How to Fit Roof Shingles

Whether you’re replacing your shed roof covering, or building an extension, roof shingles are a high-quality, cost-effective roofing material. Boasting a timeless and stylish appearance alongside uncompromising strength and reliability, shingles are a DIYers best friend. This is doubly true thanks to their lightweight construction and simple installation, making shingles a fantastic alternative to other, heavier, materials.

While installation may vary from brand to brand, the typical process remains very simple and, depending on the size of your project, can be completed in as little as a day. In this guide we’ll go through the preparations you need to take as well as step-by-step instructions for one of the most popular shingles around, the Coroshingle.

Preparation Checklist

Before starting, it’s important to take some time to lay the groundwork and perform some simple tasks that will make fitting your shingles a lot easier.

Check if You Need an Underlay Membrane

Roofing underlays are flat pieces of material which are typically nailed onto the roof deck to serve as a buffer between timber and shingles. If the pitch of your roof is undeath 20° they must be used to prevent the ingress of water. This is especially important if your roof has a history of issues with condensation or high humidity, in which case you should invest in a breathable membrane. These will effectively combat excess moisture in the internal air.

If you are unsure of your roof’s pitch, you should take a look at our guide on how to calculate roof pitch.

Ensure You Have the Correct Tools, Fixings and Materials

Shingles will typically come in strips or packs of strips, so it is important to the take the time to measure the area of your roof to determine how many you will need. At this stage, you should also make sure that your chosen shingles are suitable for your roofs pitch. Most metal and felt shingles can be used down to 10°, but this may not be the case for all of them. Some products, Coroshingle included, will also require detailing strips which will have to be fitted across the eaves, verge and ridge. These will be available in a range of colours to suit your shingles and provide a smart and neat finish. Again, you should measure the lengths to ensure you order the correct number.

As for fixings and tools, you should refer to the specific manufactures guide for a complete list, however you will almost certainly need:

  • Suitable adhesive sealant (we’d recommend bituminous)
  • 20mm clout nails (for both shingle and detailing strips)
  • 10mm large headed galvanised clout nails (if fitting an underlay membrane)
  • Stanley Knife
  • Hammer
  • Heat gun
  • Skeleton gun (for use with adhesive)
  • Tape Measure
  • Short length of baton (or wooden block)

Take Appropriate Safety Measures

As with any job that involves working at height, you should always take the necessary steps to ensure you are safe. In this case, that means a stable ladder or platform and a second pair of hands. When working on ladders, you should never lean far enough that you have to stretch, instead re-position the ladder and ensure it is secure before continuing.

How to Fit Roof Shingles: Step-by-Step

1. Prepare Your Roof Deck

To avoid any tears or bulges in your underlay you should first make sure the surface of your roof deck is level and clear of any debris. This includes uneven boards, extended nails and dirt. Boards should be nailed down, and excess nails removed.

2. Lay your Underlay Membrane

If you require an underlay, fitting it will be your first job. It should be cut to size and lain out over a flat surface for 30 minutes before the installation. This will work out any kinks that may have formed in its surface. Avoid doing this on grass and it can cause it to yellow. Once prepared, it can be laid on your roof with a 150mm overlap at the verge and nailed down with 10mm large headed galvanised clout nails at 100mm centres.

3. Attach Detail Strips to the Eaves and Verge

Roll out the detail strip across the bottom section of your roof, allowing for a 50mm overhang at the eaves. If needed, it can be cut to size using a Stanley knife. The strip should be nailed down at 150mm centres using 20mm clout nails at the top end of the strip. The overhang can either be dressed into the guttering system or nailed at 50mm centres to the fascia board. This will prevent water from damaging the timber. Repeat this process on the opposite side and at the front and back verges. Again, nail the strip at 150mm centres to the roof deck and at 50mm to the face of the verge. This should leave you with a frame of detail strips across the outer edge of your roof.

attaching detail strip to eaves and verge

4. Fix Your First Row of Roof Shingles

Starting at the eaves and working your way to the verge, you can now begin to fit your shingles to the roof deck. First ensure that your shingle strip is square to the eaves and verge. Next, nail it to the roof deck using five clout nails, two at either end of the strip and three spaced evenly across the middle, all just above the tab joint. The bottom of the shingles should be in line with the edge of your roof. After your first shingle is secure you can begin to fit the rest of the bottom course (row). Strips should be aligned horizontally at the edge, remembering to keep them square throughout. Coroshingle features an interlocking design which makes this alignment a simple task. As with the detail strips, the shingles can be trimmed to size using a Stanley knife. When securing to the verge, apply some adhesive before nailing down.

fitting the first row of shingles

5. Secure Your Shingles to the Eaves

Apply another thin bead of adhesive underneath the tile tabs at the eaves, this will ensure a secure bond with the detail strip.

fitting roof shingles

6. Fix the Remaining Shingles

With your first row complete you can repeat the same process working your way up the roof until top course is in line with the ridge. This should be done diagonally, ensuring that the start of each course is alternated to achieve a traditional looking ‘broken bond’ pattern. When aligning vertically, the bottom of the tile tabs should be in line with the tops of the tile tabs of the course below.

shingle fitting pattern

As you are nailing your shingles to the roof deck, you should also secure the tile tabs to the bitumen adhesive strips built into the shingles. Simply lift the tile tab, heat the strip with your heat gun and then press down with a batten. Check this bond is secure and apply further adhesive as necessary.

fitting shingles pattern

7. Attach Detail Strip to the Ridge

With your shingles fitted, the last step is to attach one last detail strip to the ridge. Overlay the strip across the ridge and fix with a bead of adhesive 25mm away from the edge. Finally, secure with nails at 50mm centres.

completing shingle roof installation

Roof Shingles Delivered Directly to Your Door

You can browse our full range of shingles, all complete will installation guides, from leading brands such as Katepal, IKO, and Ariel Plastics and order online along with fixings and underlays for a quick, hassle-free home delivery.  If you have any questions or would like to order direct, our award-winning customer service team will be happy to help and can be connected at 01295 565 565.