Guide to Installing Fiberglass Shingles

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Home Improvement

When installing fiberglass shingles, start from the bottom edge of the roof and work your way up.
iStockphoto.com/Andrew Nokes

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­If you find yourself replacing buckets every time it rains, it may be time to consider re-doing your roof. While roofing installation is usually done by professionals, if you’re up for a challenge or looking to save some money, you could try installing the roof yourself.

Here are some steps to help you install fiberglass shingles correctly, whether you’re putting up a new roof or re-shingling an existing one:

  • Ensure that you’re starting on a level surface. This means that the structure of your roof needs to be level. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the difference in depth between the supports should never be greater than a quarter inch (a few millimeters) [source: Hayes].
  • Your roof needs proper ventilation. Originally, roof vents were used to cut cooling costs and manage excess moisture, but it’s now believed that the cooling effect can help lengthen the life of your shingles [source: Hayes].
  • Many building materials, like wood, are affected by the weather, which can make the material contract. Therefore, it’s important to secure the roof panels with about an eighth of an inch (4 mm) of space between them. This will allow for the materials to contract and react to weather without having to bend or buckle [source: Hayes].
  • To protect your sheathing, lay felt down over it. Starting at the lowest edge of your roof, roll the felt along the edge, stapling it down. When you’ve gone all the way along the surface, start laying a new row directly above the old one, allowing each row to overlap a few inches (almost 10 cm). This will give an added measure of waterproofing [source: Do It Yourself].

Different shingles may require different installation methods, but the manufacturer should provide you with detailed directions and guidelines to aid you in your task. Generally, you will begin at the bottom by placing a sheet of shingles so that they hang over the edge of your roof. Staple the sheet down until you get about three-quarters of the way across the sheet. Leave the far end loose so you can slide the next sheet underneath before securing it in place. Place small globs of wind tab, or roofing cement, on the top of each shingle. The sun will melt the cement and stick the bottom of one shingle to the shingle that is overlapping it. After laying shingles from the bottom up, you may need to finish the job with ridge shingles to cover your edges and peaks [source: Hayes].

If this process sounds overwhelming, it may be best to hire a professional to ensure quality work. However, if you have your specific shingles picked out, be sure to check out the directions provided by the manufacturer as they will be more specific.

For more home repair and home improvement articles, check out the links on the next page.

Additional Information

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More Useful Links

  • Remodeling Magazine
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Sources

  • Do It Yourself. “Roofing 9 — Shingles.” (Accessed 12/14/2008).http://www.doityourself.com/stry/roofingshingles
  • Hayes, Kevin. “Roofing Done the Right Way.” (Accessed 12/14/2008).http://www.extremehowto.com/xh/article.asp?article_id=60280

FAQ

1. What are fiberglass shingles?

Fiberglass shingles are a type of roofing material made from a fiberglass mat, coated with asphalt and mineral granules. They are lightweight, durable, and resistant to moisture and fire. They are also available in a variety of colors and styles to match different architectural designs.

2. What are the advantages of fiberglass shingles over other roofing materials?

Fiberglass shingles have several advantages over other roofing materials. They are lightweight, easy to install, and require little maintenance. They are also resistant to moisture, fire, and UV rays, which makes them a durable and long-lasting roofing option.

3. How do I prepare my roof for fiberglass shingle installation?

Before installing fiberglass shingles, you need to ensure that your roof is clean, dry, and free of debris. Remove any old shingles, nails, and roofing felt. Repair any damaged areas, and replace any rotten wood. Install a moisture barrier and a drip edge to prevent water damage.

4. What tools do I need to install fiberglass shingles?

You will need a variety of tools to install fiberglass shingles, including a hammer, roofing nails, a utility knife, a chalk line, a roofing nail gun, and a ladder. You may also need a roofing shovel, a roofing nail puller, and a roofing cutter depending on the complexity of your roof.

5. How do I measure the amount of shingles I need?

To calculate the amount of shingles you need, you need to measure the area of your roof. Multiply the length and width of each section of your roof, and add them together to get the total area. Divide the total area by the coverage area of one bundle of shingles to get the number of bundles you need.

6. How do I install fiberglass shingles?

To install fiberglass shingles, start at the bottom of the roof and work your way up. Install a starter strip at the bottom edge of the roof, and then install the shingles in rows, overlapping each other. Use roofing nails to secure the shingles in place. Cut the shingles to fit around vents and other obstacles.

7. How do I ensure that my shingles are properly aligned?

To ensure that your shingles are properly aligned, use a chalk line to mark the location of the shingle edges. Start at the bottom of the roof and work your way up, ensuring that each row is aligned with the chalk line. Use a level to check that each shingle is straight.

8. How do I install ridge caps?

To install ridge caps, cut the shingles to fit the ridge of the roof. Install a ridge vent to allow air to circulate through the attic. Install the ridge caps over the ridge vent, overlapping each other and securing them with roofing nails.

9. How do I ensure that my roof is properly ventilated?

To ensure that your roof is properly ventilated, install a ridge vent and a soffit vent. The ridge vent allows air to circulate through the attic, while the soffit vent allows fresh air to enter. This helps to prevent moisture buildup and prolongs the life of your roof.

10. How do I maintain my fiberglass shingles?

To maintain your fiberglass shingles, inspect them regularly for signs of damage or wear. Replace any damaged or missing shingles as soon as possible. Clean your roof periodically to remove debris and prevent moss and algae growth. Trim any overhanging branches to prevent damage from falling debris.

11. How long do fiberglass shingles last?

Fiberglass shingles can last up to 25 years or more, depending on the quality of the shingles, the installation, and the climate. Proper installation and maintenance can help to prolong the life of your roof.

12. Can I install fiberglass shingles myself?

While it is possible to install fiberglass shingles yourself, it is recommended that you hire a professional roofer. Roofing can be dangerous and complex, and improper installation can result in leaks, damage, and premature shingle failure. A professional roofer can ensure that your roof is properly installed and maintained.

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