How to shingle a roof
This is a quick guide on how to install roof shingles. It also teaches how to install a metal roof. You will want to consider the elements when buying roofing material.
In areas where there is a lot of snow and ice, you probably should have a metal roof.
If you don’t get a lot of severe weather then you can get by with asphalt shingles. You’ll need to start out with roofing felt and flashing.
To start out, you will need to get a few rolls of tar paper and roll it out starting at the bottom of the roof and working your way across the length of the roof.
Some people call it roofing felt, but I like to call it tar paper.One of the most important parts of learning how to shingle a roof is keeping the tar paper in place.
The tar paper needs to overlap the sheet under it. That’s why we start at the bottom and work our way up. Do it that way until you get to the top. Put short galvanized nails in to hold it down. You won’t need many unless it’s a windy day.
The ridge will need a couple of layers because it needs to be strong under the ridge roll. Try not to tear the paper in any area. Remember, that is the last water barrier if the water gets in under the shingles or metal.
Now let’s learn how to apply the shingles. You will want to start at the bottom just like you did with the tar paper and work your way up. Make sure you offset the seams.
Continue on until the roof is completely covered. When you get to the top, you will need a special set of shingles called a ridge cap. You can make your own but sometimes they leak. It’s better to buy asphalt ridge cap that matches the shingles. That’s about it for installing roof shingles.
Now let’s move on to metal roofing. The tar paper layout is exactly the same. Metal is available in many different colors and sizes, but it’s also available in different thicknesses. You will want to get the same color for the flashing and apply it before the metal sheets go on.
The thickness is called the gauge. The local hardware stores will usually have the thickness that is used in your location to match the climate. Where there is snow and ice, it will be a heavier gauge, but where there is a lot of rain and humidity, a thinner gauge would be just fine.
You will use a special type of metal screw with a rubber gasket under the head. The idea is to sink the screw in just until the gasket starts to squeeze out. That makes a good, tight seal.
Once the metal is on, you will need to put on the ridge roll. That’s just a cap piece that covers the ridge. You will need to use tar or some other kind of roof sealant on the vent pipes to seal everything up against the rain. That is it for learning how to install shingles and metal on roofs.
My monthly newsletter keeps you up to date on home construction and design ideas.
I just wanted to say that I love your website. My husband and I followed your instructions on building our own home. Most of the work we did ourselves, but not all. We saved $90,000 in labor costs and now have a beautiful home that we own.
--Sue and Les Carrigan, Draper, Utah
I built my own home doing all my own labor. My house costs me around $70,000 for materials. It took me 8 months to build and is about 2,000 square feet. I didn't think I could do it, but your house web site encouraged me. I used all the info you had.
Benny Luis Lopez,
I can't thank you enough for your free information web site about home building. I was looking for Electrical wiring diagrams when I found your site. It was very helpful.
Little Rock, Arkansas
My wife and I lost our home to foreclosure but we kept a plot of land to start over. We are halfway through the construction of our house. Your website gave us hope to start over and build a house with low payments. We are in our late 60's but we find it rewarding to put so much effort into a project that will reward us for years to come.
Name respectfully withheld