How to Repair Roof Shingles Like a Pro

When it comes to repairing roof shingles, having the right tools and materials is essential to ensure a professional and long-lasting result. Before starting any shingle repair project, it is important to gather the necessary tools and materials to make the process efficient and effective. By being prepared with the right equipment, homeowners can save time and money by avoiding unnecessary trips to the hardware store. In this article, we will discuss the essential tools and materials needed to repair roof shingles like a pro.

Need a roofing contractor you can trust?

Call us (509)201-4190 or send the form

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general guidance on how to repair roof shingles. While the information provided in this article is accurate, it is important to remember that roofing repairs and installations require specialized knowledge and experience. Therefore, it is always recommended that you contact a professional roofer for advice or assistance with your specific project. Advance Roofing LLC has been proudly serving the Spokane, WA area for many years with the highest standard of quality roofing solutions. If you need help with your roof repair job, don’t hesitate to reach out – we are here to help!

Safety Equipment 

When it comes to repairing roof shingles, safety should always be the number one priority. Working on a roof can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to follow proper safety precautions. Before starting any repairs, make sure you have the necessary safety equipment: 

  1. Firstly, a safety harness is essential for any roof work. This will help prevent accidents and provide stability while you’re working on a steep slope. It’s important to attach the harness to a secure anchor point, such as the roof’s ridge. 
  2. In addition to a safety harness, wearing the right gear is also important. Make sure to wear rubber-soled boots to provide traction on the roof and protect against slipping. Gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges and nails, while eye protection will shield your eyes from any debris. 
  3. Lastly, consider wearing a hard hat for extra protection. It will protect your head from falling objects or accidental bumps. 

Repairing roof shingles requires careful attention to safety. By wearing a safety harness, rubber-soled boots, gloves, and eye protection, you can minimize the risks associated with working at heights. Always follow safety precautions to prevent accidents and injuries while repairing roof shingles. 

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials due to their attractive appearance, expected lifespan, and cost-effectiveness. These shingles come in a wide range of colors and styles, allowing homeowners to choose the look that best complements their home’s aesthetic.

One of the key advantages of asphalt shingles is their ease of repair. For minor damages, such as a broken shingle or a few missing shingle tabs, repairs can be done without the need to replace the entire roof. This not only saves time but also reduces costs significantly. 

Replacement Shingles

Replacement Shingles

When it comes to replacing damaged shingles on your roof, it’s important to follow a step-by-step process to ensure a proper repair. Here’s how you can replace shingles like a pro: 

  1. Gather the necessary tools and materials: Replacement shingles, shingle cement or adhesive, roofing nails, a pry bar, and a hammer. 
  2. Begin by carefully removing the damaged shingle. Use the pry bar to lift the shingle above it and remove the roofing nails. 
  3. Slide out the damaged shingle and discard it. 
  4. Take the new shingle and apply a layer of shingle cement or adhesive to the backside. This will help secure it in place. 
  5. Slide the new shingle into the vacant spot, aligning it with the remaining shingles. Press it down firmly to ensure proper adhesion. 
  6. Secure the new shingle with roofing nails. Place the nails in the designated nail lines and hammer them in, making sure they are flush with the shingle. 
  7. Inspect the surrounding shingles to ensure they are undamaged. If necessary, apply a small amount of shingle cement or adhesive to seal any gaps. 

By following these steps, you can effectively replace damaged shingles on your roof. Remember to use the proper tools and materials, and take your time to ensure a secure and long-lasting repair.

Choosing the Right Type of Replacement Shingle

Roofing Nails 

Roofing nails are an essential component of a proper shingle installation. They are specifically designed to secure shingles and underlayment to the roof deck, ensuring a durable and long-lasting roof. 

There are different types and sizes of roofing nails commonly used in shingle installations. The most common types include galvanized roofing nails and inch roofing nails. Galvanized roofing nails are coated with zinc, making them resistant to rust and corrosion, while inch roofing nails are the standard size for most shingle installations. 

The size of roofing nails typically varies depending on the thickness of the shingles and underlayment being used. For standard 3-tab asphalt shingles, 1-1/4 inch roofing nails are commonly used. However, for thicker or heavier shingles like architectural shingles or composite shingles, longer nails may be required to ensure proper penetration and secure attachment. 

It is important to choose the appropriate type and size of roofing nails for your shingle installation to prevent issues such as loose shingles or water infiltration. Following building codes and manufacturer guidelines will ensure that the right nails are used. 

