nail gun on asphalt shingles

How to Go About Nailing Shingles on Your Roof

Your roof is your first line of defense against the elements, shielding your home and loved ones from rain, wind, and snow. Over time, however, wear and tear can take their toll, leading to:

  • Leaks 💧
  • Drafts 🥶
  • Structural damage 🏚️

One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining a sturdy and durable roof is proper shingle installation. Today, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about nailing shingles onto your roof, from recognizing signs that it’s time for a replacement to understanding the different types of asphalt shingles and the costs involved.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Roof

Before diving into shingle installation, it’s essential to assess whether your roof requires replacement. Here are some telltale signs that it might be time to invest in a new roof:

  • Age: Asphalt shingle roofs typically last between 20 to 30 years. If your roof is approaching or exceeding this lifespan, it’s prudent to start considering a replacement, even if there are no visible issues.
  • Missing or Damaged Shingles: Cracked, curled, or missing shingles are a clear indication of roof deterioration. These vulnerabilities can lead to water infiltration, compromising the integrity of your home’s structure.
  • Leaks and Water Damage: Water stains on your ceiling, dampness in the attic, or visible signs of water infiltration are red flags that your roof is no longer effectively repelling moisture.
  • Sagging Roof Deck: A sagging roof deck suggests significant structural damage, likely caused by water damage or compromised supports. It’s imperative to address this issue promptly to prevent further deterioration.
  • Granule Loss: Asphalt shingles protect your roof from UV rays and harsh weather, but over time, they can lose their protective granules, leaving them vulnerable to decay and deterioration.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

nailing in shingles

Once you’ve determined that your roof needs replacement, the next decision is whether to tackle the project yourself or hire a professional roofing contractor. Here are some factors to consider:

🔨 DIY Installation:

  • Cost Savings: DIY installation can be more cost-effective, as you’ll save on labor costs. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to invest time and effort into learning proper installation techniques and safety protocols.
  • Skill Level: Installing shingles requires precision and attention to detail. If you have experience with home improvement projects and feel confident in your abilities, DIY installation may be feasible.
  • Time Commitment: Roofing is a time-consuming endeavor, particularly for those with limited experience. Be prepared to dedicate several weekends to complete the project.
  • Safety Concerns: Working on a roof can be dangerous, especially without proper safety equipment and training. Ensure you have sturdy scaffolding, fall protection gear, and knowledge of OSHA safety guidelines.

👷🏼‍♂️ Professional Installation:

  • Expertise and Experience: Professional roofers have the training and experience to ensure a high-quality installation that adheres to industry standards. They can also identify and address underlying issues that DIYers might overlook.
  • Time and Convenience: Hiring professionals can expedite the installation process, minimizing disruption to your daily life. They’ll handle all aspects of the project, from materials procurement to cleanup.
  • Warranty Protection: Many roofing manufacturers offer warranties that require professional installation to remain valid. By hiring a certified contractor, you can ensure that your warranty remains intact, providing peace of mind for years to come.
  • Safety Assurance: Roofing professionals are well-versed in safety protocols and have the necessary equipment to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.

How to Properly Nail in Shingles 7 Steps

Proper nailing is crucial to the longevity and performance of your roof. Follow these steps to ensure your shingles are securely fastened:

1) Start with a Clean Surface:

Remove any debris, old shingles, and protruding nails from the roof deck to create a smooth, even surface for installation.

2) Lay a Starter Row:

Begin by installing a starter strip of shingles along the eaves of the roof. This provides a secure base for the first full row of shingles and helps prevent wind uplift.

3) Position Shingles Correctly:

Place each shingle according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring proper alignment and overhang. Use chalk lines or guidelines to maintain straight rows and uniform spacing.

4) Use the Right Nails:

Opt for corrosion-resistant roofing nails that are compatible with your shingle type and thickness. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for nail size and spacing.

5) Nail Placement:

Drive nails into the designated nailing zone, typically located just above the adhesive strip. Avoid overdriving or underdriving nails, as this can compromise shingle integrity.

6) Nail Quantity:

Most asphalt shingles require four nails per shingle, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for your specific product. Over- or under-nailing can affect wind resistance and warranty coverage.

7) Sealant Application:

For added protection against wind-driven rain, apply roofing cement or sealant to the nail heads. This helps prevent water infiltration and ensures a watertight seal.

Different Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in North America, valued for their affordability, durability, and versatility. Here are some common types of asphalt shingles:

  • Three-Tab Shingles: Traditional three-tab shingles are the most basic and budget-friendly option. They consist of a single layer of asphalt with notched tabs, providing a uniform appearance and adequate protection against the elements.
  • Architectural Shingles: Also known as dimensional or laminate shingles, architectural shingles are thicker and more durable than three-tab shingles. They feature a multi-layered design that mimics the appearance of natural wood or slate, adding depth and texture to your roof.
  • Designer Shingles: Designer shingles offer enhanced aesthetics and performance, often replicating the look of premium roofing materials such as cedar shake or clay tile. These high-end shingles come in a variety of styles, colors, and textures to complement any architectural style.
  • Impact-Resistant Shingles: Designed to withstand hail and severe weather, impact-resistant shingles feature a reinforced fiberglass mat and special polymer coatings. While more expensive than standard shingles, they provide added peace of mind in storm-prone areas.

Cost of Installing New Asphalt Shingles

hammering in shingles

The cost of installing asphalt shingles can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of your roof, the type of shingles selected, and labor rates in your area. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3 to $7 per square foot for materials and installation. Here’s a breakdown of the cost considerations:


The cost of asphalt shingles typically ranges from $0.80 to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the quality and brand. Higher-end shingles, such as designer or impact-resistant varieties, will incur additional expenses.


Roofing labor costs can vary widely based on geographic location, accessibility, and the contractor’s experience. Expect to pay between $2 to $5 per square foot for professional installation, though rates may be higher in metropolitan areas with higher living costs.

Additional Expenses:

In addition to materials and labor, you may need to budget for permit fees, disposal of old roofing materials, and any necessary repairs or modifications to the roof deck.

Warranty Coverage:

Some roofing manufacturers offer extended warranties that cover materials and workmanship for up to 50 years. While these warranties provide added protection and peace of mind, they may come with higher upfront costs.

Let A Professional Roofer Help With You Roofing Shingles

Nailing shingles onto a roof is a task that requires precision, patience, and attention to detail. By understanding the signs that indicate your roof needs replacement, choosing between DIY and professional installation, mastering proper nailing techniques, selecting the right type of asphalt shingles, and budgeting for installation costs, you can ensure a successful roofing project that enhances the durability, aesthetics, and value of your home.Don’t want to nail roofing shingles all on your own? Roof Medic can help!

Contact us today to learn which roof shingles are right for you.


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