How to Replace Missing Asphalt Shingles

Replacing asphalt shingles is a fairly easy job provided you have the right tools and materials. It is normally well within reach of the average DIYer and can save a welcome amount of money as well. Asphalt shingles can get dislodged or even blown away or broken by bad weather and dealing with the problem quickly is essential to prevent any further damage that can be caused by leaking. Before you begin, be sure that the weather forecast for the day is good and make sure that the weather is completely dry.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Roofing cement
  • Replacement asphalt shingles
  • Roofing nails
  • Caulk and caulking gun
  • Putty knife
  • Claw-headed hammer
  • Ladder
  • Pry bar

Step 1 - Make Preparations

To access the roof, use a sturdy ladder on a completely flat and stable surface. For added stability, you may also want a helper to hold the ladder in place while you climb up it. Keep in mind that asphalt shingles look smaller than they actually are. This is because they are notched in such a way that when you lift one of the shingles, it may appear as though there are three shingles sliding underneath. This is normal, though you should remember that this is actually just one shingle.

It is also best to carry out the repairs in moderate temperatures, especially in the spring or the autumn. This is because the shingles can become easily breakable and brittle in cold winter weather while in hot summer weather they can become fragile and flexible, making them harder to work with.

Prepare yourself carefully, making sure that you have non-slip shoes on and a belt to carry your tools.

Step 2 - Examine the Roof

Before you start any work, thoroughly examine the roof to determine which shingles you need to replace. If there are missing shingles, take these into account as well. If you find that there are any damaged shingles, remove them as described in the following step. Determine how many new asphalt shingles you will need and purchase enough, making sure that you have some spares.

Step 3 - Remove Broken Shingles

Access the broken shingle by sliding a pry bar or a trowel underneath the shingle above it. Be careful not to damage the good shingle when doing this as you will need to break away the seal that connects them together. With a claw hammer, pry up any nails that hold the shingle in place. Work from the top of the roof downwards, removing any shingles that need to be replaced. You should also take care not to damage the felt of the roofing while removing the shingles.

Step 4 - Replace the Missing Shingles

Following the pattern in which the shingles on your roof are installed, slide the replacement shingle up underneath the one above it. Remember that it is meant to cover the holes where the nails go. Use the pry bar to hold up the above shingle so that you can slide the new one in place and then nail it to the roof. Where you end up with any damaged areas or exposed nail heads, apply some roofing cement in a thin layer as directed to by the product's label.