How to Shingle Around a Roof Vent

The Process
January 9, 2021

The shingles on your roof perform the all-important job of keeping rain, snow, and cold air from entering your house and causing damage. They also serve an aesthetic function, contributing greatly to the curb appeal of your home and having a dramatic effect upon its value. Of course, shingles are only able to perform these tasks if they’re installed correctly. If there are any flaws in the installation process, or if any of the shingles are lost or damaged, these can become weak points in your roof that can let the weather in, ultimately causing property damage inside your house.

Fortunately, installing and replacing shingles is a fairly easy task and one that you can usually perform yourself if you have the proper equipment. However, this task becomes dramatically more complicated as you attempt to work around certain features of the roof, such as the vents. If you’re willing to put the effort in, however, the job can still be done. Read on to learn a bit more about how to shingle around a roof vent:

Make Sure You Have the Right Safety Equipment

Working on a roof has a certain element of risk to it, which is why it’s important to have the correct equipment to perform the task. Do not attempt to begin the job if you don’t have all of the items on this list, since they are directly tied to the safety of the person doing the work.

You will need:

  • Sturdy, closed-toed work boots. Make sure these boots have excellent grip since you absolutely do not want to slip while performing the job.
  • Work gloves. Thick, solid gloves are best to avoid cuts and puncture wounds.
  • Eye protection. Such as safety glasses.
  • A roofing ladder. Not just any ladder will work here because you’ll be attempting to access the roof from certain awkward angles. A self-supported ladder usually won’t work here. You’ll need one with enough height to it that it can be secured to the edge of the roof itself. Roofing ladders are ideal, and roofers can stand on them while working.
  • Fall protection equipment. Don’t risk a fall. This is dangerous work.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Having the right tools for the job is also a must. If you don’t have the right tools, the installation process won’t work effectively, and the shingles around your roofing vent will likely leak. Before you begin planning the job, make sure you have:

  • Roofing nail gun. The job can technically be done with a hammer, but nail guns are a good deal faster. You will also need an air compressor to connect to the nail gun.
  • Roofing hammer. Even though you’ll be using the nail gun for the majority of the work, you’ll still need a hammer for certain parts of the job.
  • Shingle cutter. While a regular utility knife can certainly do the job, you’ll be better off if you purchase a knife specifically designed for cutting roof shingles.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Caulking gun. Sealing the shingles around the roof vent requires a caulking gun. Without one, you’ll find that your roof is prone to leaks. Get one that’s specifically designed for roofing shingles.

Setting Up for the Job

Before you begin, proper setup is key. Once you’ve ensured you have all the proper tools and safety equipment, make sure you have the right shingles for the job. They should match the other shingles on your roof and be of the best quality you can afford. It’s a good idea to have another person who can assist you with the job. They can help you to keep an eye out for safety concerns as well as give you a hand doing the job when you need it.

When choosing a spot to put your ladder, make sure the ground is level. If you place it on angled ground, it can wobble and could even fall. Make sure that you also set up the ladder at the correct angle. This means about a 1:4 ratio, or move the ladder one foot back for every four feet of height.

Attaching the Shingles

A key part of learning how to shingle around a roof vent is ensuring that the shingles are properly laid on top of one another. You’ll need to make sure this is done all the way up to the roof vent itself. Then you’ll prepare the shingles themselves.

Before connecting the shingles, you’ll lay down roofing felt. With your utility knife, cut a hole in the roofing felt as close to the exact shape of the roofing vent flashing as you possibly can. The shingles will need to be cut as well. Cut curved notches in the ones that touch the vent flashing. In this way, you’ll be able to place the shingles directly up to the vent flashing.

Use your caulking gun to glue the shingles down and then nail them directly to the roof with the nail gun. Double-check each shingle to ensure that it is securely fastened, with no bubbles or leaks.

After you have secured the shingles, you should place more roofing sealant around the vent itself. Then you can slide the vent pipe boot over the shingles, where the sealant will help hold it in place. A few more nails will prevent this boot from blowing away when the wind picks up.

Maintaining Your Roof for Years to Come

Even if you have performed the job perfectly, you’ll need to make sure the roof is regularly maintained. If it isn’t, eventually, damage will occur that can compromise the integrity of your roof and lead to costly repairs. Maintenance should be performed by a professional roofer from a licensed and established company such as Interstate Roofing. They’ll be able to extend the life of your roof for many years to come, as well as save you money on repairs by regularly performing preventative maintenance.