How to Install Three-tab Shingles Part 1 of 3

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If you want to install asphalt shingles on your roof, then you’re in good company. Asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles, are the roofing of choice for nearly four out of five homeowners in America. They perform well in all types of climate, are available in a multitude of colors, shapes, and textures to complement every housing design, and are less expensive than most other roofing products.

 

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Overview

If you want to install asphalt shingles on your roof, then you’re in good company. Asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles, are the roofing of choice for nearly four out of five homeowners in America. They perform well in all types of climate, are available in a multitude of colors, shapes, and textures to complement every housing design, and are less expensive than most other roofing products.
Asphalt shingles are available as either fiberglass shingles or organic shingles. Both types are made with asphalt, the difference being that one uses a fiberglass reinforcing mat, while the other uses a cellulose-fiber mat. Fiberglass shingles are lighter, thinner, and have a better fire rating. Organic shingles have a higher tear strength, are more flexible in cold climates, and are used more often in northern regions.
Although the roofing market has exploded with innovative new asphalt shingle designs, such as the architectural or laminated shingle that offers a three-dimensional look, the standard three-tab asphalt shingle is still the most common, which is the project we’re featuring here. The tabs provide an easy reference for aligning shingles for installation.
To help the job get done faster, rent an air compressor and pneumatic roofing gun. This will greatly reduce the time you spend nailing.
Stagger shingles for effective protection against leaks. If the tab slots are aligned in successive rows, water forms channels, increasing erosion of the mineral surface of the shingles. Creating a 6" offset between rows of shingles—with the three-tab shingles shown above—ensures that the tab slots do not align.
From: Complete Guide to Roofing, Siding & Trim, 978-1-58923-418-5

What You'll Need

Tools:

Aviation snips
Carpenter’s square
Chalk line
Flat bar
Roofer's hatchet or pneumatic nailer
Utility knife
Straightedge
Tape measure
Chalk gun
Flashing
Shingles
Nailing cartridges
Roofing cement
Roofing nails (7⁄8", 11⁄4")
Rubber gasket nails

Materials:

Aviation snips
Carpenter’s square
Chalk line
Flat bar
Roofer's hatchet or pneumatic nailer
Utility knife
Straightedge
Tape measure
Chalk gun
Flashing
Shingles
Nailing cartridges
Roofing cement
Roofing nails (7⁄8", 11⁄4")
Rubber gasket nails

 

Step 1

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Cover the roof with felt paper and install drip edge. Snap a chalk line onto the felt paper or ice guard 11 1⁄2" up from the eaves edge, to mark the alignment of the starter course. This will result in a 1⁄2" shingle overhang for standard 12" shingles. Tip: Use blue chalk rather than red. Red chalk will stain roofing materials.


Step 2

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Trim off one-half (6") of an end tab on a shingle. Position the shingle upside down, so the tabs are aligned with the chalk line and the half-tab is flush against the rake edge. Drive 7⁄8" roofing nails near each end, 1" down from each slot between tabs. Butt a full upside-down shingle next to the trimmed shingle, and nail it. Fill out the row, trimming the last shingle flush with the opposite rake edge.


Step 3

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Apply the first full course of shingles over the starter course with the tabs pointing down. Begin at the rake edge where you began the starter row. Place the first shingle so it overhangs the rake edge by 3⁄8" and the eaves edge by 1⁄2". Make sure the top of each shingle is flush with the top of the starter course, following the chalk line.


Step 4

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Snap a chalk line from the eaves edge to the ridge to create a vertical line to align the shingles. Choose an area with no obstructions, as close as possible to the center of the roof. The chalk line should pass through a slot or a shingle edge on the first full shingle course. Use a carpenter’s square to establish a line perpendicular to the eaves edge.


Step 5

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Use the vertical reference line to establish a shingle pattern with slots that are offset by 6" in succeeding courses. Tack down a shingle 6" to one side of the vertical line, 5" above the bottom edge of the first-course shingles to start the second row. Tack down shingles for the third and fourth courses, 12" and 18" from the vertical line. Butt the fifth course against the line.


Step 6

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Fill in shingles in the second through fifth courses, working upward from the second course and maintaining a consistent 5" reveal. Slide lower-course shingles under any upper-course shingles left partially nailed, and then nail them down. Tip: Install roof jacks, if needed, after filling out the fifth course.


Step 7

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Check the alignment of the shingles after each four-course cycle. In several spots on the last installed course, measure from the bottom edge of a shingle to the nearest felt paper line. If you discover any misalignment, make minor adjustments over the next few rows until it’s corrected.


Step 8

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

When you reach obstructions, such as dormers, install a full course of shingles above them so you can retain your shingle offset pattern. On the unshingled side of the obstruction, snap another vertical reference line using the shingles above the obstruction as a guide.


Step 9

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Shingle upward from the eaves on the unshingled side of the obstruction using the vertical line as a reference for re-establishing your shingle slot offset pattern. Fill out the shingle courses past the rake edges of the roof, then trim off the excess.


Step 10

How to Install Three-tab Shingles

Trim off excess shingle material at the V in the valley flashing using a utility knife and straightedge. Do not cut into the flashing. The edges will be trimmed back farther at a slight taper after both roof decks are completely shingled.


 
 

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