How to Reshingle a Roof

How to Reshingle a Roof: Laying Asphalt Shingles

Your primary concern while shingling a roof should be your safety as you will be working at considerable heights. So, make sure you are safe from all falling hazards. The next step, deck preparation, is when you make sure your deck is smooth, dry, and free of any holes or gaps and appropriately fastened to the roof trusses.

Work your way from the bottom of the roof to the top while installing asphalt shingles. The first material installed at the eaves is the drip edge. Once that is finished, a thin, self-adhering membrane called ice water protector is installed to prevent it from harsh cold weather and rains.

The third step is to install a roof underlayment. This can either be synthetic roof underlayment or an asphalt-saturated felt. Next, cover the joints and valleys in your roof so that no leakage occurs. For this, you may need to flash certain areas with an extra layer of water-shedding stuff to keep the water off the roof. Once all of that is finished, begin laying the shingles.

Also Read – All You Need to Know About Asphalt Roofing Shingles

What is Involved in a Roof Replacement?

When your roof is fully replaced, the old shingles are stripped from the roof, exposing the deck. An underlayment or felt paper is then applied to the deck to help protect it from water and other elements. The new shingles are then installed on top of the underlayment or felt paper for a new roof that lasts for 20 years or more.

If the deck is severely damaged, it will need to be repaired to prevent further damage, which can eventually cause a hole underneath.

The Pros of Completely Replacing the Roof

  • Completely replacing the roof lasts longer than re-roofing.
  • It can be done no matter how many layers of shingles are on the roof.
  • Unlike, re-roofing that may cover up any issues with the deck, such as rot, which can eventually cause the roof to give out, a fully revamped roof addresses all issues for a safe and sturdier roof.
  • Saves more money over the long haul because it enables you to identify early signs of rot and sagging caused by water damage to the deck, which can eventually permit water to leak and drip down inside the walls where it can damage the drywall and flooring and lead to costly repairs.


New Roof Installation

New roof installations can last more than 50 years depending on your shingle material. Most roofs are made from the following.

  • Slate
  • Copper
  • Asphalt
  • Wood or cedar
  • Clay
  • Ceramic

While strong roofs make for safe housing, reroofing’s the time to pick your preferred style too. When it comes to choosing the right material, ask yourself these questions.

  • What works with my style home?
    • Do I want something rustic? Modern? Contemporary?
  • What color feels best?
    • Do I want something light or dark?
  • What are the benefits of each material?
    • Depending on the climate, you can choose materials that meet your specific needs like heat-resistance or sustainability

Consider reroofing to be like getting a hair treatment. A full cleaning, cut, and color change creates a total transformation.

Project details


5 out of 5 Hard Removing the old roof is backbreaking work, and nailing down the new roof is tedious and repetitive

Cap the ridge

Cap the ridge

Snap chalk lines to help keep the row of ridge cap

Snap chalk lines to help keep the row of ridge cap shingles straight. Install the ridge cap so the prevailing winds blow over the overlap seams, not into them. Once all your shingles are installed, you’ll need to cover (cap) the ridge (and hip ridges if you have a hip roof). The top ridge cap shingles will overlap the hip ridge cap, so start with the hips. Snap a couple of guide lines just a little inside the perimeter of the ridge so the lines get covered up when you’re done. Nail each shingle on both sides about 1 in. above the overlap seam (Photo 16). Store-bought architectural-style ridge caps are often two layers thick, to match the look of the shingles. You may need longer nails to fasten the ridge because of all the extra layers of shingles.

Install the top ridge cap so the prevailing winds blow over the overlaps rather than into them. If wind isn’t an issue, start at either side, or start at both sides and end in the middle. Rip the top half off the last ridge cap shingle, and nail through the face of it with two nails on the ends of each side.

Step Five – Out with the old shingle

  • Now that all the sealant bonds have been broken and all the nails have been removed, the target shingle should be loose, and can be removed.



Install the drip edge

Metal drip edge isn’t usually required (check with a local building official), but it gives roof edges a nice finished look, prevents shingles from curling over the edge, and keeps water from running directly down your fascia boards.

Before you install the underlayment, fasten the drip edge that covers the fascia on the eaves. The whole length of the fascia is probably not perfectly straight, so don’t snap a line; just hold the drip edge snug against the fascia and fasten it through the top into the decking with roofing nails. Nail it every couple of feet.

Install the drip edge on the gable ends of the roof after you finish installing your underlayment. Start at the bottom side of the gable, and overlap the sections of drip edge a few inches as you work your way up the roof (see Figure A). Use a tin snips to cut the drip edge to size.

Stay Safe

When it comes to roofs, even the best safety equipment is no substitute for common sense and good judgment. Here are some tips for working safely on a roof:

  • Leave steep and/or high roof work to the pros. No amount of money you could save is worth the risk of death or a lifelong disability from a fall.
  • A fall protection kit (harness, rope and hook) only costs about $100 at home centers.
  • Wet roofs are slippery. Wear shoes with soft rubber soles for extra traction.
  • Keep the roof swept clean of dirt and debris.
  • Everyone on the ground should wear a hard hat—even the most careful worker can drop a tool off the roof.
  • Always look and call out before tossing anything down.
  • Carefully position ropes and extension cords so they’re not underfoot.
  • Check the weight rating on your ladder—it needs to hold you plus 80 lbs.
  • Extend the top of the ladder at least 3 ft. above the roof edge so you’ll have something to hang on to as you step onto and off the roof.
  • Never step on any of the ladder rungs above the roof.
  • Set up scaffolding to install the drip edge and first few courses.

Can you put new roof shingles over old ones?

Yes, if you have used asphalt shingles and they are in pretty good condition, you can re-roof it. However, you can’t do this with wood or slate roofs.

Also Read – The Importance of Ventilation and Insulation of Asphalt Shingles

Step Two – Break the adjacent seals

  • Once the sealant bond is broken on the target shingle, the same bond will need to be broken on the overlying shingle or shingles, so they can be gently lifted to expose the nails in the target shingle. (Since shingles in successive courses up the roof are installed offset from the courses below, you may need to perform that step on a shingle to the right or left of the overlying shingle as well).



Looking For A Contractor?

Purchasing a new roof is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make for your home, so it’s important that it’s done right and that you have someone standing behind the work for years to come.

Learn More

Summing Up

After studying the parts to a roof and this list of roofing terms, you’ll likely start noticing the different types of roof components everywhere you go — but it’s not just about impressing your friends with what you’ve learned.

Your roof is one of the most important maintenance/replacement projects you will undertake as a homeowner. Be as informed as possible. It matters.

A good service roofer will be more than happy to answer any questions you have or explain any terms you don’t understand. But having a better understanding of industry specific terms can help you make your roofing project experience a positive one.


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