One section of my roof, five squares, needs repairs to decking at two
spots and rafters at one spot of the eaves. I want to reshingle the
section, which includes 20 feet of ridge, 30 feet of hip, and 15 feet of
valley. My BIL volunteered to help. I've never worked with shingles
before but have helped him install a metal roof over his shingles.
He says the hardest part will be removing the old shingles. I'm afraid
of how long it may take to prepare the roof for rain. When the shingles
are off, we'll be tired. There could be delays in the carpentry. I
don't know how long it might take to make the felt watertight at hips
and ridges. We'll be walking on bare wood and then felt and may not
have jacks and a board in place in case we slip. The pitch is 6/12.
When a neighbor reshingled his 10/12 roof, he says he started at the
bottom and removed as many shingles as he could replace that day. That
sounds like a good idea for someone in my position. There is no felt
under the old shingles. From a ladder, I'd pry up the shingles nailed
within three feet of the eave. Then I'd slide a course of felt under the
tabs of the next row, fasten the felt to the wood lightly (staples?) and
begin laying shingles.
That approach might have several advantages.
1. I'd always be able to make the roof watertight within an hour or so.
2. We could fix the rafters at the eaves before uncovering the whole roof.
3. I'd be walking on new shingles, not felt or wood or old shingles.
4. I could have the jacks in place before I even climbed onto the roof.
5. We wouldn't be under pressure to rush or work when overtired.
....Snip long story of trying to do the job piecemeal because of worry
Get all the material ahead of time and start <early> one morning--you
can do the ridge section to the hip valley easily. Just have a tarp
ready if it's needed.
If you need moderately extensive decking repair as you note, it's quite
possible you'll find more as well when you tear into it so I think
trying to piecemeal it isn't a good option to be able to fix those
IMO, YMMV, $0.02, etc., ...
We have the material. My BIL evaluated the job and seems to have gotten
everything needed except ridge vents. I got those.
Early? The day he came to inspect the damage, he said he'd be here at
9. He arrived driving with a cup of coffee at 10:30. He covered the
lightning holes with felt but found the heat too much, so he came back
another day to measure.
The day he wanted to do the work, the heat index was 105 in the shade.
The dewpoint was so high that even if he'd arrived before dawn, we would
have been drenched with sweat. It would be nice to get a lot done in one
day, but it would be foolish to count on it.
On one side of the valley we have fifteen feet of eave under a
parallelogram skewed 60 degrees. It's 25 feet from eave to ridge. I
don't have a tarp that long. If I got caught with the deck bare on that
section (375 square feet), I think I'd have to tarp the other section,
too, on account of the valley. It would be quite a problem.
With a 6/12 pitch, it seems safer to deshingle eaves from a ladder. The
corner of the eave and the hip is about 30 degrees, so that corner would
be especially awkward from above.
I've been in the attic. Rafters and planks look fine except the
overhangs of two rafters. Without being able to crawl in close enough
to probe with a screwdriver, I can't be sure that the rot hasn't reached
the part over the wall plate. I'm sure the damage is within 30" of the
eave but not sure how long repairs would take.
My BIL knows about framing. If I start at the eaves early one morning
and remove shingles up to 30 inches, he can fix the rafters when he
arrives. Then I think we should tuck in and secure felt. We could do
the rest starting at the ridge, but I see three advantages in putting
some of the shingles on that felt. First, new shingles would make
reliable footing getting on and off a ladder. Second, they would
protect the felt. Third, I could nail down jacks to keep from sliding
off the eave, and leave them until the end of the project.
I think removing all the shingles before fixing the rafters at the eaves
would leave the house very vulnerable to rain. At point where I
thought we could remove the remaining shingles and apply felt in one
day, it would make sense to me to start at the top.
Well, if your "donated" help isn't any more reliable than that you might
as well have used a professional roofer... :)
Actually, what I would probably do is go to the homeless center about
1/2 hr before sunup and pick up 3/4 day laborers and head home and put
them up there to do the tearoff. For $6/hr apiece and a lunch you'll
have it done by the time your BIL gets out of bed....and, if you're
<real> lucky that day you'll fine one that can speak enough English you
can actually talk to him. Odds are pretty good of finding several that
have roofed quite a bit before...
It doesn't rain <every> day does it? What are odds of finding a dry
spell of a couple of days? Even so, once you have paper down it's not
Probably not as awkward as trying it from a ladder imo. Get a
long-handled roofing tool and have at it...
My first recommendation was for what I thought appeared to be far more
extensive damage than whay you're now describing...if that's all there
is and you're sure, it would make a partial less likely to leave
difficult issues to deal with. You trade one possible pita (maybe it
rains, most likely it doesn't) against working over new roof w/ old and
possible damage of just laid work...your choice.