When installing shingles or underlayment, it is crucial to use the right roofing nails for a secure and reliable roof. Always consult with a professional or refer to manufacturer guidelines for specific recommendations on the type and size of roofing nails needed for your roofing project. 

Asphalt Roofing Cement 

Asphalt roofing cement is a crucial component when it comes to repairing roof shingles. This versatile material is used to seal and secure shingles to the roof deck, providing a watertight barrier that protects against water infiltration and preserves the longevity of the roof. 

When repairing broken or damaged shingles, applying asphalt roofing cement along the edges and underside of the shingles helps create a strong adhesive bond to the roof deck. This prevents any gaps or openings that could allow water to seep through, causing potential leaks and damage to the underlying structure. 

One of the key benefits of using asphalt roofing cement is its exceptional adhesive properties. It forms a reliable seal that withstands various weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, and extreme heat. This means that the repaired shingles will stay firmly in place, maintaining the overall integrity of the roof. 

To ensure effective application, it is essential to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the appropriate tools, such as a trowel or putty knife, to spread the asphalt roofing cement evenly. Additionally, it’s important to choose a high-quality asphalt roofing cement that meets your specific repair needs. 

By employing asphalt roofing cement in your shingle repair projects, you can enhance the durability and performance of your roof, providing added protection against water infiltration and ensuring its longevity for years to come.

Nail Gun (optional) 

When it comes to repairing roof shingles, using a nail gun can be an optional yet efficient method that saves time and effort compared to using a traditional hammer. A nail gun is a versatile tool that can be adjusted for different nail sizes and has the power to drive nails into the shingles with precision and speed. 

To ensure proper nailing with a nail gun, it’s important to choose the appropriate nail material, size, and grade. Galvanized roofing nails are commonly used for shingle repair due to their corrosion resistance. The recommended nail size is typically 1 ¼ inch for standard 3-tab shingles, but it’s crucial to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific type of shingles being repaired. 

When using a nail gun, it’s essential to follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. These instructions typically specify the number of nails required per shingle and the proper positioning of the nails. This ensures that the shingles are securely fastened and resist high winds and other weather conditions. 

While a nail gun can be a helpful alternative to a hammer for repairing roof shingles, it’s important to prioritize safety. Proper training, wearing a safety harness, and following all safety precautions are crucial when using any power tool. By utilizing a nail gun correctly, repairs can be completed efficiently, saving both time and labor costs. 

Hammer (optional) 

A hammer is a crucial tool when it comes to repairing roof shingles. Its primary function is to drive and remove nails, making it an essential tool in the repair process. When repairing roof shingles, a hammer can be used to remove old nails from damaged shingles or pry up entire shingles that need to be replaced. 

There are specific types of hammers that are suitable for this task. Roofing hammers, also known as roofing hatchets, are designed specifically for roofing tasks and have a flat striking surface on one end and a sharp claw on the other. Framing hammers, on the other hand, are heavier and are typically used for larger construction projects. Both types of hammers can be effective for roof shingle repairs, but roofing hammers are often preferred due to their specialized design. 

Using the correct technique when using a hammer in roof shingle repair is essential to avoid damaging the surrounding shingles or the roof deck. It’s important to aim the hammer correctly and strike the nail or shingle with controlled force. This will ensure that the nail is securely driven or the damaged shingle is lifted without causing unnecessary damage. 

In summary, a hammer is an indispensable tool in repairing roof shingles. It can be used to remove nails and pry up damaged shingles. The specific types of hammers suitable for this task include roofing hammers and framing hammers. By using the correct technique, a hammer can help facilitate smooth and efficient roof shingle repairs. 

Preparing to Repair the Roof Shingles 

Before starting any roof shingle repair project, it’s important to properly prepare yourself and gather all the necessary tools and materials. Taking the time to prepare will help

ensure that the repair is done correctly and efficiently. In this section, we will discuss the essential steps to take before repairing your roof shingles like a pro. 

  1. Safety First: 

Before climbing up on your roof, always prioritize safety. Ensure you have a sturdy and properly set up ladder to access the roof safely. It’s also crucial to wear appropriate safety gear like a harness, gloves, and non-slip shoes. Check the weather forecast and avoid working in extreme hot or cold conditions. 

  1. Inspect the Roof: 

Before repairing your roof shingles, conduct a thorough inspection to identify the damaged or missing shingles. Look for signs of water infiltration, like stains on the ceiling or walls. Pay close attention to any loose or curled shingles, as these should be replaced immediately. 

