How to Reroof a House With Asphalt Shingles

Putting a new roof on a house is a big job but you don’t have to hire a professional roofer to get it done.


It’s a lot of work but you can re-roof your own home with asphalt shingles if you are prepared and have the necessary instructions. Applied properly, your asphalt shingled roof may last 20 years or longer, prevent possible roof leaks, improve the appearance of your home and lower your insurance costs.

Step 1

Get ready. You’ll need to measure the length and width of your roof and multiply that number to get the square footage of your roof. Divide the square footage by 100 and add 10 percent. That’s how many asphalt shingles you’ll need to re-roof your house. Shingles are sold by the square and you will need 2 1/2 pounds of roofing nails per square of asphalt shingles. Some of the supplies, such as a hammer and ladder, you might have at home. Others, such as roofing cement and felt, you’ll need to purchase so make sure you know exactly what you’ll need.

Step 2

Repair any structural problems with the roof and use a pry bar to pull up loose nails and shingles. If there are more than three layers of shingles on the roof you will need to remove them all.

Step 3

Put shingles on valleys first. A valley is where two sections of the roof meet at an angle. You’ll need to cover the area with mineral surface roofing and attach an 18-inch wide strip of flashing from the eaves to the roof ridge. Use nails on the outer edges of the flashing and roofing cement on center edges. Take a 36-inch wide strip of roofing felt and staple to the flashing. Cut asphalt shingles to fit the valley area and attach them with roofing cement and nails.

Step 4

Cover the roof in felt. Start at the edge of eaves and roll the felt to the other end of the roof. Staple it into place and start another layer of felt adjacent to the first one. Position the felt so that it’s overlapping the previous one by 2 inches. Continue this process to cover the entire roof.

Step 5

Find the center of the roof, mark with a chalk line and lay a starter strip of asphalt shingle along the bottom edge of the roof. Let it extend 5/8 inch over the eaves. Make a chalk line over the starter strip and begin to lay asphalt shingles. Use four nails, spaced evenly across the middle of the shingle, to attach shingles to the roof. Work outward toward the edges of the roof. Continue applying rows of shingles until you reach the roof ridge then start the process over on the other side of the roof.

Step 6

Start by applying mineral surface roofing around vent pipes and chimneys. Cut out flashing to fit around these areas and use cement and nails to secure the flashing to the roof. Flashing needs to be big enough to extend 6 inches outward and chimneys will need several 7 x 10 inch strips of flashing cut out and applied to the chimney sides. After attaching flashing, use roofing cement and nails to apply asphalt shingles over the flashing.

Things You Will Need

  • Shingles
  • Ridge shingles
  • Asphalt roofing cement
  • Hammer
  • Flashing material
  • Chalk line
  • Tin snips
  • Level
  • Ladder
  • Work gloves
  • Roofing nails
  • #15 Felt roofing
  • Heavy duty staple gun
  • Staples
  • #90 Mineral surface roofing
  • Pry bar


  • Pick up loose nails and shingles and wear rubber soled shoes to keep from slipping.


  • Be careful when working around power lines or antennas.



About the Author

Serena Brown graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor's degree in communication. She has more than 15 years of experience in newspaper, radio and television reporting. Brown has also authored educational, medical and fitness material.