How to Shingle the Roof of a Shed

If you're building a new shed, or refurbishing an old one, you need to pay careful attention to the roof. A well-clad roof will protect your structure and the possessions you have, so taking the time to do the job well will pay off down the road. You don't need to be a master builder to do a good job if you follow some simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Shed
  • Roofing paper
  • Shingles
  • Roofing nails
  • Tools and measuring devices.

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Remove the old shingles, if you are refurbishing an older shed's roof. Check the roofing paper underneath the shingles for tears and wear. If it appears damaged, either patch it or replace the old roofing paper with new. If you're dealing with a new roof, check that the boards that make up the roof are fastened securely and aligned properly. Nail down any nails that are sticking up. As an extra measure of weatherproofing and water tightness, you can also caulk between the seams of the roofing boards. This is not strictly necessary, however.

Lay down the roofing paper if the roof is new. Roofing paper comes in rolls. Simply start at one corner of the roof and roll the paper from one edge to the other, over the top. Leave about 1/4-inch of paper overhanging the ends. Cut the paper, then secure it down with a heavy duty staple gun. Then do the next strip, overlapping the paper by about an inch. When you've done enough strips to completely cover the roof, trim the paper on the end so that there is a 1/4-inch overlap.

Starting at the lower edge of the roof, start laying your shingles. The edge of the shingles with the gaps will face the edge of the roof. Ensure that your first row of shingles overhang the roof by 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch. As you lay each shingle, nail it down on the upper edge with roofing nails. When you've completed the first row, lay the second, overlapping enough so that you achieve a uniform appearance. See the image for a guide. Repeat the entire process until you've reached the top, then repeat for the other side.

Cap the top ridge of the roof with overlapping shingles. Start at one end of the ridge with a single shingle, laid at an angle of 90 degrees to the run of shingles you've just completed. Nail this shingle down, then add another shingle, overlapping by one to two inches until you span the length of the roof ridge. You've just laid a roof that will protect your shed for many years.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're doing a large roof, consider renting a nail gun and save yourself some labor.
  • Always be careful when working above ground, even on a shed. Falls can be painful and cause serious injury.
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