15 Steps To Shingle A Roof (How To Do It Yourself!)

Shingling a roof is all about planning. Anything missed and any shortcuts can result in a leaky roof that won’t last very long. If you want a great roof that works exactly as it should, follow these steps:

  1. Find help
  2. Set up area
  3. Check for rot and damage
  4. Remove the peak
  5. Tear off the old roof 
  6. Remove the drip edges
  7. Remove flashings and any vents
  8. Do a final walkthrough
  9. Inspect the decking
  10. Install drip edges
  11. Install ice and water shields
  12. Apply underlayment/roofing felt paper
  13. Install new box vents (if applicable)
  14. Install shingles
  15. Apply the roof cap


Let’s go into more detail about each step.


  • Roof ladder and or safety harness with roof anchors
  • Pry bar
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Tin snips
  • Caulk gun
  • Staple gun
  • Dumpster (2 yds. per 100 sq.ft.)
  • Shingle knife and extra blades
  • Jig saw (or reciprocating saw)
  • 2“, 4“, 6“ putty knives
  • Gloves
  • Framing square
  • Roofing hammer
  • Chalk line
  • Extension ladder
  • Flat shovel
  • Circular saw


  • Shingles
  • Plywood (if deck repair is needed and to use to protect shrubbery)
  • Flashing cement
  • Tacks or staples
  • Waterproof underlayment/ice and water shield for colder areas
  • Starter rolls
  • Rake edge flashing
  • Valley flashing (if you have valleys)
  • Stack flashing/boots
  • Ridge vent (if not doing a box vent system)
  • Roofing nails
  • Box vents (If not doing a soffit and ridge vent system)
  • Drip edge
  • Soffit vents (if using the ridge and soffit vent system)
  • Roll roofing
  • Large tarps to catch falling debris from the tear off

Shingling Your Roof In 15 Steps

1. Find help

  • Re-roofing is no fun alone and can be dangerous
  • 2 people can, on average, remove 250 sq ft per day

2. Set up area

  • Dumpster close by (if close enough you can use tarp or plywood as a slide for waste)
  • Protect plants near your house by placing plywood at a diagonal over them
  • Lay tarps on the ground to catch debris

3. Check the fascia (the side edges where the roof ends) for rot and damage

4. Remove whatever holds the roof together at the top

  • If it’s a ridge vent (vent that goes along the top edges where the roof sides meet) use pry bars to remove it
  • If it’s a shingle cap use a shovel

5. Tear off the old roof by sliding a shovel beneath it and prying upwards

  • Start at the ridge and work down
  • Doing it in smaller sections helps control mess and damage from falling debris

6. Remove the drip edge (which guides water into the gutter) using shovels or pry bars

  • It’s a metal part right underneath the bottom edge of the roof and hangs down into the gutter

7. Remove flashings (metal parts that prevent leakage) and any vents (like a pipe or stack)

8. Do a final walkthrough to get anything leftover like shingles or nails

Picture by KDS4444 – license

9. Inspect the decking (plywood attached to rafters) and other wood for rot, sagging, and other damage

  • Make sure there are nails every 6” and that none are loose

10. Install drip edges

  • Use a 1” roofing nail to tack it down and place nails every 10”
  • Attach drip edges together by overlapping them by 1” and securing it on both edges with roofing nails

11. Install ice and water shields to eaves, valleys, box vent holes, stacks, chimney’s, dormers, and ridge areas

  • Check local building codes for proper coverage

12. Apply underlayment/roofing felt paper to the deck

  • Not directly over the ice and water shields unless specified by local building code
  • Start at the eave area over the ice and water shield and work your way up. Make sure you have 3” of overlap

Cropped picture by Melville – license

13. Install new box vents (if applicable)

  • Apply bead of caulk around the base of the vent
  • Press and create a seal
  • Nail the four corners and middle of each side
  • Apply flashing cement to seam and nails

14. Install shingles

  • Begin with the starter row
    • Measure a shingle-width up the roof from the eaves (the shingle must cover the drip edge)
  • Choose an outer edge and start installing your shingles (should be nail placements on shingle)
    • Completely cover the starter row, making sure ⅛” of shingle sticks out over the edge
    • Place nails about 1” inside the edge on each side near the corner and two nails between them spaced evenly apart
    • Lay in a stair/diagonal pattern and make sure they are offset (the lines don’t line up) so that it won’t leak
  • For the second row, cut 6” off the end shingle
  • Third row cut 12” off the end shingle and continue like this up the roof

15. Apply the roof cap

  • Place first shingle end even with the edge of the roof
  • Nail each side of the shingle to each side of the ridge
  • For the last shingle, use your shingle to cut the overlap part so it’s only half of a shingle. Use this part to cover the overlap part of the last exposed shingle
  • Place one nail on either side of the ridge and seal nails with cement

Picture by Brian Robinson – license

Cost To Shingle A Roof

Shingling a roof can cost anywhere from $2.75 – $7.50.

It depends on the type of shingle and roof, the location of your home, builder, and many other variables. The North East area prices usually range from $5 – 7.50

Types Of Shingles

The shingles we’re going to cover here are both made from asphalt. These are the 2 main types of shingles most homeowners use:

3-tab shingles: a thick layer of asphalt pressed down and then coated with granules. They lay flat and together to form a smooth, flat look.

  • Thinner blocks
  • Somewhat durable
  • Cheaper


Architectural shingles: compressing multiple layers of asphalt together to form an almost 3D look.

  • Thicker blocks
  • Very durable (decades)
  • More expensive

A New Roof Over Your Head

Installing new shingles on your roof can refresh the look of your home. It’s also a great time to look for places in your roof in need of repair. Not only can your roof look like new but it can function like new too. What will you refresh or change next?

You can learn about flooring for your interior >>