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Learn How To Shingle A Roof With These Simple Steps

By on December 1, 2023

As a DIY enthusiast or a budding roofer, you’ll want to learn how to shingle a roof. The first step you might have already taken is a roof inspection. During that inspection, you may have noticed some deterioration in the quality of your shingles. You could enact some roof repairs, but chances are it’ll be better to complete a full roof replacement.

This isn’t a particularly difficult task to undertake, but you’ll need to know the steps to follow. This guide has you covered. We’ll start by sharing the equipment and materials that you’ll need before getting into the actual step-by-step process.

Roof Shingling Materials and Equipment

Preparation is key here. Get all of the materials and equipment that you might require together before starting any work. Remember that you’ll be working at height, climbing up and down ladders.

Preparation is key here. Get all of the materials and equipment that you might require together before starting any work. Remember that you’ll be working at height, climbing up and down ladders.


    • Roofing shingles
    • Underlayment
    • Roofing nails
    • Roofing felt
    • Drip edge
    • Roofing adhesive
    • Roofing cement


    • Ladder
    • Roofing hammer
    • Roofing knife
    • Chalk line
    • Safety kit

Steps To Shingle A Roof

Your equipment and materials are gathered. Now it’s time for you to learn how to shingle a roof:

Start With The Deck

You need a clean and clear space to work with. Assess your deck and begin to ensure that it is completely clear of any debris. That includes removing existing materials such as nails, shingles, or other elements. If you’ve been regularly undergoing roof cleaning, this task shouldn’t take long.

You want to have a smooth, even surface to work with. If it’s not smooth enough, you’ll open your installation up to cracks and gaps. You might need to get sanding.

Drip Edge Installation

Now that you have a clear deck to work with, you need to get started on the drip edge. Start by cutting the flashing. Create sections of length that will adequately cover the roof edge. Then make sure that they overlap by around 1 inch. Each should overlap to minimize any potential gaps where water could enter the roof space.

When installing the drip edge, start at the eaves and continue along the edge of the roof. The lower edge of the drip edge should overhang each eave by ¼ to ⅜ of an inch. Secure the pieces with nails, leaving around 12 inches between each.

Once you’ve completed the eaves, you can begin with the rake. Eventually, the sections will overlap at the corner of the roof.

Ice Dam Protection Installation

Ice dam protection is a necessary step for properties that are subject to harsh winter conditions. By installing ice dam protection, you ensure that ice dams cannot form on your roof. Ice dams prevent snow and water from draining off your roof and can cause leaks.

You should also check that your roof space has adequate insulation and ventilation so that attic frosting can’t occur. Ventilation is a necessary part of roof cooling and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Underlayment Installation

Start by rolling out the underlayment into workable sections. Start at the bottom of the roof and work toward the top. When you’re installing adjacent sections, ensure there is at least a 6-inch overlap. That’ll give you the best coverage.

Fix the underlayment in place using nails and a hammer or a staple gun. Each fixing should be roughly 12 inches apart. As you fix, remove any wrinkles, creases, or bubbles. This will ensure the shingles can sit flush.

Beginning With A Starter Strip

Your starter strip is your foundation. It’s a row of shingles completed along the roof’s edge. It’ll be your guide for the rest of the installation. Do this row correctly, and you’ll have proper alignment for the rest of the installation.

Cut your starter strip to the right length, and then attach it to the edge of the roof with an extension of around ¼ inch over the drip edge. Shingles need to be attached with roofing nails.

Start Shingling

With the starter strip in place, you can start the shingle installation. Start the process in the bottom corner of the strip. Take a shingle and place it flush with the starter strip. As above, have an overhang of ¼ inch over the drop edge. Then, begin to install the shingles piece by piece.

The manufacturer’s instructions will come into play at this point. They’ll include a guide on how to install the following shingles so that you create the correct pattern.

When you’re securing the shingles with roofing nails, you should ensure you don’t hammer the nails too close to the edge of the shingle. This can cause them to crack or split.

Hip and Ridge Cap Installation

Once all of your shingles are in place, you can attach the final part of the installation. The hip and ridge caps might look like shingles, but they’re purely for use on the hips and ridges of your roof. These are the points where two surfaces meet and cause a sharper angle.

Installation is much the same as standard shingles. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where every part of your roof is covered and caps are in place.

Congratulations, you’ve learned how to shingle a roof!

When Should You Call In Professionals?

Shingle installation is within the reach of many enthusiastic DIYers. There are, however, times when it’s better to rely on professionals. If you don’t have much experience with tools, or working at height, then this might not be the project for you to start. If you’re feeling confident, it can still be worth arranging a roof inspection with a professional so that they can provide any guidance.

Remember, your safety is the number one priority. If you’re unsure about working on your roof, don’t risk a life-changing injury.

DIY Roofing

Learning how to shingle a roof is quite the task to add to your DIY repertoire. With a quality installation, it won’t be one that you’ll need to complete too often. Take your time and ensure that everything is installed with precision. The last thing you want is to complete the task only to find that you’ve got gaps and cracks!

  • Make sure that you have a clear and smooth deck to begin with.
  • Work methodically to avoid accidentally causing possible leaks.
  • If you have any doubts, contact a professional for assistance.

If you’d prefer to leave the job to a roofing company, then look no further than All County Exteriors. We offer roof installations, roof inspections, and roof repair in New Jersey and surrounding areas.

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