How to Start Shingles on a Roof

When it comes to roofing, getting off to the right start is crucial for a successful project. Properly starting your shingles not only ensures a uniform and attractive looking roof, but also plays a significant role in your roof's overall durability and lifespan. In this article, we'll guide you through the essential steps on how to begin shingling your roof.

Step 1: Prepare the Roof Surface

Step 2: Install the Starter Strip

The starter strip is the foundation for your shingles, and it should be installed along the eaves of your roof (the bottom edge). Here's how to do it:

Step 3: Choose Your Shingle Placement Method

There are two common methods for placing the first row of shingles:

Staggered Alignment: This method involves staggering the first shingle's cutout (the section with the tabs removed) with the second shingle's full section. The staggered alignment provides better wind resistance and water shedding.

Straight Alignment: Alternatively, you can align the first row of shingles straight across, using a chalk line as a guide. While this method is simpler, it may be less wind-resistant.

Step 4: Start Nailing the First Row

Begin nailing the first row of shingles, ensuring that you follow these guidelines:

Step 5: Continue Shingling

After successfully starting the first row, continue laying shingles, following the manufacturer's instructions for overlap and nailing patterns. Remember to maintain proper alignment and spacing throughout the project.


Starting your shingles correctly sets the stage for a successful roofing project. A well-prepared roof surface, a properly installed starter strip, and attention to detail when placing the first row of shingles are all essential elements for a durable, attractive, and long-lasting roof. If you're not confident in your roofing skills, consider consulting with a professional roofing contractor for guidance and assistance.

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There are dozens of signs that your roof may be reaching the end of its life: water damage, leaking, discoloration, brittle shingles, cracked tiles, and rusted metal, to name a few. The best way to know for sure whether or not it’s time to replace your roof is to have a professional come and conduct a roof inspection. If you suspect that it might be time to get your roof replaced, give us a call, and we’ll come out for a free inspection! Trust The Roof Guys for your roof replacement needs.
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