Personally, I'd try to time the weather, get some help and get it over
The humidity counts. When the index is high, TV news always asks
roofers how they stand it. The National Weather Service says being in
the sun can add 15 degrees to the heat index. Being on a hot roof must
be worse. To work safely and get the job done, I'd better avoid going
up when it's hot and humid.
Seems to me you're asking for a job to be done in a short period of time
but don't want to work except in the cool of the morning or evening--I
think you can have one or the other, but not both.
Sure, humidity makes a difference--one needs to be especially sure to
have plenty of fluids, wear light clothing and wide-brimmed hat and work
slow and steady. It's nice to break during the worst of an afternoon if
possible, but work crews manage to get through. It is true that if you
are not accustomed to manual labor you'll suffer worse than those who
are acclimated. If that's the case and you really can't wait to get
this done until cooler weather, I'd recommend hiring it out.
Chuckle- as a kid working construction, I once heard the guy driving the
honey wagon say that he was glad he wasn't a roofer in Indiana in August.
And he said this as he was hooking the hose up to the truck, preparing to
suck the porta-potties dry.
Quite common for the framers and roofers to start at dawn, and knock off
around 2 in the afternoon, just as heat index is peaking. If they wanted
overtime, like if job schedule was getting tight, sometimes they would come
back after supper and work till dusk. Only the young heroes would work
straight through the heat, and they all looked like leather, about like the
guys that ride those chariot lawnmowers all day w/o a shirt.
I've always been amazed more don't -- I suppose roofers have a worse
time than the framers as the homeowner tends to complain when woken up
at 5Am... :)
As a farmer, my recollections are sitting on the tractor as a kid w/o
even an umbrella wishing for the little white puffy cloud to drift over
the sun even for a few seconds. That's certainly one advantage of today
w/ cabs and A/C, but there's still more than enough opportunity for
outside hot work...
I have done it that way when working alone on a project, roofing is not my
cup of tea.
You need to be careful not to damage your new lower shingles with the tools
or debris from the one above.
A side note even I am not afraid of a single story 6/12 once I get a couple
of feet from the bottom.
With old shingles, stepping from the eave onto the ladder may be the
worst part. I plan to borrow a very stable ladder.
For several years, most of my trips to the roof have been to go up with
a bucket and broom to remove leaves and grit from a valley. Those short
trips are the worst because you don't have time to adjust to being on a
slope... and you're working where there's lots of loose grit, and you're
trying to keep the bucket from sliding.
My last experience was standing near the eave with a 16' pole saw,
trying to saw a limb. An extended pole saw is tiring, and it can make
it hard to keep your center of gravity over your feet even on the
ground. On the roof near the eave with a pole saw, a rope around my
waist would have given me peace of mind. Instead, I gave up and hired a
That perspective is why I'm worried about how fast I can work on a roof.
I'll probably feel more optimistic after I've been removing shingles
ten minutes. My BIL has a shingle shovel. I don't know how long it
takes to remove and toss a shingle. If it averages 15 seconds, I could
strip the five squares myself in two hours.
I guess felt doesn't take long with two people. I wonder if felt is
ever applied starting at the ridge, underlapping each course a few
inches as you work your way down. That way I wouldn't need to walk on
Yes. Sometimes. I do it this way on small planes that have very short
sections at the eve. Why? Because I hate having shingles end up in any
way that is not parallel to the ridge. This way the lines on the felt
are all parallel with the ridge. As long as the shingles run parallel
with the lines on the felt, they are parallel with the ridge, and I'm
Walking on the felt is only a concern as the pitch of the roof becomes
more and more extreme. a 6/12 pitch is not extreme. To me, at least.
I've been walking on roofs at least since I was about ten years old.
Things don't begin to get interesting until you get to a 7 or 8 in 12.
Pitches over 12/12 really become fun!:~(
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
I share your concerns. With any roof the worst part is stepping from the
ladder to the roof. Make sure you ladder extends above the roofline enough
for you to remain upright and hloding onto it as you step from the ladder to
the roof. It also helps if there is a ladder rung just at or above the roof
A single layer of roofing comes off pretty quick and with minimal effort.
Each sucessive layer triples the work load IMO. The worst part is pulling
out the nails that do not come out with the shingles. You have to get them
all! Both for your safety and the life of your new roof. Most nail pops in
a re- roof are caused by missed nails. A spade works faily well. A
roofer's spade/shovel works even better because it has a wedge welded to the
back side to improve the leverage. They are less than $20 at Lowes or HD.
The felt and your roof won't care as long as it overlaps properly. The felt
can be slippery.
I do like to extend the ladder several feet above the eave. I've found
that if I bent over to step onto the ladder, I didn't seem to be in a
good position to stabilize myself and the ladder if I slipped.
