If you have asphalt shingles, you don’t need to call a contractor every single time a few need replacing. You can replace roof shingles by yourself, saving time, money, and hassle.

Like any home repair, though, you should have a solid understanding of how to do it before you attempt it. Here’s how to replace roof shingles in eight steps to help you do the job correctly.

How to Individually Replace Roof Shingles

Step 1: Understand Your Shingles

Before doing anything, you have to understand how your shingles fit on your roof. They have specific dimensions and overlap each other by a certain amount.

Check out your shingles’ layout and overlap before doing anything so you have an idea of how to install the new shingles, especially if you can’t find an exact match for the ones you have.

Step 2: Preparation

Aside from new shingles, you’ll need the following tools and materials before you begin:

  • Bucket and rope (if you don’t have anybody to hand things up to you)
  • New shingles
  • Utility knife
  • Crowbar
  • 2×4 to use as a fulcrum with the crowbar
  • Roofing nails
  • Hammer
  • Caulking gun
  • Roofing cement and silicone caulk

You can put all of these in the bucket, attach it to the rope, and then haul everything up onto the roof this way. It’s the safest method if you don’t have anyone helping you.

Step 3: Measure and Cut the New Shingle

cutting shingles to fit properly

If you can measure and cut your shingles before starting your work, you’ll save yourself some time and effort. You can cut individual shingles with a utility knife, though you might have to score them several times to do so.

Step 4: Remove Nails and Shingle

Gently use your crowbar and fulcrum to pry up the shingles above those you wish to replace. Avoid being too rough, and take care not to bend your shingles too far back because you don’t want to crack anything.

Make a note of how many nails there are on the shingles you’re replacing, then use your hammer to remove the nails. Again, be careful so you don’t damage the shingles above.

Now, pull the shingle out from under the ones above it and toss it aside.

Step 5: Install the New Shingle

roof repair tips

Slide your replacement shingle into place, making sure it fits properly underneath the shingle above it and overlaps the shingle below it.

Also, line the top of it up with the tops of the adjacent shingles to ensure that water runs down your roof uniformly, and also to make sure that the new shingle blends into your existing roof.

Nail it down using the existing nail holes if you can. If you can’t, make certain you seal those holes before you install the replacement shingle. The last thing you want is to accidentally create new leaks in your roof.

Step 6: Seal, Seal, Seal

When you’re finished nailing down your shingle, cover the nail heads with roofing cement. Not only will that help the shingle above it stay down in the wind and bad weather, but it will also seal up the nail hole and prevent water from entering your roof.

You want to apply the cement anywhere you see shingles that can fly upward. They may appear unattached from the ones below them, but they aren’t. Do everything you can not just to seal holes, but also to ensure your shingles will stay flat.

Step 7: Final Check

After 24 to 48 hours, go back up on your roof and check your replacement shingle. Make sure it still stays down, that the shingles above it remain down, and that you don’t have any leaks. You may want to take your garden hose up there and spray the area to check that everything is sealed.

When to Call a Contractor

calling a professional to replace roof shingles

If you’re replacing a few shingles or even an entire row, you should be fine doing it yourself. However, if you’ve noticed water damage, mold, or other things that indicate deeper damage, you should call a contractor because replacing the shingles isn’t enough. A contractor knows how to replace underlayment and sub-roofing as well as shingles.

Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t have too much trouble replacing individual shingles when you know how to do it. Fortunately, learning how to do it isn’t especially difficult, and as long as you follow each step, you should be fine.

If you notice signs of deeper damage, though, you’ll want to patch the area and call us at Red Canyon to perform a repair. Replacing shingles alone won’t solve a deeper issue. Get in touch with us to get your free estimate today!