Replacing and Repairing Composition Shingles

composition roof

It is good practice to check your roof yearly for cracked, curled, broken or missing composition shingles, also called asphalt shingles. Most roofing materials eventually wear out and need to be replaced.  If you are comfortable walking around on your roof, you can usually make simple repairs yourself.

When repairing and replacing broken shingles, it is best to choose a warm day so the shingles are more pliable.  You want them to lift and bend easily. If it is cold outside, you can use a propane torch to heat them up.

Install new shingles from the bottom up and place the top row under the ridge cap. Nail each 3 tab shingle with 4-8 nails on the printed line on the shingle.  Leave a slight gap between shingles. If it is too hard to get underneath the shingle to put the nails, use 1 ¼” exterior screws.

Pull out any shingles in poor condition, remove nails and slip in replacement shingles.  You don’t need to be perfect when replacing shingles, but try to match the shingle thickness to achieve a relatively even surface.

  • Fill cracks with roofing cement.
  • Put roofing cement under curled edges.
  • For broken shingles, pry out the nails and pull out damaged shingles, cut notches in the new shingle to match the nail tears in old one.  Slide new shingle in place and nail it down.

Tools needed:

  • Sturdy ladder
  • Hammer or hatchet
  • Sharp utility knife
  • Pointed trowel for applying cement
  • Roofing nails 1” to 1 ½ “
  • Composition shingles
  • Roofing cement

If you are  replacing shingles in valleys or around flashings, using the damaged piece as a pattern trim the shingles accordingly and use roofing cement to help hold them in place. Be sure not to obstruct the path of the valley so water does not build up.

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