Blog – Expert Roofing Advice & Tips

A Guide to Shingling a Roof

The key to shingling a roof is identifying the ideal type of shingles for you home and installing it properly. You can begin by having a professional examine your roof to offer you some suggestions. He may also be able to evaluate the materials needed for this procedure.

Preparing your roof for shingling

You can begin by purchasing roofing shovels to remove old shingles and tar paper. Once you are done with that, remove or knock down any nails in the area. Consider putting in rain and ice shields for the edges. Shingles are packed in paper or plastic bundles to make them easily portable. However, for your convenience, you can also have them delivered to the roof.

Calculating the quantity of shingles required

Shingles are sold in bundles or by the square. Usually, each square of shingle can cover 100 sq. ft. of the roof. Begin your calculations by measuring the width of the roof. Then multiply it with its length. You will derive the area that needs to be covered.

You will also need roofing felt for the same area. Next, divide the square footage by 100 to get the number of shingles needed for your roof. You will need additional shingles to use as starter shingles and some for any deviations on the roof.

Other materials needed for shingling

Apart from the felt, you need roofing nails (three pounds per square of felt and shingles). These nails are available in loose bags and also as welded strips that you can be easily load onto a nail gun. A roofing shovel is also necessary if you are re-doing your roof. You will need a caulking gun to pour roof cement on the head of the nails in the felt.

Procedure for shingling

If it is a new roof, you will first have to lay the roofing felt onto the plywood boards of the roof. Lay the felt one roll at a time as your work progresses. Remember that they will get soggy with dew or rain. They may also tear when you step on them.

The felt acts as a waterproof seal for your roof. It should be in laid row-wise vertically from top down. To ensure that there are no gaps that may later lead to leaks, let the sides of the rows overlap each other. The next step is to nail the sides on one row before moving onto the next row.

Add roof cement to cover the heads of all the nails. A putty knife will help you give a clean and smooth finish. This procedure ensures there are no leaks through nail dents.

Once the cement has dried, you can start lining a layer of shingles around the roof’s entire circumference. Leaving a good seven inches, cut the edges using a shingle cutter and nail the shingle with four nails to the roof’s edge. This is known as a starter stip.

You can start another layer, ensuring that the partitions in the starter strips don’t coincide with the ones in the next layer. This process should be repeated to cover the entire roof.

Shingling a roof is a daunting task. Do not attempt it if you are not comfortable with it. Else, hire a professional to help you.


Please note: Chouinard Bros. does not recommend any homeowner complete repairs to their roof of their own. Our technicians are skilled at performing this work and have received years of training to understand how to complete repairs safely.

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