Replacing old roof shingles for beginners

Congratulations on your new home ownership! Owning a house is an amazing experience, and you likely want to do everything that you can to keep up on any repairs to keep it in good shape for many years to come.  When you purchased your home, you likely had a roof inspection done as part of your purchase, so you are starting off knowing exactly what kind of shape your roof is in. The key to saving yourself hundreds of dollars on expensive roofing repairs is to keep up the maintenance of your roof by replacing old and worn shingles as they age with new ones. This will help to prevent leaks and also extend the amount of time in between complete roof replacements. A few handy tips for beginners to roof maintenance are:

  1. Stay safe. Do not climb up on your roof during poor weather. If it is snowy or icy, just stay away until it melts.
  2. Do not use a ladder that is too short. Sure, you may be able to get yourself up on the roof using that wobbly painter’s ladder, but getting down may be a different story.
  3. Do not try to go it alone. Have a partner or friend there to secure your ladder while you are up on your roof and pass you the tools that you need. If for any reason you do injure yourself while you are up there, you will want someone else there as well. There is also no shame in using a harness or rope to secure yourself while you are up there.
  4. Use the right tools. If you are going to be nailing in new shingles, make sure that you are using the right kinds of nails in order to ensure a good and secure fit.

Now that safety is covered, let’s go through the steps of replacing a roofing shingle:

  1. Identify worn out shingles. Look for ones that are torn, cracked or losing the granules on them.
  2. Remove the old shingle. It can be tempting to just nail the new shingle over the top of the old one for “extra protection” but roofing contractors warn against doing this. It can actually cause the new shingles to not lay flat and wear out even faster. Take the extra time to pull out the old shingle first.
  3. Make sure that the new shingles match the old ones. You want your roof to look like one uniform structure, even though it is made up of many individual pieces of shingles. If your roofer did not leave any extra shingles at the house when the last roof replacement was done, then you may be able to find extras at a hardwood store or even by contacting your roofing contractor. You can also try contacting outlet providers that work with building materials.
  4. Four nails. Do not skimp when it comes to actually attaching the shingle to your roof. Use at least four nails, one in every corner and more if you feel the need.