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Easy Shingle Repair

Fix those potential leaks now.

FH08FEB_REPSHI_01-2Family Handyman
Remove those ugly damaged shingles and stop potential roof leaks by following this simple three-step shingle replacement process.

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Replace damaged shingles

Photo 1: Pry gently to break shingle free

Gently tap a flat bar under the shingles to break the seal-down strips free. Don’t force it—shingles rip easily.

Strip out photo of single shingle showing nail locations

Find all eight nails in these typical locations.

Photo 2: Pry up shingle and nail together

Wedge the notch of the pry bar under the shingle at the nail head, then pry up both shingle and nail.

Photo 3: Nail on the new shingle

Nail down the new shingle, propping the tabs above as you nail to avoid breaking them.

A broken shingle is both ugly and a leak waiting to happen. But as long as you can find matching shingles (and you’re not afraid of heights), the repair is straightforward.

Pick a day when the weather is moderate to do the repair—too cold and the shingles can crack; too warm and the shingle sealants are tough to break.

Loosen the tabs under the broken shingle and the next two courses above it (Photo 1). Shingles are fastened with eight nails each—four at the center just above the tab slots and four through the shingle above it—and you have to lift up all the shingles that cover those nails to remove them.

After all the tabs are loose, push the flat bar up under the damaged shingle to each nail, centering the nail in the flat bar notch (Photo 2). To avoid ripping shingles, gently work the pry bar under both tabs as you push it up.

Pop out the nails by prying underneath the shingle instead of trying to dig the nail head out from the top of the shingle; that will wreck the shingle. Then push the shingle down from the nail head and pull out the nail. After removing the center row of nails on the damaged shingle, lift the undamaged shingles above it and remove the next row of nails. Then pull out the damaged shingle.

Slide the new shingle up into place. Nail the center row first, then the center row of the course above it, nailing 1/2 in. over from the old holes (Photo 3). Nail at the top of the slots between the tabs, just above the sealant strip.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Hammer
  • Pry bar

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Leather gloves
  • Shingle nails
  • Shingles

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