The DIY Guide: How to Replace a Shingle Roof Yourself

Although asphalt shingles are durable, even the best will eventually wear down and need replacement. Use this guide to determine whether a DIY approach is right for you and if so, how to get it done safely. Please exercise caution.


Safety First: Roof work is inherently risky. Before starting, ensure you have proper safety gear like a sturdy ladder, non-slip boots, gloves, safety goggles, and a harness system. Always have someone nearby in case of an emergency.

Tools and Materials: You should have several tools on hand like a hammer or nail gun, flat pry bar, utility knife, chalk line, measuring tape, roofing nails, drip edge, flashing, sealants, and of course, shingles.

Check Local Building Codes: Before starting, check with your local building authorities to ensure compliance with building codes and obtain any necessary permits.

Removing the Old Roof

  1. Carefully Remove Old Shingles: Begin at the peak of your roof and work your way down, using the flat pry bar to lift and remove the old shingles and nails.

  2. Inspect and Repair the Roof Deck: Once the old shingles are removed, inspect the wood decking for any signs of damage such as rot or warping. Replace any damaged wood to provide a solid base for the new roof.

  3. Install Underlayment: Roll out strips of roofing felt or synthetic underlayment over the clean, dry roof deck. This layer provides additional protection against water. Secure it with roofing nails and make sure each row overlaps the one below it for proper coverage.

Installing New Shingles

  1. Apply the Drip Edge: Install drip edges at the eaves, securing them in place with roofing nails. This component is crucial for directing water away from the roof and protecting the underlying roofing components.

  2. Start Shingling: Begin at the bottom corner of the roof and place the first row of shingles, ensuring they are straight. Use a chalk line for guidance. Nail the shingles according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  3. Continue Adding Rows: Apply each new row of shingles so that it overlaps the one below. This offset pattern helps prevent water from penetrating the roof.

  4. Seal Around Any Roof Penetrations: Apply flashing around chimneys, vents, and other penetrations. Seal the edges with roofing cement to ensure a watertight barrier.

  5. Finish the Ridge: When you reach the ridge, use specially designed ridge shingles or cut standard shingles into three-tab strips and bend them over the ridge. Secure them with nails.

Pros and Cons of DIY Roof Replacement


  • Cost Savings: By doing the job yourself, you can potentially save thousands of dollars in labor and material costs.
  • Satisfaction: There's a deep sense of pride that comes from working with our hands and seeing the fruits of our labor. Sometimes we can avoid paying for a service and take care of jobs around the house ourselves.


  • Safety: Roofing is risky, especially for folks without professional experience and proper safety equipment. Please do not jump into any type of DIY home project without sufficient planning.
  • Time: Depending on the roof size and your skill level, a typical 1,500 square foot roof might take you between 4 to 9 days, assuming favorable weather conditions.
  • Potential for Mistakes: Incorrect installation can lead to leaks or premature wear, which may negate any expected cost savings.

DIY roof replacement can be more affordable but it merits careful planning and significant attention to detail. If you're unsure, we recommend reaching out to professional roofing contractors for guidance.

A certified roof inspector will be able to tell if your roof is structurally sound, and they'll often do this type of inspection for free.

Any type of roof work, personal or professional, requires a permit to ensure your roof meets the minimum building code standards. Keep in mind that these permit requirements are stricter in areas with frequent inclement weather.


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