If you want to add aesthetic appeal to your roof, install architectural shingles. Architectural shingles are stronger than standard asphalt shingles, since they have a thicker matted back made from a mix of asphalt and fiberglass materials.

They also can withstand strong winds and guard against water seepage better than standard shingles. A novice can install the shingles by following these guidelines.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • extension ladder or scaffold
  • broom
  • tape measure
  • utility knife
  • shovel or shingle ripper
  • hammer or nail gun
  • one and a half-inch galvanized roofing nails
  • tin snips (optional)
  • metal flashing (optional)
  • roof felt
  • roofing tar
  • trowel
  • ridge vent
  • architectural shingles

Set an extension ladder or scaffold on flat ground. For additional safety, use a roofing harness to prevent falls. Ensure the roof is safe to walk on, and inspect it for water damage and damaged flashing around vents and chimneys.

Use a broom to sweep debris, Measure the roof to figure how much felt and shingle bundles are needed. It commonly takes three bundles to cover a ten by ten roofing area.

Remove Existing Shingles

Determine the number of shingle layers. If the roof has one shingle layer, you will be able to lay the shingles on top of it.

If you are replacing shingles on a roof with more than one layer, remove the top layer of shingles. You won't be able to reuse the underlayment. Use a shovel or shingle ripper to remove the shingles. Hammer in protruding nails of existing shingles.

Install Felt

A new roof construction or more than one layer of shingles calls for new felt. Self-adhesive felt can be installed much faster. Otherwise, nail it down on the roof.

Attach roofing felt to the lower edge along the decking. Cut the felt to fit around dormers, valleys and other obstructions. Overlap felt layers slightly.

Lay the Shingles

Replace metal flashing, or install it on a new roof. Trim the flashing with tin snips, and fold it in half, then unfold it. Nail the flashing around vents, valleys (where two roof sections meet) and chimneys.

Install a layer of starter shingles on the lower edge of the roof. Starter shingles may be bought separately from the other shingles, or made by cutting two inches from the top of shingles with the utility knife. Sloped roofs may call for additional nails in the shingles.

Architectural shingles need longer nails to go through the thickness. Hammer in the first row of shingles, so the tabs contact the lower roof edge.

Each shingle usually requires three nails: a nail on each side, and one four inches from the middle. Check the manufacturer's suggestion for the overhang.

Lay the second row with an overlap. Pour roofing tar in a trowel, and apply a generous amount to chimneys and vents. Continue in the same manner until all shingles are laid, nailing in ridge vents at the peak.

Installing shingles yourself saves money. If you don't trust your skill, or the roof is seriously damaged, contact a roofer.