How to Install Shingles on a Roof

Shingle specifications to keep in mind

In this video, I’m gonna show you how to install an Owens Corning Duration Cool Shingle. We’re an Owens Corning Certified Platinum Contractor and prefer using Owens Corning products. However, if you’re installing a different shingle, make sure to check with the shingle manufacturer specifications to look at two things: number one is the placement of the shingles nails, it’s called the nailing zone on the shingle; and the second is the spacing of the nails. Each climate zone, each state has different requirements as far as the number of nails used and the type of shingle pattern you wanna be using. So we’re based in southern California, that’s what we’re roofing towards. The general concepts apply everywhere, but there are some details that you should look at, specific to your shingle and specific to your area. Let’s get into it and we’ll show you how.

How to start off installing shingles

Now that we’ve installed our starter strip, we’re ready to start installing our shingles. Even though shingle installation is not hugely complicated, there are a few nuances and things that we have to remember when installing a shingle. Being again that this is a demo roof, we’re gonna assume this is our rake here. We don’t have a clean end, but we’re gonna assume that this is our rake end. We always wanna start off with a full piece of shingle. We’re gonna be aligning it flush with our starter strip. If you don’t know how to install a starter strip, watch our previous video where we show you how to properly overhang it and we’re not finishing flush with our drip page.

Now, our first piece of shingle, we have to make sure that we’re properly overlapping it. If you watched our starter shingle video, you’ll notice that we cut the first piece of starter strip, and the reason for this is we never want this joint to align ’cause the water here will go through and pass this line. We always cut the starter strip six inches so that we have a proper overlap here of at least six inches, and we always wanna make sure that we don’t have nails installed in our starter strip at this joint. For example, if we were to line up like this, we have a nail head here, and any water coming into this cavity into that joint is gonna bleed through this nail head. So thankfully, we’ve properly installed our starter strip and we can install our full piece of shingle. We’ve got our overlap, and no nails. So we’re ready to get started.

Nailing pattern for shingles

Now, when installing a shingle, you wanna place four nails. Different areas have different nailing patterns. If you’re in a high wind area, tornados that have high speed winds, anything over 120 miles per hour, you generally wanna use eight nails or six, depending again, on the shingle manufacturer. But for our area, we’re installing four nails, and for this demonstration, it’ll be four. So the first nail, you wanna put it about an inch in from each side. Now, it’s very important that the nail heads are flush with this. If you over-drive your nails… I’m gonna show you an example right here. You can see here this is an over-driven nail. This is improperly nailed, you don’t want this. You wanna make sure that your nail head is flush. Most nail guns have an adjustment here, as well as the compressor settings. So let’s see how that looks. It’s still a little bit over-driven. There you go, that’s a properly driven nail.

Now, we’re installing Owen Corning shingles and we really like them because they have the SureNail strip. You can see here is a fiberglass manning on top of the shingle which gives you a good hold and most importantly, it tells you where to nail; you shouldn’t be nailing anywhere else besides the nail zone. Each shingle is a little bit different. Whether it’s OC or GAF, every shingle manufacturer has a different nailing zone, so please make sure to look at the proper installation instructions for the shingle that you’re installing.

How to create a staggered pattern when installing asphalt shingles

So now that we’ve installed our first shingle, we’re ready to install our second one. Now we’ve pre-cut these shingles to be staggered six inches. Now, this example that I did, this sample nail, is in an incorrect location. Again, you can see that it’s coming up right to our joint. So in a real world application, you wouldn’t want this. I was just showing you how to not install a roof. You wanna make sure that this top shingle here is flush with this and flush at the ends.

Now when you’re cutting your shingles, you wanna always make sure that the cut end is on the inside of your roof and not on the rake end, because your rake end is what’s gonna be exposed and needs to look nice. You want your cut ends to be jointed here. So again, when installing, place one nail about an inch from each side, and you can always use a nail gun to tap and make sure it’s aligned. So install the first two nails an inch from each side, then you wanna go 12 inches in. And the reason for that 12 inch is that you don’t have a nail when installing your third shingle.

