air Compressor with properly working air hoses

3. Nailing gun nail coils, caulking gun and roofing caulk, gloves, eye and hearing protection, hammer, blade knife and a color string.

Note: If you do not have the roofing gun or compressor, you may apply asphalt shingle, but it will take you longer because, you will have to manually put each nail in using the hammer.

How to apply shingle on a roof:

Grab a color string and run some vertical and horizontal lines that will help you insure that you are laying the shingle in straight line fashion. This step is critical if you care about appearance and water tightness of the roof. Now you are ready to install your first shingle. For the purposes of this DIY roof installation guide we are working with conventional asphalt shingle. Place a full shingle at the bottom left edge of the roofing deck making sure that it slightly covers the gable and the starter trim and that the shingle is horizontally and vertically aligned with the color strings that you are using as guide. Nail the shingle in just above the middle line. Use a minimum of four roofing nails per shingle (Use six nails per shingle in high wind areas). Once the first shingle is in place, position your next shingle right next to it with no overlap. Make sure that your next shingle is also properly aligned along the horizontal string and nail it in. Thus, you will finish the first raw of shingle in the same manner until you reach the other side of the gable where you will cut the excess shingle using blade knife.

Starting your second row of shingle:

You will need to make a vertical cut to remove 6 inches off of your first shingle used for the second raw of shingle. By reducing the length of your first shingle, (used for the second raw) you attain horizontal and vertical overlap, which ensures the proper protection and water tightness of your roof. Position the shorter pre-cut shingle right over your first raw of shingles lining up the bottom edge of the shingle with the top tabs of the shingle in the first row. Continue in the same fashion cutting off 6 inches from the first shingle used in every other raw.

Thus, you will be using a full shingle when you get up to the 7th raw of shingle. You will find it easier to lay the shingles in diagonal fashion rather than doing it raw by raw. You can now start at the far right of your first raw of shingle and work your way up and across to the left until you reach the ridge line. You will need to trim your last row of shingle to fit nicely to the ridge line. You will then finish all the rows of shingle across to the right and trim it so that the shingle is overlapping the right gable by a minimum of 1/2 inch or using the gable trim as a guide as you did on the starting side.

Now you can start working on the second side of your roof using the same exact techniques until you get all the way to the top of the ridge line.

Installing the ridge ventilation:

If your roof has soffit vents or adequate intake vents, you can install the ridge ventilation which will help the outflow of air and prevent the excessive heat built-up.

Necessary Tools:

You will need a circular saw with remodeling blade designed to cut through the wood that may contain nails, chalk line or color string, adequate hearing and eye protection.

Marking the area for the ridge vent cut:

You will want to leave out at least a foot on each side of the gable and on either side of the chimney. Measure about 1 1/4 inch down from the peak of the roof on both end and sides of the roof. Run and snap the chalk line leaving clear lines that you will use as a guide to cut in a ridge vent.

Set your circular saw depth to the thickness of your roof sheeting so that you do not cut through the rafters. Cut on both sides of the ridge along the marked lines. You will end up getting about 1/2 inch wide opening on either side of the ridge board.

Roll out the ridge vent filling up the opening created, adjust it as needed to make it fit nicely and secure it with long nails as recommended by the manufacturer.

Installing ridge cap shingles:

You can use pre-cut shingle squares or you can make your own by simply cutting square sections from your shingle. Begin with a double layer

You can either buy cap shingles as pre-cut squares or make your own by cutting square sections from standard shingles. Start installing the ridge cap at the end of the roof that faces away from the winds. Use a double cap layer bedded in roof cement for your first ridge cap. Overlap each cap by half. Secure the ridge cap with roofing nails penetrating the ridge vent and roof sheeting. Note that for the ridge cap and the hip sections of the roof you have to use nails that are 1/2 inch longer than conventional roofing nails.

Now your roof is shingled, properly ventilated and protected.

Date Created: 10-Sep-2008
Last Updated: 17-Mar-2014
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