How to Shingle a Gable Roof


A gable roof is formed when rafters run from a center ridge board down to the top plate of opposite walls, creating a sloped plane on each side. Gable roofs are on homes, garages, sheds, and other buildings. Whether you are shingling the roof of a newly constructed building or an existing one, the project should take about a day, depending on its size. If your gable roof is more than 20 years old, chances are it needs re-shingling.

Things You'll Need

  • 20 lbs. 1½-inch roofing nails
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Roofing tar
  • Lay a starter course of shingles along the bottom edge of the roof by placing a three-tab shingle with the tabs facing the peak of the roof in the lower corner of the roof. Secure the shingle to the roof with four 1½-inch roofing nails driven in just above the notches of the tabs. Continue placing shingles in the same manner along the bottom edge of the roof until you reach the opposite end of the roof. Cut the excess off the last shingle with a utility knife.

  • Place the first row of shingles directly over top the starter course, making sure the tabs are facing the bottom of the roof. Secure the shingles and cut off the excess in the same fashion as the starter course.

  • Place the first shingle in the second row at the edge of the roof over the top the first row with the tabs facing downward. The bottom edge of the shingle should line up with the end of the notch on the first row of shingles. Offset the tabs of the first and second rows to prevent water intrusion, positioning the shingle so that end of each tab comes to the center point of the tabs on adjacent rows. Secure the shingles and finish the row in the same fashion as the first row.

  • Add rows of shingles, offsetting the tabs in each row from adjacent rows, until you reach the peak of the roof.

  • Shingle the other side of your gable roof in the same fashion.

  • Cut the tabs off unused shingles with a utility knife to finish the peak of the roof. Bend a tab over the peak of the roof starting at one end, making sure the ends of each side of the tab completely cover the shingles at the top of each side of the peak. Secure the tab with two 1½-inch roofing nails driven in at each corner away from the edge of the roof.

  • Lay the next tab over the first, just covering the nails of the first tab you nailed down. Continue in this fashion until you reach the other end of the ridge of the roof. Cover the two nails on the last tab with a small dab of roofing tar to prevent water intrusion.

Tips & Warnings

  • Estimate how many squares of shingles you'll need by measuring the width and length of each side of your gable roof. Multiply these measurements to get the total square footage. Divide this number by one square (100 square feet) to get the total number of squares. Three packages of shingles equal one square.

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  • Photo Credit roof image by Christopher Meder from
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