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How to Fix Roof Shingles

Asphalt Shingle or Composition Roofing Repair Made Easy

© 2013 by Michael David; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

An asphalt shingle roof in disrepair; photo couttesy Dale Mahalko

Workplace Safety

As with any project, the first step to take is ensuring your safety. Working on the roof poses extra dangers that you wouldn’t usually face. Only work on your roof if you feel comfortable doing so.

Make sure that it is dry and not wet or icy. It is recommended to perform annual inspection and roof maintenance before common winter roofing problems set in. Also, low wind conditions are better to work in and much safer than high wind.

Anchor yourself to the roof with a safety harness attached to a stable chimney. Also ensure that your ladder is securely attached to your roof in at least two places. Once these safety precautions have been taken, you are ready to get started.

Perform a Roof Inspection

When you are inspecting your asphalt or composition shingles, there are a few signs that you will need to look for. If you see shingles that are either curling up or curling down, those will need to be repaired.

Cracked shingles can also be temporarily fixed. Sporadic spots of missing, or obviously broken shingles, can and should be replaced. However, if you notice that your roof has extensive damage, you may need a professional roofer repair the damage. Rotten shingles can be a sign of bigger damage that you’ll also want a professional to further investigate.

To find a dependable local contractor I recommend Angie’s List - Where thousands of consumers share their ratings on the local contractors and service companies they hire. Learn more.

Look for Curling Edges

Curled shingles are best to repair on a warm day when the shingles will be more pliable. On the underside of the curled shingle, apply a small amount of roofing sealant or roofing cement with a caulking gun.

Flatten the shingle and press it down. Use a brick to keep it flat and weighed down for at least 24 hours. Again, this fix is not for a windy or rainy day.


Cracked shingles are another fairly easy fix. Use the cement sealant with the caulking gun on the underside of the crack and then on top of the crack and press it together. Keep track of this shingle for any further signs of damage.

Missing or Heavily Damaged?

Replacing missing or heavily damaged shingles can be a more daunting task but is definitely possible for beginners. The most important thing to remember when replacing your shingles is that you must nail the new shingle down correctly.

If you do not put the nail in the correct place or if you put the nail in incorrectly, it will cause you even more grief in the future.

Shingle Removal

The first task is removing the damaged shingle. The shingle will most likely have eight nails in it, although it is possible that it could have twelve. You will need to take off the top shingles first.

With a pry bar, lift up the top shingle so you can access the top row of nails. Gently pry them up and out of the shingles. Then do the same with the bottom row of nails. You should be able to slide the damaged shingle out of its place.

Nail it Down

Next, take your new shingle and slide it where the old shingle was. You will need to hammer in the lower row of nails first. On your shingle there should be an obvious tar line.

This is where the nails will go. If you put them higher than the line, your shingle is more likely to be damaged by wind or allow rain to get into your roof. Work from left to right to put your nails in. Try to get them as straight as possible so that you don’t damage your shingles.

You may use a nail gun, as long as it is at the right pressure. You want your nail to go into the shingle but the head should be lying flat on top, not stuck inside.

It is also important that you use nails that are specifically for roofing shingles. Normal nails will rust and not hold the shingles in place. Once the nails are in place, put a small amount of the sealant on top to secure them just a little bit more.

Repairing your shingles is a simple job that you can do on your own. But if you are uncomfortable or feel like you don't have the equipment to take the proper safety precautions, do not hesitate to hire a professional similar to this company for KW roofing in Calgary. Be safe out there and good luck!

About the Author:

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics.

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