Replace Damaged Shingles to Extend the Life of Your Roof

Time: 2-4 hours

Have unruly trees left the shingles on your roof a little broken? No worries. Get your toolbox out because it’s time to replace damaged shingles to extend the life of your roof. PSA: If the damage is extensive or spans more than a small area, call a contractor for a full or partial reroofing.

What's in it for you?

  • Improved roof structure
  • Fewer leaks
  • Better insulation

(Show me how)

Replace Damaged Shingles to Extend the Life of Your Roof

  1. Purchase replacement shingles. Head over to your local hardware store with an old shingle (or a picture) and get shingles that match the type you have on your roof.

  2. Inspect your shingles for damage. Grab a friend to keep an eye on your footing. No falling here, people. Put on gloves, gripping boots (work shoes designed for roofing that you can find at your local hardware shop), and goggles. Climb onto your roof and check for damage — you’re looking for things like cracked edges, holes, or curls in the surface of the shingles. If you see any loose nails in the roof, use a hammer or pry bar to remove them. Watch your hands, though — getting poked by a rusty nail could require a tetanus shot. Not fun.

  3. Remove damaged shingles, one at a time. Slide a small putty knife (a flat-bladed knife used for applying grout and putty) under the edge of a shingle. Use the knife as a lever to pry the shingle off the roof. They’ll be some sticky stuff left on the roof where the shingle used to sit — scrape it off using your putty knife.

  4. Add fresh adhesive. Grab a small paintbrush and apply roofing adhesive where the damaged shingle used to sit. This will keep your new shingle stable on the roof. You can find roofing adhesive at your local hardware store. Do one at a time to keep the glue from drying.

  5. Position the new shingle. Grab a shiny, new shingle from the bag and place it on your roof so it’s under the horizontal row above it. Not sure if you have it right? Check the edges to make sure they’re flush with the shingles to the left and right. And make sure the vertical gaps between shingles are staggered relative to the rows above and below.

  6. Nail it down. Everything in position? Press the shingle into the adhesive and nail it down with 3-4 nails. You want to put them in the dark strip on the top edge of the shingle. Repeat steps 3-7 until your roof looks good as new.

  7. Recycle. Take your old shingles to a shingle recycling facility. They’ll break them down and repurpose them. Going green has never been so easy.

Pro Tip: Temperature matters — too cold and it’ll be hard to work, too hot and the shingles will be hard to remove. Stick to late fall when the temperature is about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

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