DIY Roofing

If your home needs a new roof there are a few options for getting the job accomplished. If you decide to hire someone it’s best to find a good roofing company, get an estimate from a roofing contractor, and then sit back to relax with a good book and let the roofers do their job. If you’re like me and believe you can do anything you put your mind to, you can always DIY. So, you decided to save a few bucks and do the roof repair yourself right? You have made the perfect choice young grasshopper. It’s your home, to begin with. Right? Being the good Samaritan I am I’m going to give you a few pointers I’ve learned along to way to help you complete your project seamlessly.

Installing starter strips

Starter strips prevent water from seeping through the gaps between the shingles. They are also the backing for the first row of shingles that are visible. Starter strips play a very important role in the longevity of your roof. I suggest using pre-cut strips vs a whole shingle. Do it this way to save you a few bucks and a lot of time. Let’s be honest, nobody wants to spend half the day cutting the shingle off of every starter strip, do they?

Start installing the shingles

In this process, you want to make sure that you start from the left corner working your way to the right, and then up the slope of the roof. To prevent water from getting on the sheathing of the roof, make sure that the gaps aren’t lined up. Line up the shingles so the tab notch ends aren’t directly over the gaps. If this process is not done properly it’s guaranteed to cause all sorts of damage to your roof.

Stagger the gaps

To accomplish this task, just cut the first shingle more in each row while working up the slope. In one row you make no cuts, the next row cut 6” off, the row after 12” are cut, and continue the process. Doing this properly makes the job look professional.

Cut the scrapes off the shingles

Cut the scrapes off the first shingles in the rows. The first shingle should overhang the edge about 1/8”. This is done so the water drips away from the perpendicular board called a fascia. Cutting scrapes help drastically reduce deterioration.

Drive your nails in

You want to place your nails below the tar strip. Using a pneumatic nail gun will get the job done fast but it has some crucial setbacks. For one, nail depth is very inconsistent. The head of the nail sometimes either tear into the shingle or the head of the nail sticks up a bit. Another problem you may encounter using a pneumatic gun is nails entering on an angle. A nailhead sticking up can tear shingles so be careful. Although it may take a little more time, for superior quality hand drive the nails.


Exposure is a roofing terminology used to show the amount of shingle that is not covered by shingles above it. If you have a roofing gun, on the bottom of it there should be a guide. The guide is used for accuracy when positioning shingles before driving your nails. If you have a piece of wood it can also be used as a guide. Set the guide against the first row of shingles and rest the next shingle on the contact foot of the gun. The goal is to create a uniform exposure.

Use flanges to seal plumbing vents and other penetrations

Take the bottom of the flange and lay it on top of the lower shingles. Position the upper edge of the flange underneath the upper shingles. When you cut the shingles, make sure it fits around the flange dome. Bond the shingles bordering the flange with roof tar. Also, a bond is added where the contour of the shingles and dome meet. Neaten the shingles at the vent hole and attach ridge caps with 2 nails. Use 3” roofing nails to fasten the ridge vent then place the ridge cap over the ridge vent. Once the ridge cap is above the ventilation nail the cap near the bands molded in the plastic. Bond the losses corners of the shingle with tar and your roof is finally complete.