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How to Replace Your Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the last line of defense between Mother Nature and your house. Shingles mainly protect against corrosion, cracking, and deterioration of your roof.  Asphalt shingles are usually black in colour and have a very rough feel, similar to course sandpaper. 

If there are minor cracks and holes in your shingles, the best way to combat this situation is to purchase roofing cement in caulking tubes so you may fully seal the decay. If the job is really big, buy roofing cement in larger quantities.

If the damage is too extensive to be repaired by roofing cement, then replacing the asphalt shingles would be advisable.  Remember to work on a warm clear bright day so that the shingles will be flexible and easier to work with. 

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Putty knife
  • Utility knife
  • Flat shovel
  • Caulking gun

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  1. Remove shingles by loosening nails with a flat shovel.  Slip the flat shovel underneath the nail, grab it, and pull in an upwards direction to loosen up the nail.  Now, grab your pry bar and yank the nails in an upwards direction.  Remove and discard old shingle.
  2. Insert the new shingle 1” from the top edge and slip it underneath the shingle above it.  There should be a maximum of 4 nails per shingle.  They should be 1” from the top of the shingle and 2” – 3” away from each other.
  3. When hammering the nails into the new shingle, try to place the nails through the old holes left by the first shingle.  If this is not possible, BE SURE to seal the old openings with roofing cement.
  4. Once the new nails are in place, coat the heads with roofing cement so that no liquid passes through. Firmly press down on the shingle to keep it tight in its position.


  • Asphalt shingles last longer than traditional wood shingles but still should be inspected every year to observe any damage.
  • Place a piece of metal flashing behind a damaged shingle.  Secure it with roofing cement and nails underneath the shingle.

Advice While Working....

  • On the roof, be sure to wear proper saftey shoes and equipment.
  • It's always a good idea to have a second person working with you on the roof.

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