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How to Install Asphalt Shingle Roofs: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to residential roofing, knowing how to install asphalt shingle roofs is an invaluable skill for homeowners. Asphalt shingles are a common option in the roofing market, due to their cost-effectiveness, longevity and straightforward installation. This blog post will guide you through the complete installation of an asphalt shingle roof from preparation to completion.

Table Of Contents:

1. Preparing the Roof Deck

Before installing asphalt shingles, it is crucial to properly prepare the roof deck.

This involves removing old shingles and tar paper, ensuring a smooth surface with no protruding nails or debris, and checking for an adequate attic vapor barrier to protect against moisture issues.

Proper preparation will help prevent damage during installation.

Removing Old Shingles and Tar Paper

A man removing asphalt shingle roof

The first step in preparing your roof deck for new asphalt roofing materials is removing any existing layers of old shingles and tar paper.

This can be done using a roofing shovel or pry bar, taking care not to damage the underlying roof sheathing. Make sure you dispose of these materials according to local regulations.

Ensuring a Smooth Roof Deck Surface

  • Nail Inspection: Once all old materials have been removed, inspect the entire roof surface for any remaining nails or staples that may be sticking out from the sheathing. Remove them if necessary or hammer them flush with the surface.
  • Patching Damaged Areas: If there are any damaged areas on your roof deck (e.g., rotting wood), repair them before proceeding with shingle installation. Consult a roofing professional if needed.
  • Cleaning Debris: Sweep away any loose debris from your work area so it doesn’t interfere with proper adhesion between underlayment material and asphalt shingle surfaces later on in this process.

Checking for an Adequate Attic Vapor Barrier

An attic vapor barrier is essential in preventing moisture from entering your home and causing damage to the insulation, wood framing, or other building materials. To ensure that you have a sufficient vapor barrier in place:

  1. Inspect your attic space for signs of moisture issues such as mold growth, wet insulation, or water stains on the roof sheathing.
  2. If necessary, install a new vapor barrier (typically made of polyethylene plastic sheeting) according to manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.

Taking these steps will help create a solid foundation for installing asphalt roofing shingles while also protecting against potential problems down the line. Remember that proper preparation is key when it comes to any type of roofing work.

2. Choosing Asphalt Shingle Types

When selecting asphalt roofing materials, homeowners can choose between traditional three-tab shingles or more modern architectural shingles. Before deciding, homeowners must weigh the pros and cons of each type of asphalt roofing material.

Comparing Three-Tab vs Architectural Shingle Options

  • Three-Tab Shingles: These are the most common type of asphalt roof shingles used in residential roofing projects. They feature a flat design with three distinct tabs that create a uniform appearance across the roof surface. Three-tab shingles are generally more affordable at $1-$2 per square foot but require careful planning and patience during installation.
  • Architectural Shingles: Also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, these offer better durability and an attractive multi-dimensional appearance due to their layered construction. Architectural shingles typically come at a higher cost than three-tab options but provide improved wind resistance, longer warranties, and enhanced curb appeal for your home.

In addition to aesthetics and budget considerations, it’s crucial to research various shingle brands, as each manufacturer may offer unique features such as algae resistance or solar reflectivity that could impact your choice.

Determining Budget Considerations

Budgetary concerns will be a key factor in selecting the most suitable asphalt shingle for your project.

While three-tab shingles tend to be less expensive upfront, they may not offer the same long-term value as architectural shingles due to their shorter lifespan and lower resistance to wind damage. In contrast, opting for higher-grade architectural shingles can lead to a roof that will last longer and require less upkeep in the future.

When comparing costs, be sure to factor in not only the price of materials but also any additional expenses related to installation or necessary repairs down the line.

Consulting with roofing professionals can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and budget constraints.

When selecting asphalt shingle types, it is important to consider both the budget and the aesthetic appeal of your roof. Installing appropriate underlayment materials and corrosion-resistant metal valley liners are essential for a successful installation process.

3. Laying Down Underlayment Materials

worker laying underlayment for asphalt roofing

Installing underlayment material is essential in protecting your roof from water infiltration.

Traditional asphalt-saturated felt can be used, as well as synthetic materials like self-adhering bituminous eaves flashing (note that self-healing underlayments may not be suitable for hot climates).

