Installing Asphalt Shingles

Now that you have your starter shingles cut and your starter strip installed, you’re ready to start installing shingles. Place a full shingle directly over top of the starter. Make sure it is flush with the starter. Here is where an air roofing nailer is very handy, but you can do it with a hammer if you have to. Stay away at least 1″ from the ends of the shingles, and nail about 5 1/2″ to 6 3/4″ from the bottom of the shingle. This is so you can have a 5″ exposure. Consult your shingle packaging to make sure they are designed for a 5″ exposure and follow their guidelines. Place a nail near the end (about an inch from the end) and then nail directly over the two tab lines (if you’re using three-tab shingles). If you’re using dimensional shingles, just split up the nails evenly. Nail one end and make sure the shingle is straight and nail the other end. Then divide the distance evenly for the other two nails.

But the next piece up and follow the same procedure. When nailing by myself with no nail gun, I use my knee to hold the shingle. If working with a helper and a gun, I’ll have the helper position the shingle and I’ll nail. This way is extremely fast.

Place the next starter piece over the first, making sure to match up the top edge on the chaulk line. If you measured right, you should have a 5″ exposure (if that was what you were shooting for) and if you lay on the line, you’ll get a nice straight installation. You can then install the next starter piece following the same procedure. Continue installing each consecutively shorter piece until you reach the 6″ piece. You’ll have a triangular shape when done. This ensures that your seams will be apart from each other and you don’t waste a lot of material. Now finish installing the rest of the shingles for all 5 courses, bottom to top. I usually lay a shingle on each course, then move to the right and lay those 5. Repeat this until you reach the other end of the roof, click here for more tips.

Now you’ll start over with a full piece and your starter shingles. Repeat the whole process all the way up the roof. If you stay on the line and you placed the lines in the right place, you should be fine. If you do have some problems with nails showing, try to fix it as soon as possible so that it doesn’t get worse. Once you’re about 6′ from the top, time to check your ends to make sure you’re still doing good.