We cut the shingles 6 inches in from each side. Again the cut end is on the inside, and the 12-inch spacing ensures that we don’t have a nail in this cavity right here. So we’ve got a good placing from this nail here, and a good placement from this nail. Again, we’re gonna align these shingles. Install nails one inch from this side, one inch from this side, then two nails placed about 12 inches. We’re insuring this placement is really the most important. You wanna have 12 inches here for your next shingle, and again, we’ve got our next shingle precut.

Now, on these shingles, when we’re down to less than 24 inches, you wanna place one on each end, and one in the middle, ensuring that you have no more than 12-inch spacing between nails. So we’ve got 12 inches here and 12 inches here, we have no need for the third nail.

Now we’ve installed our first row of shingles. You can see each one is cut back six inches and this allows us to properly continue the rest of the roof. And again, I wanna remind you, be careful with these kind of nails. Any time you’ve got a nail too close to that joint, you gotta replace this shingle to make sure that this nail is not in that place. But again, this being a mock roof, we’re gonna leave that in there and continue with the rest of the roof.

Really from here on out, it’s smooth sailing. We’ve already got a proper placement between shingles. You wanna butt that shingle up and again, we’re gonna go one inch from each side making sure that we don’t over-drive nails, then again, 12 inches in from each side.

Now, one trick you can do is, first install the one nail here. Then, being that you’ll only have one nail there, you can properly pivot this shingle. So if you’re installing a lot of times, we’ll just pop one nail there, properly align this, put one in the middle, then put our two nails in the center here.

The top 5 tips to remember when installing shingles

So those are the basic concepts when installing a shingle roof. I wanna go over a few of the most important things.

  1. First of all, it’s your staggered pattern, you wanna do 5 1/2 to 6 inches per shingle, staggering down, that’s gonna be on your first row.
  2. Always make sure to put your cut ends on the inside so that your clean ends are facing the street side.
  3. When installing the shingles, you wanna make that you don’t have nails in this gap right here. (at the joints).
  4. You want to make sure that your shingles are aligned.
  5. And most importantly, you wanna make sure that your nail heads are flush.

Those are pretty much the basic rules when installing shingles and basic things to look out for. I’m gonna ask the guys to give my hand to wrap up the rest of this roof.

How to install shingles at a hip on a roof

We’ve installed our shingles and we’re up to our hip right now. So in this area, what we like to do is overlap the first layer of shingles. That way when we’re installing shingles on this side, what we wanna do is bring it over here and cut it straight, so we don’t need this overlap. So install a nail just to keep it straight. Now, it’s not super important for this line to be perfectly straight because we’re gonna be installing our hip and ridge shingles in a later video, shortly.

How to install shingles at a rake on a roof

Now that we’ve come to the rake, I wanna show you how to properly cut and place these shingles over here. So this is our finished edge right here and we’ve got our shingles pre-cut. As I mentioned before, you always wanna make sure your cut edge goes on the inside and not on the outside. Whatever we do, we can never get a perfectly straight line just as a factory. So that’s why we always wanna make sure our cut edge is here, our clean edge is here, we’re aligning these properly. And rake installed. Being that this is a smaller shingle, we don’t need to do four nails. Really this is slightly more than 12 inches so I’m gonna add one nail right in the middle here. Now, our next shingle’s the same thing, pre-cut, we’ve cut it on this side and left the factory edge on the exterior, and we’re ready to install.

Now, one thing to be aware of, if in the case that if we were to come too close, you never wanna have a shingle that’s smaller than 6 inches. For example, if we were to end right here and we had 3 inches, we don’t wanna have too narrow of a strip ’cause that’s a danger that it’ll blow off. What we wanna do is cut this shingle; we would actually cut this back 3 inches and have a 6 inch piece here. So luckily, in this case, we were able to finish off with large pieces but keep in mind, you never wanna install narrow shingles ’cause those are easy to blow off.

Now that you’ve got the basics down for the shingle install, you wanna get into some of the other penetrations around pipe flashings, around different flashings, roof to wall, stuff like that, so tune in to our next video to see the continuation on how to properly install a shingle roof.