Corrosion-resistant metal valley liners should also be installed around valleys, plumbing stacks, and attic vents.

Selecting Appropriate Underlayment Material

The choice of the right underlayment material depends on various factors such as climate, local building codes, and roofing manufacturers’ recommendations. Some popular options include:

  • Felt paper: Also known as tar paper or asphalt-impregnated paper, this traditional option provides a good balance between cost-effectiveness and performance.
  • Synthetic materials: These are made from polypropylene or polyester fibers which offer increased durability compared to felt paper but at a higher price point.
  • Rubberized asphalt membranes: As an advanced option with superior waterproofing capabilities, these membranes come with a higher cost but provide excellent protection against leaks.

Installing Corrosion-Resistant Metal Valley Liners

In addition to selecting the appropriate underlayment material for your asphalt shingle roof installation project, it’s crucial to install corrosion-resistant metal valley liners in areas where two roof planes meet.

This added layer of protection helps prevent water intrusion into the vulnerable sections of your roofing system by directing runoff away from critical points such as valleys and joints around plumbing stacks and attic vents.

When installing metal valley liners, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the roof deck surface to ensure proper adhesion of the underlayment material.
  2. Apply a layer of self-adhering bituminous eaves flashing or other suitable waterproofing membranes in accordance with local building codes and manufacturer guidelines.
  3. Position the metal valley liner over the membrane, ensuring it extends at least 12 inches up each side of the valley. Secure it using roofing nails spaced approximately 6 inches apart along both edges.

Taking care to properly install underlayment materials and corrosion-resistant metal valley liners will help safeguard your investment in an asphalt shingle roof by providing added protection against water infiltration and potential damage from ice dams during harsh weather conditions.

It is important to select the appropriate underlayment material for your asphalt shingle roof, as this will ensure proper protection and longevity. Furthermore, it is essential to properly align starter course installations and utilize ice & water shield products for added protection against potential ice dams.

4. Starter Course Installation & Ice Dam Protection

Before you begin installing your asphalt shingles, it’s essential to properly install the starter course and ice dam protection. These steps not only ensure proper alignment of subsequent courses but also provide added protection against potential ice dams that could lead to leaks later on.

Properly Aligning Starter Course Installations

The first step in installing an asphalt shingle roof is laying down the starter course along the eaves. This initial row of shingles should be installed with their tabs facing up, and they should overhang the drip edge by about 1/4 inch. Make sure that this row is straight and level so that all following rows will align correctly as well.

  • Cut off half a tab from your first starter shingle for proper staggering of joints between courses.
  • Nail each starter strip securely using roofing nails at least 6 inches apart (follow manufacturer guidelines).
  • Maintain a consistent overhang throughout installation for optimal water drainage.

Utilizing Ice & Water Shield Products for Added Protection

In colder climates or areas prone to heavy snowfall, adding ice dam protection can help prevent damage caused by melting snow refreezing at your roof’s edges. To do this, install an ice & water shield product directly onto the roof deck before laying down underlayment materials like asphalt-saturated felt or synthetic alternatives. Ensure these products are compatible with chosen field-shingle types.

  1. Select an appropriate ice & water shield product based on local building code requirements – consult a professional if unsure.
  2. Install the ice & water shield along eaves, valleys, and other vulnerable areas where ice dams may form.
  3. Overlap each layer of the shield by at least 2 inches to create a watertight seal.

In addition to these steps, it’s crucial to maintain proper attic insulation and ventilation. This helps regulate the temperature in your home while preventing warm air from causing snowmelt on your roof surface which can lead to ice dam formation.

Now that you have installed the starter course and ice dam protection, it’s time to install the asphalt shingles. There are different types of asphalt shingles available in the market, including three-tab shingles and architectural shingles. Choose the shingle brand and type that suits your roofing needs and budget.

Installing Asphalt Shingles

Start installing the shingles from the bottom of the roof, working your way up. Each shingle should overlap the previous one by about 6 inches. Nail each shingle with roofing nails, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Use four nails per shingle, and make sure they are driven in straight and flush with the shingle surface.

man installing asphalt shingle

When you reach the ridge of the roof, install ridge shingles or ridge caps to cover the peak. These shingles are specially designed to fit the angle of the roof and provide a finished look. Nail each ridge shingle securely, and overlap them to create a watertight seal.

