Learn To Install an Asphalt Roof

Understanding the basics of asphalt shingle roofing
Whether you are a handyman or a professional, it is crucial for any homeowner or contractor who plans to install or repair an asphalt shingle roof to know the very basics. Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing product because they are made from material that is durable and strong; which is effective at repelling the elements. They are affordable, and easy to install as well. They come in various colors and styles, making it easy to match the aesthetic of any home.

There are three main types:

  • 3-tab the most basic and affordable option (although being phased out/no longer manufactured), while architectural and designer shingles offer more durability and aesthetic appeal.
  • Architectural which is the next purchase level up from 3-tab. The shingles will come with UV ray protection and extra durability type items.
  • Designer top of the line shingles that have the ultimate protection and aesthetics for curb appeal.

Prepare the roof deck by ensuring it is clean, flat, and free of any debris or damage
Proper ventilation along the top of the roof must also be cleaned – when underlayment and shingles are installed you need proper attic ventilation in order to prevent moisture buildup that can cause damage over time.

IMPORTANT – It’s also crucial to follow manufacturer guidelines for installation procedures such as nailing patterns, overlap requirements, and sealing techniques. Failure to do so may result in premature deterioration or voiding of warranties.

Pick the Right Shingles for Arizona

Arizona summer and monsoon seasons will push your shingles to the limit
This is an important decision that can significantly impact the longevity and appearance of your roof. You must consider the shingles durability and weather resistance (especially to monsoon season). You will want to make sure it has UV protection.

In other areas of America, homeowners will want shingles that can resist high winds, frequent storms – while others may be more appropriate for humidity, extreme cold, etc. Higher quality shingles typically have a longer lifespan and are less likely to require repairs or replacement in the near future.

Your shingles must come from a reputable manufacturer
Owens Corning, IKO, Malarkey, GAF, Tamko, etc. are manufacturers with a proven track records of producing high-quality asphalt shingles. This will ensure that you receive a reliable product that will perform well over time.

Necessary Tools for Asphalt Shingle Roof Installation

Asphalt shingle roof installation is a complex process that requires specialized tools to ensure a successful outcome. Some of the necessary tools for asphalt shingle roof installation include:

1. Roofing hammer: This is a specialized hammer that has a flat end for pounding nails and a claw end for removing old shingles.
2. Utility knife: Used to cut asphalt shingles to fit around vents, chimneys, and other protrusions.
3. Chalk line: A tool used to make straight lines on the roof surface, which helps to keep the shingles straight during installation.
4. Roofing nails: These are special nails designed for use in roofing applications and are available in various lengths and sizes.
5. Roofing underlayment: This is an essential component of any asphalt shingle roof installation as it provides an extra layer of protection against moisture penetration.
6. Shingle cutter: A tool used to cut the ends of the shingles at the desired angle.
7. Ladder or scaffolding: Necessary equipment to access the roof safely during installation.

It’s essential always to use high-quality tools when installing an asphalt shingle roof as this will ensure that your project will last longer and provide better protection against harsh weather conditions.

Roof Preparation

Preparing the roof surface involves a series of steps that ensure the roof is clean, smooth, and ready for installation.

The first step in preparing a roof surface
This includes removing any loose or old shingles, nails, dirt, and other debris that may be on the roof’s surface. This step ensures that the new shingles will lay flat and adhere correctly. Once debris has been cleared away, inspecting the roof’s structure is crucial. Any damage or rot should be repaired before proceeding with installation to prevent further damage or safety concerns.

Next, install an underlayment
There is asphalt felt paper, synthetic underlayment and radiant barrier roofing foil – one of these underlayment’s will be laid over the entire roof deck. The underlayment acts as a moisture barrier between the shingles and deck; this ensures that any water does not seep through to your home’s interior.

After installing the underlayment, install drip edge flashing
This is the L shaped piece of metal along all eaves and rake edges of the roof. The drip edge prevents water from getting behind your facia/roof/gutter system.

Installing Roof Underlayment, Flashing and Shingles

Asphalt paper, synthetic or radiant barrier that acts as a barrier to prevent water from penetrating the roof structure

Rubber or sheet metal type product that is used to direct water away from areas where it can cause damage

The first step in installing underlayment
Ensure that the roof deck is clean, dry, and free of debris. Next, a layer of ice and water shield, or underlayment, should be applied along the deck and/or eaves and in any areas where ice dams are likely to form. This will provide an extra layer of protection against water infiltration.

Next, installing flashing is a must
It guide water from penetrating your roof, chimney and vent pipes. It should also be installed along all vertical walls that meet the roofline. Flashing can be made from various materials such as metal or rubber, depending on your preference.

Use underlayment roofing nails to install underlayment and roof nails for flashing
Once the felt is in place, it’s time to start laying out and nailing down the underlayment. Nails should be placed at the marker tab on the underlayment, ensuring they are driven straight into the roof decking.

When installing shingles the first row of shingles should be installed along the eaves
Then with an overhang of about half an inch. Each subsequent row should overlap the previous one by at least six inches. When nailing down shingles, it’s important to use galvanized roofing nails that are long enough to penetrate through both layers of roofing felt and into the roof deck below. Nails should be placed about an inch above where each shingle tab meets its neighbor, ensuring they are driven straight into the decking. Make sure to avoid these roofing mistakes for more information.

IMPORTANT – It’s also crucial to follow manufacturer guidelines for installation procedures such as nailing patterns, overlap requirements, and sealing techniques. Failure to do so may result in premature deterioration or voiding of warranties.

Ridge Caps and Roof Ventilation

After installing the asphalt shingle roof, there are a few finishing touches
The first of these is installing ridge caps. Ridge caps are shingles specifically designed for the peaks or ridges of a roof. They help to seal the top edge of the roof and prevent water from seeping in under the shingles. Ridge caps can be made from either asphalt or metal, depending on your preference.

The second important finishing touch is ventilation
Proper ventilation is crucial for any roofing system, as it helps to regulate temperature and moisture levels inside the attic space. Without proper ventilation, excess heat and moisture can build up in your attic, leading to damage to your roof deck and insulation.

Ridge vents
Installed along the peak of the roof and allow hot air to escape from the attic space

Soffit vents
Installed under the eaves and allow cool air to enter into your attic space


Installing an asphalt shingle roof requires expertise and experience to ensure that the job is done correctly. Hiring a professional roofer to install your asphalt shingle roof can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. A professional roofer will have the necessary tools and materials to complete the job efficiently and safely. They will also have knowledge of local building codes and regulations that must be followed during installation.

Be sure to ask for references from past clients as well as proof of insurance coverage. A reputable roofer should be able to provide you with both without hesitation.