  1. Gather Tools and Materials: 

Ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials for the job. This may include replacement shingles, roofing nails, a roofing hammer, a utility knife, a pry bar, a caulking gun with asphalt roofing cement, and a roof pitch gauge. It’s also a good idea to have extra shingles on hand for future repairs. 

  1. Understand Building Codes: 

Before replacing your shingles, familiarize yourself with the local building codes and regulations. This will ensure that your repair work meets the required standards and prevents any future issues. 

By properly preparing yourself and having all the necessary tools and materials, you’ll be ready to repair your roof shingles like a pro. Taking these initial steps will help make the rest of the repair process smoother and more efficient. 

Check for Loose or Broken Shingles 

To check for loose or broken shingles on your roof, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection. Follow these steps to effectively identify any issues: 

  1. Start with a visual inspection: Begin by visually inspecting your roof from the ground. Use binoculars if needed to get a closer look at the condition of your shingles. Take note of any visible damage. 
  2. Run your hand along the edge of the shingles: Gently run your hand along the edge of the shingles to feel for any loose or lifted shingles. If you notice any shingles that feel unstable or move easily, they may need to be replaced. 
  3. Look for any signs of roof leakage: One of the indicators of loose or broken shingles is water infiltration. Check for water stains on the ceiling or walls inside your home. These stains can indicate that water is seeping through damaged shingles and into your home. 
  4. Address any issues promptly: If you identify any loose or broken shingles during your inspection, it’s important to address them promptly. Repair or replace the damaged shingles to prevent further deterioration and potential water damage.

By following these steps, you can effectively check for loose or broken shingles on your roof and take the necessary steps to repair them. Regular inspections will help maintain the integrity of your roof and prevent more significant issues in the future. 

Removing Damaged Shingles 

When it comes to removing damaged shingles, it’s important to approach the task with care and precision. Following these steps will help you remove the damaged shingles like a pro. 

  1. Gently tap a flat bar under the damaged shingles: To begin, gently tap a flat bar under the damaged shingles. This will help break the seal-down strips free. Be careful not to force the bar, as shingles can easily rip. 
  2. Lift the edges of the surrounding shingles: Once the seal-down strips are broken, lift the edges of the surrounding shingles. This will allow you to access and remove the nails that are holding the damaged shingle in place. 
  3. Remove the nails with a pry bar. Slide the damaged shingle out from under the surrounding shingles. 

By following these steps, you can effectively remove damaged shingles without causing further harm to your roof. Remember to exercise caution and use the appropriate tools, such as a pry bar, to ensure a smooth removal process.

Roof installation tips from experts


In conclusion, repairing roof shingles like a pro requires a careful and systematic approach. To summarize the key steps and techniques discussed in this article, it is essential to start by identifying the type of shingles you have – whether it be asphalt, wood, metal, slate, or tile. 

Using the correct materials and safety equipment, such as roofing nails, an extension ladder, and a safety harness, is crucial to ensure a successful repair job. Removing damaged shingles should be done carefully in order to prevent further damage to surrounding ones. When replacing broken shingles, it is important to align them correctly and secure them with appropriate roofing nails. 

It’s worth noting that this article also provides information on fixing cracked or split shingles. This alternative option can be beneficial in prolonging the lifespan of your shingles and preventing further damage to your roof. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Roof Shingle Repair

What is a row of shingles?

A row of shingles is a horizontal line of individual shingles that are laid out side by side. It is usually composed of three, four, or five courses.

How do I install roof nails in the right position?

To install roof nails correctly, start by marking the location where the nail will be placed on each course of shingle before driving it into place. Make sure to drive the nail head at least one-eighth inch below the surface of the asphalt so it won’t be visible from outside your home. Also, make sure to keep nails at least one inch away from any ridge vent openings or other ventilation elements on your roof so they do not obstruct airflow.

How does replacing my roof affect curb appeal?

Replacing your roof can have a dramatic effect on both its performance as well as its aesthetic value. Investing in quality materials that enhance your home's exterior will provide better protection against weather damage while also giving it greater curb appeal when viewed from outside your property. Appealing color choices will also help boost its value if you ever decide to sell in future years.

How do I calculate square footage for my roof repair job?

The square footage of any area can be calculated by multiplying its length times width in feet (L x W). For example, if you have a 10 foot by 15 foot section that needs repairing then you would multiply 10 x 15 which equals 150 square feet total for that area needing repair work done.