I don't understand about having a rung at or above the roofline. At the
roofline, there might not be room for my toe. Stepping onto a rung
above the roofline sounds less stable than stepping down.
The angle can be important. The recommended angle is 76 degrees, or a
slope of 4. When I leaned the ladder against the 12-foot eave for my
BIL to go up and inspect, I brought the foot out approximately 3 feet.
He brought it out two or three feet more.
A neighbor also believes it's safer to bring the foot of a ladder out
more than 1/4 the height. That's fine if you're standing on a low rung.
When you stand even with the eave, the amount of your weight against
the eave will be in proportion to how far out the foot of the ladder is.
That force against the eave will be equal to the force pushing the foot
of the ladder away from the house. At the recommended angle, that would
be 1/4 of my weight, which sounds much better than a force equal to half
my weight pushing the foot of my ladder out from under me.
I'll have a roofer's spade and a wonder bar. My neighbor said removing
shingles was very difficult, but he was removing seven layers of asphalt
shingles and cedar shakes from a 10/12 roof. He insists that I take his
foam rubber to avoid sliding, but my 6/12 may be fine for walking as
long as I don't tiptoe along the eaves.
I guess it could be slick on a humid morning.
If the work goes fairly fast and the forecast is clear, I won't have to
worry about getting felt down before the roof is stripped. I'm glad
John said coming from the top would work, though.
After more than a couple of decades working on residential roofs, I've
concluded that removing shingles one roof at a time is easier than
trying to remove all of them at once. There are good reasons for
If you try to remove all the shingles, down to the decking, all at
once, you end up with lots of little pieces that all must be picked
up. Oftentimes, removing the shingles one roof at a time will result
in whole shingles which are easier to manage while cleaning up. By the
way, about 80% of the work in roofing is trash management. Manage the
trash well and the job goes faster and easier.
Also, if you try to remove two (or more) roofs all at once, you are
pulling against more fasteners, all at once. A single nail may be
removed easily. Two nails next to each other, with more surface area
holding the successive layers of shingles and more surface area
embedded into the decking, are more than twice as hard to pull if you
try to pull both at once.
Remove the roofs one at a time. Pull the fasteners as you go. Keep the
jobsite clean and use the push broom often. If you are going to throw
the debris on the ground and then transfer into whatever trash
container you are going to use, put down a large tarp before you
start-this is an incredible aid to the clean up process and catches
all the small pieces and fasteners you might otherwise miss on final
A job like this really can be easy. How? By paying attention to small
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
Thanks. I have just one layer of shingles.
Bushes extend 4 feet beyond the eaves. I could put a tarp outside
there, but I don't think my plastic tarp could handle shingles and
nails. I'll want to pile up the debris as soon as I get a chance
because it would be hazardous to walk on. Picking up shingles should be
easy to work into my schedule. I have a big magnet which I've used for
roofing nails in the past.
The new shingles weigh about 60 pounds a bundle, so the debris should
weigh 960 pounds minus what has worn off in 20 years plus nails. I
wonder what's the best way to get it hauled away.
It looks like I'll have more than enough shingles to do the back porch,
too. It has no ridges or hips, just a valley, and the pitch is only
5/12. I may be able to do it myself if my BIL shows me how to do the
first job. Maybe I can save money by having debris from both jobs
hauled away at the same time.
I was mistaken in saying my BIL could apply only ten shingles a day
recently in Georgia's heat. He could carry only ten four-tab shingles at
a time up the 30' ladder. In the heat, he could work only three hours
each morning. It took him three days (nine hours) to do three squares.
He said that's because of all the cutting. It's a dome where 18 wedges
meet at the peak.
That makes me wonder: what's the best way to cut shingles? I imagine a
utility knife would soon be dull and gummy. Years ago when we were
insulating his attic, I discovered that hedge shears were dandy on
fiberglass. For some reason they didn't seem to get dull like a knife.
Anyway, they would have been easier to sharpen.
What's the best way to get shingles up to the roof? Climbing a ladder
while carrying a 60-pound bundle sounds difficult and dangerous.
W/ all the stuff you've enumerated, I <still> recommend just going and
getting some day laborer help...
As for the tarp and bushes--lay tarps <over> the bushes. Depending on
what they are, you may need some support.
Buy hook blades for your utility knife. They are super sharp and are
made for cutting asphalt composition shingles.
Climbing up a ladder with the bundle over your shoulder. Put a couple
of roof jacks just above where the ladder is and a scaffold (or toe)
board on the roof jacks. Put the bundle of shingles on the board.
Working off the ladder, install about three or four courses of
shingles laterally across the plane of the roof. Install the roof
jacks. Put on one or two more lateral courses of shingles. Place the
scaffold board on the jacks. Now you have a section safely roofed with
a place upon which you may safely stock a bundle of shingles and stand
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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