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DIY Roofing–How to Install Three-Tab Shingles

When properly installed, 3 tab shingles add beauty to a home’s exterior and offer protection from the damaging effects of rain and snow. 3 tabs are unique in that installers have to pay attention to vertical lines as well as horizontal. By following these simple instructions, a handy do-it-yourselfer can come out with a beautiful and long-lasting 3 tab roof.

Directions for Preparing Roof for New 3 Tab Shingles

  1. Determine roof cost and gather all needed materials.
  2. Tear off existing roof and inspect sheathing for rot.
  3. Tear out and replace any rotted sheathing.
  4. Install new drip edge across eaves.
  5. Install six feet of ice and water shield across eaves, lapping it over the drip edge by at least an inch, and lapping the second course over the first by at least three inches (for a 4×12 or higher pitch roof).
  6. Install 30lb felt paper across the balance of the roof sheathing, lapping each course by at least three inches. Temporarily cover any vent holes to rainproof roof. Secure to roof sheathing with T50 staples.
  7. Install new drip edge up gables, lapping it over the ice and water shield and felt paper.

Directions for Installing 3 Tab Shingle Roofing

  1. Install starter shingles across eaves. 3 tab shingles with tabs cut off may be used as starter shingles. Extend starter shingles 1/2″ past eave edge and gable edge for extra weather protection. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for nail locations in shingles. Use 1 1/2″ or longer galvanized roofing nails for best results.
  2. Start first course of shingles with a full shingle, installing it flush with the starter shingle at the eave and the gable. Measure the distance from the gable edge to the end of the shingle (usually 35 1/2″).
  3. At the top of the gable, measure out the same distance and make a mark. Snap a line from the mark to the edge of the first installed shingle to keep vertical lines straight. Repeat this step when installing first shingle of second course.
  4. To start second course, cut off half a tab (usually 6 inches) on the side of the shingle that will extend over the gable edge. Most 3 tab shingles have a small cutout at the top of the shingle at the center of each tab. This gives the installer a chance to exactly line up each shingle where it needs to be left to right relative to the course below.
  5. To set proper exposure, follow manufacturer’s instructions and set the shingle the proper height above the previous course. It is a good idea to snap a horizontal line across the eave at this point to keep the second course straight.
  6. Continue up through the sixth course, cutting an additional half-tab of shingle off until left with a half-tab at the sixth course to start with. At the seventh course, start once more with a full shingle. Alternately, it is possible to simply cut off a half-tab every second course and alternate with a full shingle, but this method does produce more waste.
  7. Work all the way up the gable, following vertical chalk lines and snapping additional horizontal lines as needed. Shingle around stack pipes, chimneys, etc.
  8. Cut out vent holes at the ridge,install ridge vents and shingle over them with single tabs of 3 tab shingles using 3″ roofing nails. Leave the same exposure as in a normal shingle application for proper ridge cap function.
  9. Caulk any exposed nail heads at ridge, on pipe boots, andwhere else on roof to prevent leaks.
  10. Clean up thoroughly around the job site, using a roofing magnet to pick up dropped nails.

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