Shingle Roofing Installation – A Do-It-Yourself Project

shingles roofing installation

Shingle roofing installation is a major job, but it’s a project that most do-it-yourselfers can take on with careful preparation and proper safety precautions. Fall is the ideal time for roof work as it offers perfect temperatures and fewer rain delays. First, lay out a course of shingles and nail them using 4 nails per shingle or 6 for high wind areas. Then install a ridge cap with a 5-inch reveal.

Materials

Roofing shingles are one of the most versatile roofing materials in Roofing Company Colorado Springs. They are available in various colors, shapes, and sizes to suit your home’s aesthetic and budget. They are also fireproof and durable, making them a great choice for a do-it-yourself roofing project.

The most common shingle material is fiberglass-based asphalt shingles. This type of shingle is easy to install, affordable and lasts 20 to 60 years. Asphalt shingles are also recyclable in some areas.

Fiberglass based shingles are made of multiple layers of fiberglass or matboard with an asphalt core and coated on both sides with mineral granules that help protect against sun damage. The mineral granules are also fire resistant and help prevent algae and mildew growth.

Wood shingles are another popular roofing material option. They are typically made from cedar, which has natural resistance to rot, or other rot-resistant species such as cypress, redwood or pine. They can be either hand-split or sawn off the logs, with the former providing a rougher, textured appearance and the latter providing a more refined look.

The basic three-tab composition shingles are the most economical, while the architectural asphalt shingles have a dimensional appearance and are more expensive. Both types of shingles are durable and attractive, but are susceptible to wind damage.

Fibre cement shingles are also available and are similar to wood shingles but provide superior strength. They are a good choice for a flat roof and are designed to resist fire, hail, and heavy snow. They are not as durable as wood shingles and can be susceptible to mold or mildew, but they are more lightweight and do not require regular maintenance.

Laying Felt Paper

When shingle roofing installation begins, the first step is to lay roof felt paper. Also known as tar paper or felt underlayment, this traditional material keeps rain from seeping into the wood sheathing beneath. It’s a requirement when installing shingles because the wood decking isn’t waterproof by itself.

Standard tar paper is not as water resistant as synthetic models, but it will protect the sheathing from moisture until shingles are installed. It’s soft, however, and will tear easily if exposed to the elements over long periods of time. It’s fine to use this as a temporary protective layer while the house is under construction, but if it’s left on for an extended amount of time without shingles it may rip or become damaged and lead to leaks.

Felt underlayment is made of several layers of woven paper that are saturated with coal-tar pitch. These layers are then pressed together and wound into a roll for sale to roofing contractors. Most local codes and manufacturers require 15-pound or 30-pound felt. The latter is a bit heavier and more durable than the former, but both will keep rain from penetrating the sheathing.

Begin laying the felt at one bottom corner of the roof. Tack it securely in place and then start rolling out about 10 feet of paper at a time. Fasten the paper with construction staples or roofing nails with plastic washer heads, putting fasteners about every 8 inches.

Overlap the end of a roll with the beginning of the next row to ensure a clean and continuous feel. Most rolls of roof felt have guidelines stenciled into them to help you apply the material in straight, parallel lines. This is an important detail when laying the underlayment because you’ll be using the same lines (eave and ridge) to align the flashings and shingles.

Nails

When nailing shingles, make sure to use the right nails for the job. Using the wrong kind can weaken the roof and possibly allow water to leak in. It is important to follow the application instructions that come with the shingle, and to nail the correct number of nails per shingle. Many shingle warranties require at least four nails be used, and six nails in high wind areas.

There are two types of roofing nails available: smooth shank and ring shank. Typically, roofing contractors use the ring-shank variety. The ring-shank nails have connected rings around the body that provide superior withdrawal resistance during high winds. These are also often required by local building codes in high wind areas.

Regardless of the nail type, they should always be galvanized steel to resist corrosion and rust. There are two types of galvanized steel: hot-dipped and electro-galvanized. Hot-dipped galvanized nails are dipped in melted zinc to create a strong coating. Electro-galvanized nails are dipped in a less powerful solution, which gives them a more modest but still effective zinc coating.

Another way to prevent leaks in a shingle roof is by applying self-adhesive waterproof underlayment, which is usually sold at roofing supply companies or home centers. This will help prevent water from seeping under lower shingles during rain or snow and dripping into the house.

When using a nail gun to install shingles, be careful not to accidentally drive the nails through the underlayment. You may be able to tell if you have done this, but it could lead to leaks in the future. Also, if you are installing architectural shingles (which use an architectural layer atop the solid shingle) you will need to use nails that are half an inch longer than regular shingles because the architectual layers are thicker.

Nail Placement

As you begin to lay shingles, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s nailing instructions (which are typically printed on the shingle wrapper). Some roofers choose to nail the first row of shingles close together while others prefer to spread out their nails more as they continue down the rows. Whatever the case may be, it’s always important to nail down the shingles correctly because this will ensure that they remain firmly in place during the upcoming harsh weather conditions.

One of the most common roofing goofs is improper nail placement. When nails are driven too high into a shingle, it can cause them to become loose and eventually blow off the roof. This problem is especially prevalent when using an air compressor-powered nail gun to fasten shingles.

Nail placement varies slightly among manufacturers and styles of shingles, but all manufacturers require that nails be placed at or below the sealant strip. It’s also important to remember that when nailing strip shingles, you must hit the bottom of the shingle with the nail and the top of the sealant strip as well. Failure to do this can void your roof’s warranty.

The most common method for shingle installation is step shingling, where the shingles are installed in “steps” or rows. Start the first row 12 inches up from the eave, and then mark each 5-inch increment all the way up the roof with a chalk line. If the roof is sloping, you may want to install a plywood jig for horizontal alignment.

When you get to any roof valleys, you can either shingle up to the edge of the pipe or cut out part of the rubber flange so it can be slipped over the pipe. Be sure to use roofing cement to ensure a watertight seal around the pipe.

Finishing Touches

As you complete the shingle installation process, it’s important to keep in mind that every roofer has a slightly different method. For example, some people like to use a grid pattern for nailing down each course (row) of shingles to help ensure proper alignment and cover. Others prefer to use the stair-step method, which distributes shingles from different bundles more evenly.

Whatever technique you choose, it’s a good idea to clean up your work area often to avoid damaging plants or creating tripping hazards. Also, if you have any fragile plants near the house, consider covering them with sturdy tarps to protect them from dropped debris and tools. Finally, it’s best to install shingles on a day with dry weather to prevent moisture from forming under the new shingles.

Before starting the first full course of shingles, lay out the first row of flashing and shingle underlayment. This first row is called the starter course or strip, and it should have a half-inch overhang of the drip edge. It’s also a good idea to apply a layer of roofing cement over the eave end of the starter strip.

Once the first piece of flashing is installed, install a shingle over it and secure it with nails. Be sure to hammer the nails at least 2 inches away from each end and 5 inches vertically, so they are not exposed.

Repeat this step for the rest of the roof, working up and down each slope. At the top of each slope, you’ll want to install hip and ridge shingles for additional protection and visual appeal. If you’re not familiar with installing these, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional.