How To Properly Shingle A Roof

Prepping the Roof 

I thought we would go over shingle application. Of course, this is on a flat table, but it’s the same principle. What we’re trying to do is to shed water away from the roof down to the drip edge of the roof. We’d start with a metal starter strip. We would put that on the bottom of the roof. Then your ice and water shield or self-adhering membrane goes on top of that. We’re not going to do that in this case, but just pretend that this would happen on top of this drip edge. Our metal may also go up the gable end of the roof.

Water, if it comes through the shingle, will land on the self-adhering membrane and it will drip over the edge. For the gable end, the ice and water shield and felt paper would be on the roof and then your metal roof edge would go over the top. If there was water that came in the side under your shingle it would travel over the drip edge and fall off. 

The Roof Shingles

Now we get into the meat and bones of what we’re here for. This is the roof shingle. This is what you’d call a typical 3-tab shingle. It has a self-adhering strip in the center and then a second band to hold the shingle from allowing water infiltration through the cuts of the edge. We use this on a roof but we also use it as a starter shingle. This would come down and cover that metal on the bottom of the roof by about a quarter of an inch and along the gable end. Some people will take another tab shingle and follow up the roof to give you a nice straight line. From underneath you wouldn’t see the edge of the roof. That gives you a nice look over the edge of the roof, it’s not completely necessary, but it’s a good roofing practice.

shingles from BP Canada

So these would be secured with nails. Most people are using air nails because it’s a whole lot quicker. So you would just secure that along the center of the shingle. Along the cement line of the roof. In this case you would put 4 nails in this shingle to secure the drip edge and then you would start with what’s called a laminate or architectural shingle for the body of the roof. It gives a nice effect. That would start again right over top of your starter shingle, and now you have a nice straight edge to follow. You follow that same line along the drip edge and along the gable end. Now there are no cut outs to follow so, most people will take a shingle and cut it up into 3 or 4 sections. In this case, we would cut it at three-quarter, half, and a quarter. The shingles are layered to give you a step. 

Securing The Shingles

Let’s take a step back to talk about securing the shingles. So the bottom row would be secured with either 4 or six nails, based on the application. If it was a really high windy area, we would want six nails. Typically it’s four nails. Two on the outside within two inches of the edge, then two equally spaced in the middle. If you were in a high wind area, the same on the edges, one nail on each end, then four equally spaced across the middle. 

So your next row going up the roof would be about ¾ of a shingle. You’d follow that same gable edge. Then line the bottom row up with the top of the lamination. It’s pretty simple, just line it up, use one nail on each edge, then a couple equally spaced in the middle. Then you go into your next row, using about half a shingle. We’ll follow the same procedure. Line it up with the gable edge, line it up with the bottom of the lamination, then secure it with a nail on each end and two evenly spaced in the middle. Your next row is about a quarter of a shingle. You can use the one piece that you cut off your three-quarter shingle, and repeat the steps for lining up and securing. You’ll continue roofing in this same pattern until your roof is complete. 

Hips and Ridges

Now that our roof is complete, we’ll do any hips or ridges with a cap shingle. You can see that this is a three-tab shingle that we’ve cut up into three pieces to make a cap shingle. Pretend this is a hip or ridge. This would be secured on either end with a nail then bent over to complete the roof. The next one would start at the top of the cut and then continue on. 

Now in order to keep this straight, what you would do, is figure out where the middle of the shingle is. You can see this little slot here telling you where the center of the shingle is. You would use a chalk line to snap a line up the shingle. Then you would simply follow one side of that chalk line. Then you’d secure the shingles. 

shingle diagram

The BP Difference

Jumping back to the product. You can see this is a little different, it has two chalk lines. Within that chalk line zone is where you want to place your nails. Like we mentioned earlier, if you’re in a high wind area, you’ll use six nails. This will give you high wind protection of over 200 km per hour for 15 years. That’s pretty windy. So we just want to make sure that you secure it properly so that when the winds come, your shingles have the nails to hold them in place. 

If you look at the back of the shingle, it’s a little different than some. It has two tape bands. Those tape bands keep the shingles from sticking together. In fact, it says right on the tape, do not remove. So, don’t take that tape off. It’s just there to keep the shingles from sticking together in the package. 

BP shingles have two bands of adhesive. That adhesive is there to help the shingles stay in place and guards against water infiltration around the nail head. The nail would come up through the center, and as a result of that second band of adhesive, water is prevented from getting to your nail head.  

Qualifying for BP’s 20 Year Warranty

This shingle here is called Mystic 42 – 42 means the length of the shingle – and it has a 20-year warranty for residential roofing. A 20-year full coverage warranty. To qualify, you have to use BP underlay. That’s our ice and water shield and our felt papers that say BP on them. And the shingles have to be installed on a properly vented roof using proper nailing. 

The lifetime warranty means you get 20 years coverage, and then it’s prorated to a small amount at the end of 40 years as long as you own the home. 

Things That Can Void The Warranty

We spoke earlier about the chalk bands on BP shingles. If the nails fall outside that chalk zone, then you wouldn’t qualify. Or, say for example you have a heated building, and you decided to just choke it off so that air can’t get up into the attic. The lack of ventilation would affect the longevity on that roof, and that would affect the warranty. Actually it would take it from a lifetime warranty to a ten-year warranty. So it’s good to do it right. 

To Hire A Professional Or Not?

Is roofing easy? No. I think it’s possible to do it yourself, but you have to have the roofing knowledge, and the height is often an issue, how steep your roof is. In some cases, a roof is too steep for typical applications. People that understand building, would understand that you can’t walk on a steep roof. You need special staging, you need fall protection at the edge, you need fall protection on your back – tethered into the roof, you need staging to walk on the roof. So that wouldn’t be the kind of roof you can do on your own. Some roofs you can walk on, in which case, a homeowner could do that. But you have to have the knowledge. Like if you’re going to do re-roofing, you have to properly strip that, deal with the garbage, etc. before you can even start the shingling process. It’s much much better if you can, to get a professional to deal with it.