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How to Shingle a Shed

By Edited Dec 29, 2015 1 0
How to Shingle a Shed
Credit: mjpyro

If you have ever built an outdoor shed, you know when you get a roof over your head, it almost feels like you are finished. However, when it is time to install shingles, you need to keep your focus so you can finish the shed on time. I know you can see the light at the end of the tunnel because you have four walls and a roof in place, but if you want everything you stay dry inside, pay attention to the details of laying shingles.

There is a standard process of overlapping each one so that they work with the pitched roof to move water off of your roof line and keep it from damaging your wood structure below.

Each shingle is 36 inches long and 12 inches wide. At the lower end are three tabs coated with a layer of pieces of gravel and stone. Just above the tabs are rows of black tar sealant which when heated will soften to bind the layers of shingles together so they do not flap upward during high winds.

Shingling begins with a starter row at the bottom of the roof line, then that line is covered with another row on top of it.

Why cover the starter row?

Between the tabs is a space about 3/8 of an inch wide. If it weren’t for the start strip, water would flow down through these gaps and onto the tar paper below on the roof sheathing, typically Oriented Strand Board (OSB).

Most professional roofers recommend that you cut off the tabs on the starter strip and throw them away. Put the rest of the shingles on with the cut edge overlapping the eaves and gutter apron if you installed them on your shed. Dividing the shingles in half brings the self-sealing adhesive closer to the lower edge of the roof so when you put the first course over the starter strip, the adhesive will help seal the lower edge of the roof.

To begin installing shingles on your storage shed, you will need several batches of shingles which usually come in batches of 20. A normal sized shed will take about four, maybe five of these batches. They are heavy so be careful when picking each one up.

Also, pick up some roofing nails, asphalt roofing cement and a roll of felt paper to lay down before beginning.

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How to Shingle a Roof

The following step-by-step process assumes that you have already rolled felt paper on the roof before beginning any shingling. The tar paper will help protect against any moisture should any get through but it also provides more resistance to hold nails in place when nailing through the shingles into the OSB on the roof.

  1. Begin a starter strip by cutting off the tabs of the first row of shingles with a roofing knife.
  2. Next, cut 6 inches off one end of a shingle and place it on the roof with the cut edges overlapping the rake edge and eave bottom by at least an inch to allow water run off. Nail the shingle in place with galvanized roofing nails.
  3. For the next shingle on the starter row, put the full length on the first row next to the one you just nailed in place. Continue this process until you have a starter row all the way across the roofline of the shed.
  4. Put a shingle on the roof over the start strip so that the lower edge overlaps the gutter (if any) apron at the eaves.  Do not nail it in place. You are using it to snap a chalk line as a guide. Basically you want this shingle on top of the starter shingle to hang over the edge of the roof line about ¾ of an inch.
  5. Then measure from the edge of the roof to the top of the shingle and snap a chalk line this distance from the edge along the entire length of the roofline.
  6. Apply the first shingle of the first course beginning at the edge and staring with a full shingle.
  7. Position the shingle to overhang the eaves by ¾ of an inch, then nail it in place with four galvanized nails.
  8. Once the first shingle is secured over the starter row, move up to the second course of second instead of continuing on across the roof line with the first course. There are a couple of reasons why you want to do it this way. First, if helps you align the shingles properly but it also keeps you from having to constantly move across the roof line.
  9. For the second course, but 6 inches off the end of a shingle and align it to the bottom edge of the shingle with the top of the cutouts in the first shingle. Nail it in place.
  10. So now you have two shingles in place for the first two courses. Now start the third course.
  11. This time, take the shingle and cut 12 inches off the end. The reason for this is you want to keep the tabs staggered along the roof so that water will not simply enter where tabs are lined up.
  12. Align the edge with the roofline and the bottom with the top of the cutouts in the shingle below it. Nail it in place.
  13. Continue up the roof line this way trimming each shingle by 6 inches until you reach the 6th course (assuming your roof is that big).
How to Shingle a Shed
Credit: mjpyro

Finishing the Last Rows

After the 6th course, you will not cut any length off the 7th course shingle. Once you have made it to the peak of the roof, return to the lower edge of the roofline.

Put a full length shingle next to the first course shingle and nail it in place. Repeat the process as before working your way up the roof nailing a single full length single next to each one already in place.

After you complete the 6th course, nail a full length shingle in place to start the 7th course (if necessary. Measure and snap a chalk line at the 7th course to make sure the row is straight.

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Final Thoughts

How to Shingle a Shed
Credit: mjpyro

When I built my 10 x 10 shed, I believe I ended up with 11 courses of shingles up to the peak of the roof. A typical 8 x 8 shed will probably only have eight or nine courses, but you can use that to estimate how many bags/boxes of shingles you will need.

As I said, they come in batches of 20 and they are 36 inches long and heavy so be careful when picking them up.  Also, if you do buy more than you think you will need, only open the packages as you need them so you can return the unopened batches.

Building a shed roof is not difficult. Obviously you want to complete a roof on a shed in one day in case it rains, and this type of project can definitely be done in that time. But if you cannot get it finished, just put a blue tarp over the unfinished part and weight it down with some shingle packs to hold it in place.

How to Lay Shingles



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