How to Install Wood Roof Shingles


Wooden shingles are a traditional building material applied over a rooftop in an overlapping fashion. The layers of shingles serve to repel water and prevent it from soaking into the underlying structure of the house and causing serious damage. Wood shingles can be fastened to a rooftop over sheathing or lath, and should be fastened using corrosion-resistant nails. Wood shingles can vary in thickness from 3/8-inch to 3/4-inch. The size and type of nail can vary depending on the thickness and type of shingle material with which you are working.

Use your tape measure to determine the middle point of the edge of the rooftop. Mark this center point and use your chalk line to snap a line up to the ridge of the roof from this center point. This line will serve as your guide line, from which the first course, and then alternating shingles courses, will be laid out.

Lay out and fasten your first course of shingles. Start at the center line and fasten a shingle on each side of it, spaced between 3/8 and 5/8 inches apart from one another. The butt edge of the shingles should hang about 1.5 inches over the house fascia. Nail each shingle in place with two corrosion-resistant nails. The nails should be driven about 1 inch above the exposure line of the shingle. The exposure is how much of the shingle is left exposed after the shingle course above is fastened to the rooftop. Each nail should be driven about 3/4-inch from the edges of the shingle. The type and size of the nails will vary depending on the thickness and type of shingle you are using. Consult the manufacturer's recommendations regarding nail type and size.

Fasten a double course for the first shingle course. Layer a course of shingles over the top of the first course, with the butt end of the top course offset about an inch further over the eaves than the lower course. Stagger the joints between shingle courses by about 1.5 inches to increase water resistance.

Once you've got the lower double-course of shingles fastened, snap a chalk line across the shingle course to mark the exposure. The exposure will vary depending on the size and type of shingle you are using. Consult the manufacturer's recommendation regarding exposure length. Refer to this guide line when installing the next course of shingles to the rooftop.

Fasten the second course of shingles using corrosion-resistant nails. Maintain consistent spacing between each shingle, and offset the joints between shingles courses by 1.5 inches.

Overlapping shingles create a water resistant barrier on your rooftop On the third shingle course, refer back to your center line and set your shingles on each side of it. On every other course, refer back to that center line to achieve a consistent look. Work your way up the rooftop until you reach the ridge line. Then start at the lower edge of the other side of the roof and follow the same process.


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