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Roof Installation and Roof Repair Made Easy

Due to constantly changing materials and technology, roof installation and roof repair practices have changed significantly over recent decades. When it comes to installing a roof—any roof—the process consists of some basic procedures to build a good, solid roof and avoid future repairs. Follow these roof installation steps to get the best results:

1. Begin With a Level Surface
The first step in building any great roof is to ensure your nailing surface is level. To determine whether the surface is level, use a long carpenter's level or a 6- to 10-foot piece of lumber. Shim rafters or trusses to level the surface if necessary, and install blocking to straighten any bowed or warped top chords of rafters or trusses.

2. Provide Sufficient Ventilation
Attic ventilation was initially as a moisture-control tactic in cold climates. A roof’s primary purposes are to prevent outside moisture from getting in and to allow inside moisture, caused by human activity, to get out. Determine the venting requirements for your roof project to pass inspections by checking your local building code.

3. Nail and Space Panels Correctly
Wood contracts and expands with changes in humidity, and the panels’ moisture content also changes. Panels cannot expand properly if they are fitted too tightly together. Instead, they might bend down or up, or buckle off rafters and trusses. Shingles will likely move with the panels, causing ridges, bulges, and valleys in your roof.

4. Safeguard Sheathing and Install Felt Carefully
After installing the roof sheathing, thoroughly clean the surface and use a shingle underlayment felt as soon as possible to help safeguard the panels from weather exposure. Smooth and flatten roofing felt as much as possible prior to fastening shingles.

5. Follow Manufacturer's Guidelines to Install Shingles
Check the manufacturer's recommendations to install shingles. Postpone the installation of fiberglass or asphalt shingles as long as you can to provide time for the sheathing to adjust to moisture and humidity.

DIY Roof Repair Tips

While some roof jobs should be left to the experts, minor leaks and broken shingles can be a DIY project—especially if you use the following tips to guide your project. But remember—if you cannot fix the problem promptly and entirely, hire a professional roofer to repair your roof as soon as possible.

  • Shingle repair. If a storm has damaged a shingle on your roof and you need to protect the roof from further damage, use a tube of roofing cement and a piece of aluminum flashing to fix it. Cut the flashing approximately 1 inch narrower and 4 inches longer than the ripped tab. Use a flat pry bar to loosen the damaged tab and the tabs to the left and right. Apply several large drops of roofing cement to the surface under the shingle. Insert the flashing underneath and apply roofing cement on top of the flashing. Press the tab down to adhere the flashing to the roof.
  • Shingle replacement. To replace a single shingle, use a chisel and hammer to split it into several narrow pieces, then remove the pieces with pliers. Insert a hacksaw blade under the shingle above and cut through the nails that held the old shingle in place. Use a utility knife to trim a new shingle to match the width of the space. Slide the shingle in place and tap it to within 1 inch of its final position. Drive in two nails at an upward angle, directly below the edge of the shingle above. Use a wood block and hammer to tap the new shingle into place. As the shingle slides in place, it will pull the nailheads up and behind the shingle above.

Roof Installation And Roof Repair Made Easy,
part of our article series in the Roofing & Gutters category.
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