How to Replace Roof Shingles like the Pros [DIY Guide]
While an asphalt shingle roof can last upwards of 25 years, you may find yourself with damaged or missing shingles. Although it’s best to contact a professional for this type of project, you might be wondering how to replace roof shingles, especially if your home sustained hurricane roof damage or damage from another type of storm.
If you need to repair asphalt shingles, there are three main types to choose from: fiberglass asphalt, 3-tab asphalt, and architectural-style asphalt. You may not know what kind of shingle replacement you need, which is another reason to contact a professional roofer. When selecting replacement shingles, ensure the roof shingle colors you choose match your existing roof.
However, this helpful guide explains how to replace shingles on your roof along with other roof repair tips, so be sure to keep reading for information you won’t want to miss.
Prepare to Replace Shingles
Once you decide to replace missing or damaged shingles, you’ll need to consider a few things. Ask yourself the following: “How old is my roof?” If it’s 20 to 25 years old, it’s probably best to contact professionals to discuss a roof overlay vs. tear off.
They’ll also explain when to replace a roof so you don’t spend time and money on temporary repairs when your roof has a larger issue lurking beneath the surface.
If you decide to replace the shingles yourself, here’s what you’ll need:
- Hammer (or nail gun)
- Roofing nails
- Pry bar (flat)
- Extension ladder
- Caulk gun
- Asphalt mastic in a caulk tube
- Utility knife with a hook blade
- Types of shingles that match the existing roof
- Wire or bungee cords
You should know how to tarp a roof, as this step temporarily stops leaks and prevents the elements from damaging your home.
Prepare the Area
Begin by setting up your ladder. One of the most important roof maintenance tips is to ensure your ladder has a firm footing with an angle of a 4:1 ratio. You may need someone to securely hold the ladder in place for you, but you should always secure the ladder to your home with a bungee cord so it doesn’t slip, driving nails into your roof to fasten the wire or cord. The ladder should extend at least 3 feet above your roof’s edge.
You should also give yourself plenty of time to complete this project, especially if you’re wondering “How long does it take to replace a roof?” When replacing asphalt shingles on an entire roof, it may take anywhere from one to three days, if not longer when working alone or without experience. This is another excellent reason to hire a professional— they complete roofing jobs promptly.
Remove Any Damaged Shingles
If you’re wondering how to remove shingles, this is where the flat pry bar comes into play. Use your pry bar to break the strips of sealant around the damaged area. You’ll need to insert the pry bar underneath the bottom of the damaged shingle and apply enough pressure to break it free from the sealant strip.
Once you separate the sealant strip, begin removing any nails from the broken shingle using the pry bar. You should also remove nails from the surrounding shingles so the replacement shingle can easily slide into place (when only replacing one shingle in an area).
How to Cut Shingles
Here are some pro roof replacement tips: always have a shingle cutter or utility knife on hand. This is helpful when cutting shingles.
You should also have protective gloves for your hands to avoid the risk of injury. You may need to cut shingles to fit them in hard-to-reach areas, such as around small vents or pipes.
Inspect Your Roof Deck
Part of your roof inspection checklist should include assessing your roof deck and fixing any issues. You can only do this once the damaged shingles and nails have been removed.
Do you see any damage to your underlayment felt paper or your roof deck? If so, you’ll need to repair these layers before installing new roof shingles. However, this type of damage should be evaluated by a professional, so always contact the pros if you find yourself wondering how to replace roof shingles cause by exterior damage.
When a roof deck is damaged, you’ll also have to replace a significant amount of the surrounding shingles. You’ll need to remove a good portion of the underlayment so the roof’s plywood surface is exposed by at least two rafters. There should be enough room to install a large piece of roof deck spanning across two rafters at minimum.
When you learn how to shingle a roof, you may encounter issues like these which is why it’s difficult to have every material possible. You’ll need to account for trips to the hardware store to replace any unforeseen parts of your roof that may have been damaged during a storm or from the elements.
Once you remove the deteriorated deck from your roof, you can install new decking, checking it’s the same thickness as the existing decking. Attach it to the rafters using screw-type fasteners or nails.
If your roof deck was damaged, you’ll need to replace any damaged underlayment. Use roofing nails or staples to attach the underlayment to your repaired roof deck.
Your underlayment must meet the requirements of your local building code(s) and, although you can contact your local municipality for this information, it’s best to defer to the professionals for this type of job.
Install Your New Asphalt Shingles
Now you’re ready to install your new asphalt shingles. After you cut your replacement shingles to fit any tough-to-reach areas, you can attach them using roofing nails.
Pro tip: don’t nail the new shingle into the hole previously used. Always place nails under the tab of the shingle above the one you’re replacing so there aren’t any exposed nails.
Fasten and Secure Your Shingles
The last step in replacing asphalt shingles is to fasten the shingles surrounding the ones you just replaced, especially if you removed their nails. You should also apply a small drop of asphalt mastic beneath the new shingle’s tabs or under any loosened shingles. Since you removed the sealant strip, the asphalt mastic gives those shingles extra adhesive.
Rely on a Professional
Now that you know how to replace roof shingles, you’ll be prepared if your roof sustains minor damage. However, you should always defer to professionals for any type of roof repair service. Although this DIY guide seems straightforward, roofing is a challenging job that should be left to licensed and insured professionals.
Avenue Roofing can help. We offer inspections, assessments, and reroofing for all your needs. Contact us today to learn more.