Performing any sort of work on your roof is a tricky proposition. You’ll have to make sure you have the proper tools, as well as a thorough understanding of what you’re doing. The steeper your roof is, the trickier the task becomes. This is especially true if you’ll need to be crawling around the entire roof, attempting to repair or replace the shingles. In most cases, you’ll want to contact a professional to perform a job like this, but it’s possible to do it yourself, provided you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and money to do so safely.
If you need to shingle a steep roof—or re-shingle—there are a few steps you must familiarize yourself with.
Best Tools for the Job
Most of the tools you’ll need will be the same as for any roofing job. You will need, first and foremost, safety equipment. The right ladders are key. Look for a ladder that is specifically designed for roofing. It should be able to connect securely to the house itself so that it doesn’t wobble or fall while you’re climbing onto or off of the roof. It should also have a ladder hoist equipped. You’ll definitely need both hands free when climbing, and a ladder hoist will help you do this by providing a place to put your tools and supplies.
You will need a shovel or crowbar for prying old shingles off, as well as a hammer or roofing hatchet for replacing them. A hook blade and a staple gun are also used in the process of putting shingles on a roof.
You’ll need all the other requisite safety gear as well, including heavy-duty boots, sturdy gloves, and eye protection. A full-body harness as well as ropes and carabiners are critical for safety.
The high pitch of the roof means you’ll need to install roofing brackets as temporary steps for you to climb over. These are 90-degree metal brackets that you can place 2x6s across for use in climbing the roof.
Working on a steep roof will likely also require temporary scaffolding. In this way, you can walk around the roof without having to worry about standing directly on top of it. You can rent scaffolding from most tool rental companies.
If you have any hesitancy about maintaining safety while you shingle your steep roof, it’s best to contact a roofing contractor.
Materials for Shingling
Once you have the tools, you can begin to shop for the materials. Shingles aren’t simply nailed directly to the roof. They have a layer underneath them called an underlayment. This underlayment can be purchased in large rolls.
A sealant for the shingles is an important material for a roofing job. You can usually get it in a caulking tube that’s specially designed for that purpose. You’ll need flashing for the roof as well, which comes in various types, depending on the need. Flashing is the material used to deflect water away from more vulnerable areas of the roof, such as around vents or around the chimney. Along with the underlayment, this prevents water from getting underneath the shingles, where it can do serious damage to the roof.
The first step when shingling your roof is the setup. Find the most level ground possible in order to make sure the ladder is stable. When setting up your roofing ladder, it’s necessary to do so at the proper angle. If the angle of the ladder is too steep, it will be nearly impossible to climb. Too narrow, however, and it will not be safe. The best angle to use is approximately a 4:1. That is, approximately one foot back for every foot of height. You can then use sturdy straps to anchor the ladder to the roof. This is a critical step, to prevent the ladder from falling.
The next thing to do is to set up the scaffolding. Scaffolding also requires level ground to sit upon. If it will sit upon dirt, grass, or any other soft ground, you should set down some plywood first, to prevent the scaffold from sinking due to its weight.
How to Shingle a Steep Roof
Shingling a steep roof definitely comes with a learning curve. It will be a slow process at first, but soon enough, you’ll be able to attach shingles quickly and effectively.
Start by using your crowbar to remove the old shingles if there are any. You can then lay down the underlayment by rolling it out. Use your staple gun to fix it in place. Each row of underlayment should overlap around three to four inches or the manufacturer’s recommended overlap.
Installing the flashing is next. Once again, it should be placed around chimneys, vents, edges, and other vulnerable areas of the roof. Next, you can attach the shingles one by one, making sure that they’re properly layered over one another. Nail them down with the proper technique, ensuring that the head of the nail is flush with the shingle itself.
If You Opt Not to DIY
Of course, the job of learning how to shingle a steep roof is a massive undertaking, and one that can be dangerous and expensive, depending upon how much equipment you need to rent. If you would prefer not to do it yourself, you can contact a professional like Interstate Roofing. We can perform the job for you, safely and effectively, and be able to maintain your roof after the fact so that it lasts for many years.