How To Install Asphalt Shingles

Learning how to install asphalt shingles yourself can save quite a bit of money that you might otherwise have to pay out to a roofer. This is especially true if there are just a few damaged shingles on the roof and you are not yet ready to undergo a complete re-roofing project. Remember that taking on the task of learning how to install asphalt shingles yourself involves getting up on the roof, which is a potentially dangerous undertaking. Proceed with extreme caution and know when to call in professional reinforcements.

Start out the project by getting together all of the hardware:

  • Sturdy ladder
  • Shingles
  • Roofing nails and hammer
  • Work gloves
  • Pouch
  • Aluminum flashing (optional)
  • Plastic cement

Once you are confident that getting up on the roof is safe for you to do, it is time to get up close and personal with instructions on how to install asphalt shingles.

  1. Remove broken shingles with the roofing hammer. Put on the work gloves and pull out the old nails; be sure to collect them in a pouch. Omit this step at your own risk. Leaning or stepping on bent roofing nails causes nasty injuries and might damage new shingles in the process.
  2. Verify the condition of sheathing. Just underneath the shingles there is some sheathing, which should be nailed to the plywood or other roofing material. Visually inspect the surfaces to make sure they are not rotted through. There is little to gain from learning how to install asphalt shingles to a rotting surface that might not be able to support them.
  3. Nail the shingles in place. Watch out for the tar strip and do not send any nails through it. Moreover, any nail you pound into the shingle should be covered by the shingles from the row above.
  4. Replace aluminum flashing, if needed. It is possible that you have to remove some flashing around the chimney to remove damaged shingles. Rather than trying to re-install the old flashing, invest in a complete new piece to replace it. 
  5. Weather-proof the new shingles with plastic cement. This step prevents the need for pouring tar onto the roof after a major rain, when it is virtually impossible to determine where the leak originated.

It is obvious that learning how to install asphalt shingles is a simple undertaking, at least in theory. Since an improperly done job can result in damage to the largest investment you will ever make (the home), it is a good idea to only proceed if you are certain that you can see the project through from beginning to end.

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