How to Use Staples With Shingles


Stapling in your roof’s shingles saves time and energy when compared to nailing. However, if you are planning to use staples to shingle your roof, you must use the proper technique for the best results. With no nail head to plug the staple’s entrance holes, stapled shingles require special attention to avoid leakage.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder Air compressor Compressed air hose Air-fed staple gun Shingles Tar Rope Bucket
  • Make sure the weather is conducive to shingle stapling. According to Fine Home Building, shingles are prone to cracking in cold weather. You’ll want to shingle your roof when the temperature outside is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the warmer the better.

  • Lean a freestanding ladder against the side of the building in order to get onto the roof. Make sure you have somebody at ground-level who can hold the ladder and call for help in the event of a fall.

  • Lower your center of gravity while on the roof. It’s best to crouch on your haunches for maximum stability. Do not stand straight up.

  • Run a compressed air hose from ground level up to the roof. Though you can use a manual stapler, an air-fed stapler will make the job easier. Do not try to hoist the heavy air compressor onto the roof; keep the unit at ground level and use a long hose to reach the roof.

  • Place the shingles on the roof, starting near the top left-hand corner of the roof.

  • Staple the shingles into the roof horizontally. Because of the roof’s angle, this will be more difficult than shooting them in vertically. However according to Fine Home Building, vertical staples can cause leakage problems and are one of the most common roofing mistakes. If shot into the roof vertically, the staples create a clearer, more natural path for water to travel through. Horizontal staples, on the other hand, are less prone to leaking.

  • Continue stapling shingles from left to right. When you are finished with the top layer of shingles, place a second row of shingles beneath the finished row. Make sure this new layer overlaps the existing shingles by about 50 percent. A generous overlap will allow for better leak protection.

  • Continue stapling until the entire roof is covered.

  • Hoist tar or a preferred waterproof, non-porous sealant onto the roof using a rope attached to a small bucket. Do not keep the entire tar supply on the roof; only hoist up small amounts at a time to avoid spillage. Seal the staple holes using the tar. Even when shot into the roof horizontally, staples are still slightly more prone to leaking than nails, so it’s best to cover the points of entry for maximum waterproofing.

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  • Photo Credit tiled roof image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from
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