Installing Shingles: How to Install Asphalt & Other Shingles

installing asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles, also called composition shingles (they may be made largely of fiberglass), are the most common type of roofing for homes. They are inexpensive, come in a wide range of colors and profiles, are easy to install, and are suitable for a wide range of climates. This section shows how to install three-tab composition shingles, the most popular type. If you choose another kind, such as random-cutout or architectural (laminated) shingles, installation will be similar -- it could be even simpler. Be sure to follow manufacturer's recommendations printed on the bundle for nail positioning and shingle layout.

Projects in Installing Shingles

Nailing the shingles can be done by hand using a roofing hatchet, but working with any speed takes practice. (Years ago experienced roofers developed the technique of getting a nail ready between the two fingers of one hand while they pounded a nail -- usually in two whacks -- with the other hand.)

Today many pros and do-it-yourselfers prefer to apply roofing with a pneumatic nail gun and a compressor or a cordless power nailer. You can rent a pneumatic or power nailer from a home center or a rental store. Be sure to specify that you will use the nailer for roofing so you will get the right kind of nailer. Buy the correct nails for your situation when you pick up the rental equipment.

Another major advantage of power nailers is that you can work with gloves on -- hand-nailing requires at least one bare hand to hold the nails. Roofing is notoriously hard on hands; cold weather can make the job even more unpleasant. Gloves provide an added layer of protection, warmth, and a surer grip for handling bundles of shingles.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!