Installing 3-Tab Roof Shingles

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Preparing the Roof

  • Installing the shingles can a breeze if the roof is prepared properly first. After the roofing paper is installed on the roof, a ¾-inch rake board and molding are installed along the rake. If drip edge is being used, it must also be installed before the shingles. Then striking lines for shingles on the roofing paper will insure nice straight lines on your roof and make the installation much quicker. Most shingle manufacturers recommend a ¼ to 3/8-inch overhang on the rakes and eaves of the roof. However if the roof line varies by more than that, you will need up to an inch of overhang. To establish a horizontal line for your shingles, hold the tape measure over the edge of the roof at whatever measurement you are using for your overhang. Then make a mark at the 12-inch line of the tape on both ends of the roof. Snap a chalk line between the marks. Then make lines every 10 inches up the roof to give you a straight line for the top of each shingle. To mark the bond lines or vertical lines, set your tape at your overhang mark in at 30 inches and 36 inches. Snap a chalk line up the roof at both of these marks. This will give you the edge of the shingle line. The first shingle will need to be cut to 30 inches on every other row going up at the rake to establish the stagger of the tabs. Once your lines are set you are ready to begin installing the shingles.

Installing the Shingles

  • To start off the roof turn your shingle upside down and run a starter course across the eave keeping the top along the first horizontal line and the right side at the 36-inch bond line. This will cover the drip edge that would not be completely covered had you put them right side up. Then run right side up shingles directly over the upside down ones along the eave. You can shingle a roof vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Some manufacturers recommend the diagonal installation because the color will blend better if you get a batch of off color shingles. The easiest way to nail is with a pneumatic roofing nailer with six nails per shingle just above the center in equal intervals across the shingle. When shingling around vents, the shingle will need to be cut to fit and a sealant used on the obstructed side to hold the shingle in place and prevent moisture from getting under the shingles. Shingle the entire roof to the ridge. Fold one side of the roof shingle over the ridge and cut the other side just short of the ridge. Use a tar or sealant on the cut edge of the top shingle.

Installing the Ridge Cap

  • To install the ridge cap some shingles must be cut. Using a utility knife place a shingle upside down on a board. Cut at each tab and angle in on each side of the paper part of the shingle, like this: / . You will need enough to go across the entire ridge. Lay the piece of shingle sideways across the ridge and use a dab of tar under each side. Then nail on each side just past the shingle on the paper part. Place the next ridge shingle on to cover the paper part from the last and attach in the same manner. When you reach the other end of the ridge, cut off the paper part of the shingle and tar the last tab into place. Nail the last tab in all four corners and then cover the nails with a silicone sealant.

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  • Photo Credit Fred Kuipers
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