Understanding The Process Of Your Shingle Roof Installation


Shingle roof replacement If you’re in the market for a shingle roof replacement because your existing one is old and leaking. Or educate yourself on the anatomy of a roofing system, you’ve come to the right place. First you should know that the average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is usually between 20-25 years. Did you know that a shingle roof consists of over 10 different components that are necessary for your roof to not leak an last a long time?  Depending on the quality of the installation, most shingles roofs on homes in the DC Metro area will start to leak around the 15 year mark. In this article we will discuss how Premier Roofing Solutions ,a roofing specialist, installs shingles along with all the necessary components to ensure your system thrives. 

The Top 3 Common Reasons Why Roofs With Shingles Leak


  1. Missing Ice Shielding/Weather Guard – This special underlayment is designed and placed along the more vulnerable areas of water penetration on your shingle roof. What is Ice Shielding/Weather Guard?
  2. No Drip Edge – Rain will blow up underneath the side of the shingles. What is drip edge?
  3. No Flashing at Valleys –  Roof valley leakings are common and its important for flashing to be installed at where two roofs meet on low sloped roof. It is an extra layer of protection against water damage as it gives stormwater a definitive area to be directed into the gutter and downspout system. What is roof flashing?


What Constitutes a Proper Installation of a Shingle Roof?


Shingle Roof Installation A correct and proper installation of a shingle roof is extremely important. If the roof is not installed properly, repair cost will mushroom year after year and you will end up having to pay the cost of replacing all the shingles on your roof.



Lets go over what constitutes a proper shingle installation and the necessary components along with it.


Remove Old Shingles – Inexperienced roofers will try to convince you that the new roofing system can be installed over the old one. That is not the case. It is very important to remove the old shingles down to bare wood, because they will cause a number of problems, including:


    1. Shorter lifespan because the roof is not able to regulate temperature and ventilate properly. What is proper roof ventilation?
    2. Rotting and mold on the old shingles will be hard to detect, which will lead to shingle roof leakages and black mold to form. Costing you thousands.
    3. The new layer of shingles will not lay correctly at all.


Inspect Wood Sheathing – Check for signs of rotting and mold. It is critical that your roof contractor replaces all rotted or molded sheathing as it will spread and become a bigger and more expensive problem in the future.


Remove and Install New Tar Paper – Roofing underlayment should be secured with nails and not staples. As staples will not keep it secure and will tear the felt. Replacing the old underlayment is crucial because if it rotted and new shingles are placed overtop. There is nothing protecting your home from leaks.


Install Weather Guard – Weather Guard or ice shielding is a thick layer of flexible waterproof material. Its purpose is to prevent water from leaking around dormers and others areas including eaves ,valleys, and dormers.


Install Starter Strip – A recurring error among inexperienced contractors is not installing a starter strip around the perimeter . The extra adhesive that is provided will reduce the likelihood of shingles blowing off the eaves of your roof.


Properly Secure Shingles – Nailing the shingles to the roof too hard or in the incorrect position will result in water penetrating your home. 


Flash Roof Penetrations – It is common for water to leak around vents pipes and other roofing penetrations if not flashed. Leaks around chimneys are very common also. Flashing should be installed prior to shingles being laid. 


Install Drip Edge – This should be installed along the entire perimeter. This will prevent wind from blowing water up underneath the shingles along the eaves.

The Anatomy of a Shingle Roof 


  1. Roof Ridge – The horizontal line that runs the length of the roof. The highest point where the roof planes meet.
  2. Ridge Vent – Ventilation that runs along the ridge of the roof. This allows heat and moisture to escape your attic space. 
  3. Roof Flashing – Roof flashing is a thin piece of metal that professional roof contractors will install to divert water away from areas that are prone to heavy water runoff or where water pools. You will find flashing around chimneys, vents, skylights, and valleys.
  4. Roof Deck – This is the structural foundation for your roofing system that is commonly constructed of plywood.
  5. Underlayment or Tar Paper – Layer of protection that is installed between the shingles and roof deck. This will protect your home from water penetrating through.
  6. Valleys – Where two slopes meet and create a “V”. This area should be covered with flashing depending on the grade.
  7. Roof Gable – The exterior triangular section of the roof. Located between the peak and eave of the roof.
  8. Drip Edge – A metal strip that runs the perimeter of the roof along the eaves. This will prevent wind from blowing water under the shingles from the edges of your home.
  9. Dormers – Dormers are the vertically pushed out section of a roof that contains a window. 
  10.  Weather Guard/Ice Shielding – A thick layer of waterproof material that is installed beneath the shingles along areas where water is prone to penetrating your roofing system.
  11. Eaves – This is the outermost part of the roof along the edge. 2-3 feet up from the bottom of your roof is considered the “eave”.

After reading over this list of the different parts of a roof, you’ll have a better understanding of your home’s roofing system. When meeting with a roof contractor about a roof replacement or repair, you’ll be able to have an informed conversation. As well as test their knowledge and skill level. 

Roofing Specialist vs General Contractor 


Whether in need of a full shingle roof replacement or some minor flat roof repairs. It is always important to hire a roofing specialist over a general contractor. Most general contractors are skilled and do great work beyond roofing. But with roofing being extremely technical and precise, who would you rather hire? Someone who installs siding on Monday, windows on Tuesday and drywall on Thursdays? Or a roofing specialist who lives and breathes roofing everyday of the week. The answer is simple. Roofing specialists, like ourselves at Premier Roofing Solutions, are going to install all the components necessary for your roofing system to thrive. While the general contractor you hired showed up with only shingles and tar paper. Hiring a general contractor for a roof replacement might result in a constant loop of repairs. Or even paying for a premature shingle replacement 10 years post installation. If you’re in the market for a full roof replacement, do the right thing. With roofing being the most expensive and important home improvement project, hiring a GC to do the work could end up costing you double or even more than roofing contractor.