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How to Replace Asphalt Shingles on Your Roof


Roof leaks can easily damage your home’s structure and your possessions, so it is essential that you make sure your roofing is in good condition. Nonetheless, even the best asphalt shingles have a limited lifespan, which can range anywhere from 20 to 30 years depending on the type of shingle. This means that replacing your old asphalt shingles is something that almost every homeowner will have to deal with sooner or later. With this in mind, here are all the steps that are involved in replacing asphalt shingles.

Remove the Old Shingles

In the past, it was fairly common for roofers to simply add a new layer of shingles over the existing ones. Some people still do this now, but there are a number of very important reasons why it’s not a good idea. For starters, installing new shingles over existing roofing will usually void the manufacturer’s warranty, which means you’ll likely be stuck footing the bill if the new roof fails. This method also tends to increase the chances of leaks compared to installing the new shingles directly over the roof underlayment. Not only that but tearing off the old shingles is the only way to properly inspect both the underlayment and the roof structure to ensure they are still in good shape.

In some cases, a roofing contractor will only tear off and replace the old shingles and underlayment in sections. This ensures that the roof remains protected from any potential weather damage throughout the process. Replacing a roof can take as little as a day or as much as a week or more depending on the size of the roof and how many people are working on it.

Replace the Underlayment

Depending on the condition of the underlayment and its age, it may also be necessary to tear this off and replace it as well. This is especially true if the roof uses felt paper as the underlayment as this generally doesn’t last as long as a modern synthetic underlayment. Still, this isn’t to say that felt paper is a bad choice. In fact, many homeowners and roofing contractors still choose to use this type of underlayment due to the fact that it is far cheaper than synthetic underlayment. These synthetic options tend to provide better water resistance and protection, but they are also far more expensive. Considering the longevity of a more water-resistant roof, it may be worth the extra cost. Before making your decision, talk to a professional for their recommendations.

Install the New Shingles

After tearing off the old shingles and replacing the old underlayment if necessary, the final step is to install the new shingles. In this step, you will nail the new shingles over the top of the underlayment. This involves starting at one of the bottom corners of the roof and then working side to side and up to the roof’s peak to ensure that each shingle overlaps the shingle next to and below it. Making sure the shingles properly overlap each other is essential as this guarantees that water will properly drain off the roof and can’t get underneath the shingles. Typically, if an entire roof is being replaced, you’d start with the bottom left corner of the roof and work your way up. However, since you’re just doing a spot, you’ll need to start from the bottom and work your way up, being sure that everything is being overlapped.

Better Yet, Hire a Professional

As you can see, based on the steps above, it is possible that you can replace asphalt shingles on your roof. However, there are a lot of safety concerns with replacing shingles due to being on the roof. A professional residential roofer has specific safety gear and training to prevent injuries. Additionally, the professional has insurance to care for any injuries that may occur and covers that expense out of their business, not the customer’s pocket. If you do the replacement and get injured, then you will have to pay for medical care. The safety risk along with needing to rent or purchase additional tools makes hiring a professional roofer ideal.

The process for replacing asphalt shingles sounds fairly easy on paper. However, the job is not only dangerous, but it is also time-consuming and tough work. For this reason, roofing replacement is one of those projects that it’s always best to leave to the professionals.

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