Asphalt Shingling a Roof

Instructions on how to
asphalt shingle a roof.

Asphalt Shingling
a Roof

How to Asphalt Shingle
a Roof

In order to repair or shingle
an asphalt roof, a person needs
to be physically fit, and able
to safely work off ladders,
and at roof top heights.

One needs to be able to have
good balance.

One needs to be strong enough
to move, and carry heavy shingles,
rolls of felt paper, and tools
up a ladder.

Safe work practices are the
biggest part of the job.

Anyone who does not feel
comfortable working at
heights, or working with
ladders, should not attempt

Use extreme caution around
power, TV, and telephone
wires, they can cause you
to trip and fall.

Be extremely careful when
throwing the old existing
shingles off the roof, a nail
could snag your clothes
and take you off the roof
with the shingles.

If the roof is greatly sloped,
safety ropes may be required,
or it may better to hire a

Asphalt Shingle Roof

The roof is the most important
part of the structure, it must
be kept in good shape to protect
the interior.

The roof sheds the rain, snow
and weather.
Gravity causes the water to
run off.

Any damaged shingles will
allow water to enter the
interior, causing mold,
fungus, and rot.

When shingling a roof, remove
all the old shingles, do one half
of the roof at a time.

Inspect for any damage under
the shingles. The wood on the
roof lower edges is the first
place to start to rot.

Go over the entire roof and
drive in any popped nails
and add nails where required.

If you add new shingles over
old ones, this will add twice
the weight of the shingles to the

New shingles do not lay over
old ones as well, and they do
not bond well to the old
shingles below.

Strong wind has a better
chance to lift them, and
blow them away.

When working on a roof, make
up a piece of plywood about
2 feet by 3 feet that will lay
flat on the roof, built up the
lower end to level it.

This provides a flat place to keep
tools on, to keeps them from
rolling down the roof.

Standard Asphalt Shingle

A standard asphalt shingle is
made from different varieties
of papers bathed in asphalt,
which is then, while hot, imbedded
with small ceramic granules.

The granules are pressed firmly
into the surface of the shingle

The ceramic granules help reflect
the suns ray, helping to cool the
shingles, which adds years to the
shingles lifespan.

A cooler roof keeps the inside
of the home cooler.

The brighter the color of the shingle,
the greater the reflection of heat
away from the shingle.

Shingles come in different colors
and weights.

Some shingles will last twenty
years, while heavier weights
can last twenty-five to thirty

The heavier the weight of the
shingle, the greater the

Standard asphalt shingles have
40% more asphalt than fiberglass

The standard asphalt shingle
comes in a three foot section,
consisting of three tabs, each a
foot long.

On the backside a strip of black
bonding agent is placed just
above the two slots of the shingle.

When the shingle is overlapped
over another shingle, over time,
will bond with the shingle below
making a water tight bond
between the two.

The bond stops water from
wicking upward and also
prevents strong wind from
lifting the shingles.

Fiberglass Shingle

Fiberglass shingles are made
with a fiberglass material instead
of the paper material.

Less asphalt is used to make the
fiberglass type of shingles.

Fiberglass shingles are lighter
and resist tearing better than
the standard asphalt type.

There is less expansion with the
fiberglass shingle, and shingles
requires no slots.

For the more windy areas there
is a type of shingle which goes
through a lamination process
to make two layers on each shingle.

They are heavier than the average
shingle and can stand winds up
to ninety miles per hour. br />
Fiberglass shingles lay out better,
because there is less joints, and
no slots to consider when laying

Each shingle is one complete

Asphalt Shingling Tips

When a ladder is placed up
against the roof, and there is a
rain gutter in place, there is
the possibility of crushing the
rain gutter, as workers carry
shingles up the ladder.

A piece of board about the
width of the ladder and just
wide enough to fit inside
the gutter will prevent the
gutter from collapsing.

To place the board into the
gutter, place the ladder at
a steeper angle than normal
so less weight is applied
against the trough.

Once the board is in place,
decrease the steepness of
the ladder to a safe working

If the ladder is aluminum,
it is a good idea to tie the
ladder to the support board
in the gutter, so the wind
cannot blow the ladder
down off the house.

Consider the time of the year
to shingle.

if the roof is too hot, walking
on very hot shingles causes
the edges of the shingles
to crumble away.

