How to shingle a roof: our pro tips

Asphalt shingles are popular with consumers not only for how good they look, but also for their durability and affordability.

However, installing shingles is a delicate process that requires skill and attention to detail. In fact, if you don’t have experience in roofing installation, you could fall into one of the many pitfalls that await amateur roofers.

Nevertheless, if you follow the steps outlined below, courtesy of our professional roofers, you can successfully install asphalt shingles.

Step 1: Gather the necessary materials and tools

First, you need to gather all the necessary materials to install the asphalt shingles you have chosen:

  • Shingles
  • Galvanized roofing nails of appropriate length
  • Asphalt plastic cement
  • Eave protection (smooth or slate roofing)
  • Underlayment
  • Valley and flashing protection
  • Roof ventilators

To complete your project as smoothly and quickly as possible, you should also have the proper tools:

  • Shears (for cutting metal flashings)
  • Chalk line
  • Universal knife (for cutting felts and blanket rolls)
  • Square
  • Roofing hammer and/or pneumatic nailer
  • Air compressor for use with pneumatic tools
  • Caulking gun
  • Tape measure
  • Trowel
  • Nail bar
  • Personal protective equipment such as harnesses, ropes, runners, energy absorbers, anchors, goggles, steel toed boots and steel cap

Step 2: Install the starter strip

For the second step, we assume that the removal of the old shingles and the installation of the waterproofing membrane and flashings have been done beforehand.

Once everything has been completed, in the case of “3-tab” shingles, a chalk line should be drawn from the top to the bottom of the roof, since these shingles will be installed from the bottom up (ladder installation).

The installation system for laminated shingles will be different. The first course of shingles (on the lower part of the roof) will be composed of 3 shingles, the 2nd course of 2 shingles and the 3rd course of 1 shingle.

These are the different asphalt shingle installation methods required by the manufacturers to guarantee better roof sealing.

Step 3: Install the remaining rows of asphalt shingles

Next, the shingles are nailed with a pneumatic nailer and the excess is trimmed with a knife. However, the strips are left slightly above the ridge. These excess strips will be trimmed later.

When installing asphalt shingles, special care should be taken to nail the shingles in the designated area to ensure maximum pull-through resistance. Four nails per sheet are usually enough, but this number should be increased to 6 nails per sheet to maximize the adhesion of the sheets.

When the siding crosses the corners of a gable or other sloping area (valley), be sure to cut the shingles at an angle to reduce the risk of roof leaking.

To keep the rows straight, it is best to draw horizontal lines at regular intervals. This will ensure that each row of asphalt shingles is straight.

Step 4: Maximize roof waterproofing

Next, caulk each joint and crack and seal it with plastic cement. At the same time, the roof installations such as the chimney, roof ventilation and ridges must be sealed.

Note that before installing the various elements, you must first consider the direction of the water flow to allow free drainage.

Step 5: Finish the roof

Finally, careful work will result in a meticulous finish. This step includes cutting off excess shingles on the sides and applying sealants.

Always remember to work safely

Last but not least, we must emphasize the importance of maintaining a safe approach when installing asphalt shingles or doing any other work at height.

This type of work requires the application of building code requirements and occupational health and safety standards.

Consequently, such work must be carried out by a team of professional roofers and must follow expert roof inspection.

Trust Les Couvreurs Duro-Toit for a perfect asphalt shingle installation

In conclusion, you shouldn’t underestimate the complexity of installing asphalt shingles on a pitched roof. This work is best left to professional roofers if you do not feel comfortable with any of the steps outlined above.

If you would like more information on our asphalt shingle installation service or to learn more about our other roofing products and how they are installed, contact us today!


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