You’ve decided to add shingles to your roofing or perhaps you need to replace the old ones, what’s next? As I see it you have two choices. You can pay a professional to do it for you, which will probably save you time and effort, or you can attempt to do it yourself.  Being the penny pincher that you are, you opt for the second option. But you don’t quite know what you’re doing. You make a mess of things and now you have to call in a professional to undo the damage you’ve done. But all of this could have been avoided, had you known what you were doing, to begin with. So how about a beginner’s guide on how to properly shingle a roof? But before we get to that, a little housekeeping is required. You’re probably blissfully unaware this, but did you know that about a third of construction fatalities occur as a result of people falling off of roofs? That’s why when even contemplating taking on such a project safety should be at the forefront of your mind. With that being said there are a couple of safety equipment you’ll need to complete the job. You’ll need a harness, a line attached to the ridge, and a staging with safety rails around it. Not safety related, but you’ll also need a nail gun/hammer, tape measure, roofing hatchet, framing square, chalk line, utility knife, straight edge, caulking gun, tin snips, a pencil, and of course shingles. Now let’s begin.

Install the Drip Edge

First, you’ll need to install a drip edge. It reduces surface tension and prevents water from falling on the facial which prevents the facial board from rotting. Place the drip edge tight against the facial board. Use a pencil to mark the point at which the drip edge ends on both sides. Pull the drip edge a half an inch down from that line. This creates a gap between the facial and the drip edge. Nail the drip edge in place with 1 ¼ inch galvanize roofing nails. Repeat this step on the gable ends.

Install the Underlayment

Measure the width of your felt paper. Using a pencil mark a line that’s the width of the felt paper away from the base of the drip edge. Make an identical demarcation on the adjacent end. Place a chalk line over these lines. Pull it until it is taut then tug the line upward and release. This will leave a straight line of chalk that you’ll use to align the felt paper. Now place the felt paper in line with this line and nail it down. Continue installing felt paper in this way until the roof is completely covered. The felt paper will absorb any water that condenses under the layer of shingle, which will prevent rotting.

Make Chalk Lines

Measure the width of a sheet of three tab shingle. Mark a line that’s a ¼ inch higher than the width of the sheet of shingle above the overhead on both ends of the roof so the strip hangs over it. Place a chalk line over these demarcations, pull on the line so that it’s taut then tug the line upwards and release. Now using the first chalk line as a guide, continue to make chalk lines that are spaced 5 inches apart from each other. This ensures that there are six inches of overlapping on each row of shingle.

Install a Starter Strip

Next, you’ll need a starter strip, an extra layer of shingle at the edge of the roof. This can be bought from a shingle company. The cheaper alternative is to buy a pack of three tab shingles (same color) and use that. Remove six inches from the width of a sheet of your three tab shingle. Place this strip a 1/4 inch from the edge of the drip edge and nail it down.

Install Your Shingles

Using the first chalk line as a guide, place a sheet of three tab shingle over the starter strip with the tabs facing downwards. Nail the shingle in place using four nails per shingle with one above each cut-out and one at an inch away from each end of the shingle. Continue placing down full-length shingle sheets in line with the chalk line until the first row is finished. For the second row, you want to remove half a tab from the first sheet of shingle. Place this shingle in line with the next chalk line and nail it down as directed above. Each subsequent row will begin with a shingle that is ½ tab shorter than the previous row until you begin a row with a ½ tab. After this, you begin the process over again starting with a full-length sheet of shingle until your roof is completely covered.