Bundles placed up on the roof
in direct sun can cause the
shingles to stick together.

Cover the shingle bundles on
the roof, with a tarp.

If the shingles do get stuck
together, you can un-stick them
by first cooling them in the shade.
After cooling, pick the bundle of
shingles to waist height and
drop them horizontally onto a
hard surface and they will
Some roofers drop them off the
roof unto the ground below
to un-stick them.
Check the weather report and
pick a few days where you
are free of rain.

Wear running shoes with soft
rubber soles to help prevent
shingle damage, and foot slippage.

Use ropes to secure yourself as
you move around the roof.
Do not tie off the end of
the ropes to moveable objects,
like the bumper of parked

Use substantial stable objects,
like trees, iron work, and
secure fence posts as
anchors, or stays securely fixed
to the roof.

Start by stripping off the old
shingles on one side of the roof.

Use a pitch fork or a flat shovel
to pry the shingles loose.

Start working at one end of
the roof, work your way
across the roof, doing a row
at a time, place shingles as
you go, in piles of about five

Be careful, as you work to
not back off the roof edge.

Each pile is carried to the edge
of the roof and thrown into a
trailer, bin below, or dropped
directly onto the ground.

If you are throwing them onto
the ground, place a large tarp
on the ground. Any nails and
small pieces will be easier
to cleanup.

When you throw the shingles off
the roof, make sure the shingles
are clear of your body as you
swing them away from the
roof, lest a nail in the old shingle
catch your clothing and try to take
you along with the shingles.

Try to throw the old shingles off
the roof in an organized fashion,
this reduces the size of the pile.

After every three or four rows,
clean off the roof with a push
The grit that comes loose from
the old shingles is like a thousand
tiny ball bearings that can cause
you to slip and fall off the roof.

Pull up all the shingle nails that
are left in the boards; they also
can cause you to trip.

When the roof is cleared off,
inspect the boards for missing
and loose nails, hammer in any
loose roof nails, and add nails
that are missing.

Drive in all the nails that have
popped up due to the shrinkage
of the boards over time.

Sweep the roof clean again!

On the bottom row, roll out the
heavy roofing (90 weight felt)
paper and nail/staple into place.

Some people only place the felt
paper a row or two at the edge
while others like to do the entire

Most roofers use a heavier paper
on the first row and then a
lightweight paper on the rest of
the roof.
Measure and cut the felt paper to
length on the ground, roll it up
and carry onto the roof.

Some roofing papers have lines
printed on them, and if you paper
the whole roof, you then have
guide lines to help keep shingle in
straight lines.

If you do not use this type of
roofing paper, take measurements
and snap caulk lines as needed.

There are new types of roofing
underlay available, so check them
out before starting.

At the roof edge, place a plastic
or metal drip edge over the felt
paper, along the entire length of
the roof edges, overhanging
the rain gutter about three
quarters of a inch.

Then nail into place.

The shingle hangs over another
3/4 inch for a total of 1 1/2 inch
of over hang, above the inside
gutter edge.

Use a chalk line to get the drip
edge perfectly straight.

Working off the ladder

start your first row of standard
shingles, by placing the shingle
with the grit side up and spun
around so the solid edge lines up
with the drip edge.

Extend the shingle 3/4 of an inch
past the edge of the drip edge for
a total overlap of 1-1/2 inch.

Outer roof peak edges are also
extended 3/4 of an inch past the
roof edge.

Use a chalk line to get your first
row perfectly straight as all the
other rows will follow.

To cut the shingle, turn it over
and score through about halfway
from the underside with a utility

Use a 2 ft. framing square to run
the knife along.

Bend the shingle and snap apart.
Do not cut the shingle directly
over in placed new shingles,
you could cut through both

Do your cutting on a piece of
plywood or on the roof, where
there are no shingles.

Secure each shingle into place
with four well placed shingle
nails (large round head).

Four nails should be placed in
each shingle, about an inch above
the shingle slots and one near
each end of the shingle.

The next row of shingles will
cover the head of the nails.
As you nail you also double nail
the shingle below causing the
shingles to be more wind proof.

Start the second row with half
a length of shingle, place directly
on top of the first row with the
shingles spaced so that the
grooves of this row are off set
to the shingle below.