After you have installed all the shingles, inspect your newly shingled roof for any gaps or lose shingles. Make sure that all the shingles are securely fastened and that there are no exposed nail heads. Finally, clean up the roofing work area and dispose of any debris properly.

By following these steps, you can install asphalt shingles on your roof and enjoy a durable and long-lasting roofing system. Remember to use high-quality roofing materials from reputable roofing manufacturers and install them correctly for optimal performance.

When installing the starter course, it is important to ensure that all shingles are properly aligned and secured. Additionally, ice & water shield products should be utilized for added protection against potential damage from snow or rain. Moving on to field shingle installation and step flashing techniques, proper nail placement must be observed in order to guarantee a secure roof system.

5. Installing Field Shingles and Step Flashing

Once you have prepared the roof deck, chosen your asphalt shingle type, laid down underlayment materials, and installed the starter course with ice dam protection if necessary, it’s time to install field shingles. This process involves proper nail placement and using step flashing around roof penetrations for added protection against leaks.

Proper Nail Placement in Asphalt Shingle Installation

Nailing is a crucial aspect of asphalt shingle installation, as improper nailing can lead to issues such as water infiltration or even blow-offs during high winds. To ensure correct nail placement:

  • Use corrosion-resistant roofing nails that meet your local building codes and are recommended by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA).
  • Nails should be placed flush with but not cutting into the shingle surface.
  • Avoid placing nails too close to edges or joints between adjacent shingles.
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines on specific nailing patterns for different types of asphalt roofing products like three-tab or architectural shingles.

Using Step Flashing Around Roof Penetrations

To prevent leaks around chimneys, skylights, dormers, plumbing stacks, attic vents or other protrusions through your newly installed asphalt roof surface:

  1. Select appropriate flashing material: Pick durable metal flashings like aluminum or copper that are compatible with both your chosen roofing material and any surrounding surfaces (e.g., brick chimneys).
  2. Install step flashing: Step flashing should be interwoven with each course of shingles, ensuring a watertight seal around the roof penetration. Accurately measure and safely install step flashings in accordance with instructions for best results.
  3. Maintain and inspect flashings regularly: Regularly check your step flashings for signs of damage or corrosion that could lead to leaks, and replace them as needed.

Taking accurate measurements and following proper safety precautions are essential during this phase of asphalt shingle installation. Attention to detail is key for the longevity of your roofing system, guaranteeing it will shield you from inclement weather for many years.

It is essential to understand the importance of proper nail placement in asphalt shingle installation and step flashing around roof penetrations for a successful roofing job. Roof maintenance and inspections are also important, as they can help identify common signs of wear or damage before it becomes an issue.

6. Install Ridge Caps

When it comes to installing asphalt shingle roofs, the final step is to install ridge caps. These are specially designed shingles that cover the peak of the roof and provide a finished look while also protecting against leaks.

Preparing for Installation

ridge cap

Prior to installation, make sure you have all necessary materials on hand including ridge cap shingles, roofing nails, and any required ice dam protection or underlayment. The installation temperature should be above 40°F (4°C) for proper adhesion.

The Installation Process

  1. Cut each ridge cap shingle in half lengthwise using a utility knife.
  2. Nail one half of the first ridge cap shingle at one end of the roof peak with two roofing nails placed near either edge of the shingle. Make sure to leave a small overhang on both sides.
  3. Nail another half-shingle next to it in line with its center point and repeat this process until reaching the other end of your roof’s peak.
  4. Begin nailing full-length cut pieces from opposite ends towards each other so they overlap by about an inch (2-3 cm).

Tips for Success

  • To prevent water penetration through nail holes, use sealant around each nail head as you go along.
  • If possible, avoid walking directly on newly installed ridge caps since they may not yet be fully adhered.


properly installing asphalt shingle roofs requires attention to detail throughout every stage of work: from preparing your roof deck beforehand down through finishing touches like adding new ridges atop completed projects.

This can be achieved by using high-quality roofing materials and following the manufacturer’s instructions. With proper installation, asphalt shingle roofs can last for decades without issue.

If you’re considering replacing your old roof or need assistance with any other roofing projects contact us at Lone Wolf Renovations. Our team has extensive experience in providing quality services that meet customer needs while keeping budgets in mind.