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DIY Roofing Tips – Shingles

In today’s do it yourself world, roofing jobs can easily be completed by following a few simple steps.  Replacing shingles and re-roofing the area as a do it yourself project will help you save both time and money, and by taking some time to familiarize yourself with the instructions and do it yourself process, you will definitely be able to complete your roofing project successfully.

Important Points to Note

When working on roofs of any kind, it is extremely important that you follow safety precautions, use common sense, and work with a partner or a team.  Using a strong secure ladder will ensure your safety as well.  If your roof is located near power lines or television antennas, you will want to use extreme caution in order to avoid shock, and always wait until the weather is warm and dry.  Additionally, you want to make sure to wear durable rubber soled shoes in order to avoid slipping, and if the roof is sloped, it is always a good idea to use roof brackets, as they will provide extra support for your feet.

Materials You Will Need

Roofing shingles.  These are sold in squares that consist of three to four bundles a piece. You can easily determine the amount of shingles you will need by dividing the square footage of the roof by 100.  It is always a good idea to purchase and extra bundle of shingles to allow room for error.

Nails.  For each square of shingles, you will need between 2 and 2 ½ pounds of galvanized nails.  12 gauge is preferred, but you can also go by the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Roofing felt. For both roof repairs and new jobs, you will need to purchase an appropriate amount of 15-lb felt that is adequate enough to cover the entire roof. (underneath shingles) Additionally, for edges, flashings, and ridges, you will need roofing cement.  All supplies can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store.

 Pre-Roofing Steps

Once you have selected your shingles and have gathered all the supplies you need, you will want to take a few steps to ensure that your new shingles lay flat and secure.  While you can easily lay asphalt shingles over practically any roof, it is important to remove any old layers of roofing beforehand if there are any more than three.  You will also want to make any minor repairs the roof structure may need before proceeding, as well as drive down or remove any loose nails.

How To Lay Shingles In Roof Valleys

When the two roofs join together at an angle, this is what is known as a roof valley.  It is important to pay extra attention when applying shingles to this particular area, as even the slightest mistake can leave the area prone to leaks.

The first step is to cover the area with roll roofing material that is mineral surfaced.  You will then want to place an 18″-wide strip or metal flashing pointing downward the center of the  roof valley, starting with the eaves and ending at the top of the ridge.  Only nail the material down on the outer edges, and make certain that the material stays completely flat in the roof valley.

You will then want to place your roofing cement evenly along each edge of the roof and follow with laying down a 36″ -wide strip of roofing material on top of the previous strip.  Follow up by nailing down the outer edges.

Down the edge of the valley, you will want to snap down two chalk lines.  You will want to start at the ridge, making sure the lines are completely centered in the valley and are exactly 6″ apart.  You will want to spread the lines apart as you make your way down the roof, all the way down to the eaves.

Applying the Shingles

Once you have completed the above steps, you are ready to lay down the shingles.  You will want to lay them directly down next to the chalk line edges, then you will need to cut them accordingly.

Once everything is lined up properly, you will next want to insert the end of each shingle into a fair amount of roofing cement, as this will ensure that the shingles are properly sealed before you nail them into their final position.  It is important to remember not to nail the shingles any closer than 6″ away from the chalk lines.

The next step is to locate the roof’s center and mark it with chalk.  Once the chalk line is ready, you will install a starter strip directly along the bottom edge of your roof.  If starter strips were not included with your shingles, you can easily create them by cutting the tabs off of your extra shingles and creating a starter strip from the shingle. First, locate the exact center of the roof and mark it with a chalk line.

You will know that the starter strip is correctly in place if it is projected over the gable and eaves by approximately 5/8″.  Once your starter strip is in place, you will want to mark the center of the roof again with a new chalk line.

Nail your first shingle after it is centered in the chalk line, on top of the starter strip.  Using four nails per shingle, you will want to make sure that the nails are driven straight into the shingle rather than at an angle, as this will help to avoid leaks.  The nails should be placed approximately 5/8″ up from the bottom part of each shingle.  You will want to continue to lay your shingles in this fashion until you get to the end of the roof (in both directions). It is important to note that each additional shingle should lightly touch the center shingle.

Laying shingles as a do it yourself project will help you save both money and time, and by following some easy step by step instructions and taking the proper safety precautions, you will be truly happy with the outcome of your DIY roofing project.

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