The first row will be two shingles

Nail in place with four nails to a

Start the next row with a full
shingle. Alternate the start of
each row with a full shingle and
then a half shingle.

The half shingles can either be
used to start a new row or to
finish a row.

If the roofing paper has lines
printed onto them; use these
lines as a guide to keep
the shingle lines straight as
you lay them.

With the first row complete,
start the second row by off
setting the grooves once

The bottom edge of the top
shingle should line up with
the top edge of the grooves of
the lower shingle.

Note there is a small tab
(short cut) on the bottom edge
of some shingle that will help
you get the proper height of
each shingle.

Complete the first side of the

When you need to cut around
irregular objects; use tin snips.

When you remove the old shingle
around objects, pay attention to
the way the shingles were laid
down in the first place, as this
will help when it comes time to
place the new ones.

Complete both sides of the roof
and finish by capping the ridge.

To make shingles to cap the
ridge, cut each full shingle into
three equal pieces at the groove
of the shingles.

When you cap the ridge, take note
of the direction of the average
direction of the wind and start
placing the capping from the
opposite end of the roof that the
wind comes from, and work
across the roof to the other side.

This will shed the rain better.

Basically just fold the single
shingle sections of the cut shingle
over the ridge.

Place two nails, one on each side
of the shingle near the bottom
and that is all that is needed
to hold them in place.

Overlap by half shingle, each
of the following cut shingles.

Place the nails near the bottom,
so the next shingle will cover
the nail of the previous roof cap.

Finish up the last shingle with
two exposed nails.

Cover the head of these two
nails with silicone to prevent
water from getting under the
nail head, freezing and prying
the nails out.

When using fiber-glass
laminate shingles, most roofers
use regular unlamented asphalt
shingles to cap a roof, as they
are more flexible and easy to
work with.

Square Footage

To get the sq. footage of a roof,
measure from the bottom of the
roof to the ridge and length of
one side of the roof. Multiple the
height times the length and
multiple by this figure by two.

On complex roofs, measure the
roof in sections, and add the
figures together.

It is good to have extra bundles
to cover for errors and capping,

It is also good to have some
shingles left over for replacement
in case of wind damage.

When it comes time to replace
some damaged shingles, it may
not be possible to find the same
type of shingle, and color
at a later date.

Additional Shingling Information

Three bundles make up a square,
which covers 100 sq. ft.

Shingles last longer in cooler

Great changes in temperature over
a short period of time (thermal shock),
causes cracks and split to the shingles.

Proper attic ventilation extends
the life of the shingles.

Approximately 2-1/2 lbs of roofing
nails are used for each bundle of

1 to -1/1/4 inch nails in length is

If you are nailing manually, the
longer nail is best.
With the shorter shingle nail, there
is not enough space, and your
finger nail will rub against the
shingle below each time you
drive in a nail, and this will wear
away your finger nail.
This becomes painful.


Place tarps on the ground, below
you are working to catch nails
and pieces of shingles, for easy
clean up.

Roof Pitch

Roof pitch is the length of roof
that raises in Ft. vertically,
over 12 Ft. of horizontal

To determine roof pitch use a
2 ft. level, mark it with a felt
marker pen at 1 ft.
Place the level on the high side
of the roof and raise the level
until the level bubble is centered
in the glass envelope.

Measure down vertically at the
1 ft. mark to the roof.
If the measurement is 4 inches,
the pitch ratio is 4:12.

Various Roof Pitches

Flat Roof ----- 2:12
Low Slope ---- 2.5:12 --- 4:12
Standard ----- 4.5:12 --- 9.5:12
Steep --------- Over 9.5:12

Shingle Information

20 year shingles ---- 69 lbs.
per bundle.
25 tear shingles ---- 77 lbs.
per bundle
30 year shingles --- 82 lbs.
per bundle

Nail Information

1-1/4 inch nails, approx.
250 per lb.
1-1/2 inch nails, approx.
200 per lb.
1-1/4 inch coil roofing nails,
approx. 7,200 per box.

Felt Paper

RM 447 30# weight,
58 ft. long, 44 inches wide

Ridge Capping

One shingle cut into three
sections, and over-lapped,
will cover approx. 18 inches.


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