How to Replace Worn Asphalt Shingles

How-to advice to help replace a worn asphalt shingle

If properly maintained, an asphalt shingle roof will last 15 to 20 years.  But sometimes a single torn shingle can lead to water seepage and early damage. These tips will show you the easiest and safest way to mend tired old shingles yourself.

How to Replace Worn Asphalt Shingles

1. Repairing a cracked asphalt shingle

  •  Pick a warm but not hot day, about 18°C to 27°C (65°C to 80°F), when the shingle will be pliable.
  • Lift up the pieces carefully. Be sure to lift up all the way back to the beginning of the tear.
  • Use a putty knife to apply roofing cement under both sides of the tear and press down firmly.
  • Wipe away any excess cement using a rag soaked with mineral spirits.

2. Replacing a worn asphalt shingle

  • If a shingle is worn away or has a hole in it, remove it without damaging the surrounding shingles.
  • To do this, lift the shingles above it gently and slide a pry bar in to remove any nails. (This works best when the shingles are warm and flexible, from 18°C to 27°C (65°C to 80°F), but not hot and easily damaged.)
  • Brush away any debris and slide in a new shingle. You may need to pry surrounding tiles gently with the flat end of the pry bar. You may find that additional nails, fastening shingles above the repair area, need to be removed in order to slide the new shingle in.
  • Secure the new shingles with roofing nails above each slot in the shingle, being careful to not damage the shingle above.
  • Use a putty knife or paint stir-stick to apply roofing cement under the new shingle and under the shingle above; be careful that no roofing cement will be visible.

3. Exercise caution

  • Anytime you're working on your roof or gutters, be sure that the ladder is securely footed on the ground at least a quarter of its length away from the house and that it extends at least 0.6 metres (two feet) above the eaves for maximum stability.
  • Always wear slip-resistant shoes.
  • Never work on a wet or cold roof — it's not only dangerous for you, it can also damage the roof.
  • Don't use an aluminum ladder near electrical wires; use a wooden or fibreglass ladder instead.

Small fixes now could save you from having to replace larger sections of your roof sooner rather than later.

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