It’s often not too difficult to tell when your Indianapolis home needs new roofing shingles. You may have a telltale leak, or you may be able to tell just by looking that shingles are curling up, discolored by fungus, or missing altogether.
Installing new asphalt roofing shingles is arguably one of the simpler roofing tasks. That, however, doesn’t mean you can neglect steps or otherwise do it improperly and expect to come away with a satisfactory result. Here, then, is a step-by-step guide to installing roofing shingles properly. If you were contemplating doing the job as a DIY project, this is the information you need. And if any aspect of the process takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll benefit from knowing that now so you can engage a professional roofing company from the get-go.
Installing Roofing Shingles: Safety
Before all else, you want to make sure you’ll be safe as you do the work. A hard hat, work gloves, and tool belt are basic safety equipment, and you might also end up being glad you bought safety glasses, work boots, and a vest. Working with a partner is better than working alone, and you should always follow the instructions provided by roofing shingles manufacturers.
Installing Roofing Shingles: Figuring Out the Basics
You need to determine what kind of roofing shingles you need and how many you need.
There are multiple types of shingles. 3-tab shingles are the most common and are generally 36 inches long in total. You install architectural shingles in the same way as 3-tab shingles, but they have varied shapes that give a roof a more textured appearance.
Once you know what sort of roofing shingles you need, the next question is how many? As a rule of thumb, three packs of shingles will cover 100 square feet.
To come up with an accurate total, measure the length and width of each section of roof. Multiply to determine the individual areas and add the various results to arrive at a total. Divide the total by 100 to get the right number of squares and multiply that number by 3 to determine how many packs you’ll need to purchase. Now add another 10% just to be safe.
Once you know the essentials, you can consider secondary factors like roofing shingles colors.
Installing Roofing Shingles: Cleaning and Prepping Your Roof
Before you can put down new roofing shingles, the old ones and the flashing have to come off. You’ll need somewhere to toss them, so bring a garbage can up onto the roof.
You’ll take off the old shingles with the aid of a tool called a roofing shovel. Be careful not to damage any siding or window as you go.
Next, you use a hammer to pry up the nails.
After that, pull up the metal flashing. Sometimes it’s in good enough shape that you can reuse it when you’re ready, but the surer way to avoid problems is to use all new flashing.
Finally, sweep the roof. Make sure you get rid of all leftover nails and debris.
Installing Roofing Shingles: Install the Ice and Water Protector, Underlayment, and Flashing
The ice water and water protector, underlayment and flashing go on before the roofing shingles to provide weatherproofing and general protection. They help to prevent leaks and keep the cold out of your Indianapolis home.
If your area sees a fair amount of inclement weather (like Indianapolis does), it’s a good idea to use a special ice and water protector. This goes on with nails or staples and should hang over the bottom of the roof by an inch or so. A drip edge then goes down at the top of the ice and water protector. Be sure to overlap the drip edge at the seams so there aren’t any gaps in the protection it provides.
Next, lay down the underlayment. It may be made of asphalt, felt, or some other material. Use a staple gun to attach it to the roof, and overlap each row by 3 to 4 inches at a minimum.
After that, metal flashing goes on along the bottom of the roof by the gutters. You fix it in place with a hammer and roofing nails. Be sure to nail it at the edges; if you put the nails too close to the center, it will leak. Flashing also goes on around chimneys, dormers, where a section of roof abuts a wall, and in the valleys where two roof planes meet because these are areas otherwise prone to leaking.
Installing Roofing Shingles: The Starter Shingle
You’ll end up with a mess if you aren’t working on a straight course from a preplanned layout. Laying a starter shingle ensures that you will be.
First, map out a guideline with chalk. Start at the bottom of the roof. Then, still using the chalk, add more guidelines. You’ll add them based on the width of the roofing shingles, and you should map out at least four rows.
Next, using the chalk and a tape measure, mark about a foot up one side of the roof for the first set of shingles. Make a new mark every six inches until you reach the top of the roof. Then repeat this operation on the other side of the roof.
Use the chalk line to extend a straight line vertically every six inches.
Put the glue strip along the rake edge and trim edge and then nail down the starter shingle. (You can buy starter shingles, but if you prefer to make one, cut if 6 inches shorter. If you don’t, the spaces between the tabs will line up, and as a result, the underlayment won’t be fully protected.)
Installing Roofing Shingles: The Actual Installation
Now you’re finally ready to lay down the roofing shingles themselves.
Start laying your courses by working up and across.
Always nail down a shingle so that the nail holds the top edge of the course underneath it. Here’s an example of how that looks. Put in a nail about 2 inches from each edge of a shingle. Then drive another nail an inch above each cutout. The next course of shingles should cover the nails by 1 inch vertically.
You should always hold down a shingle with at least 4 nails. 6 nails is a good idea if you live in a windy area. Be sure they go in straight and not angled.
Stay with the pattern of lining a full shingle up against the next while using the guidelines you created to keep all the shingles straight.
Cut the last shingle in each row to size all the way to the ridge. At the ridge, bend the shingle over the edge to make each side equal and nail it down with one nail on each side.
Continue this same operation with the next shingle and the next until you reach the far edge of the ridge. Cut the last ridge shingle to the required length. Make sure you haven’t left any part of the roof exposed.
You’ll need to apply roofing cement under each row of shingles close to valley flashing.
Installing Roofing Shingles: Protecting Vents and Pipes
As the shingles go on, be sure there are rubber protective boots around any vents or pipes beneath the flashing. The rubber protective boots should fit snugly with the upper flashing below the shingles and the lower flashing above them. This arrangement keeps water from leaking into the house.
Installing Roofing Shingles: Keeping an Eye Out
Keep a watchful eye on your home for leaks and on your roof for shingles curling up or tearing off for several months after the work is done. If something was done improperly and needs to be fixed, the problem is likely to appear during this time period.
Installing Roofing Shingles: A Final Word
As you can see, installing roofing shingles is a somewhat exacting business. If you intend to tackle it yourself, we at Stay Dry Roofing hope this information proves helpful. If, upon consideration, you’d rather hand the job off to professionals, we’ll be happy to assist you.