How to Install Roofing Paper Over Shingles?

When installing a new roof, the roofing paper is an essential component in the roof structure. It forms a protective barrier between the roof deck and the shingles to keep water from leaking into the deck. Thankfully, installing the roofing paper is simple.

You do not have to be a roofing contractor to know the roof’s integral parts. Knowing how to install the roofing paper can help you keep up with your roof’s maintenance, extending its lifespan. To do it the right way, you must have all the essential tools and equipment.

This step-by-step guide will help you understand the measures involved in installing roofing paper over shingles, including the tools and supplies you need.

That said, let’s get started!

How to Install Roofing Felt Paper on Your Roof

Before you begin the installation process, you need to have all the necessary tools and equipment. Here are some of the supplies you must have.

  • Tape measure for measuring the roof and the roofing paper
  • Chalk line for marking guidelines on the roof and the roofing paper
  • Nail gun to install some nails on the roofing paper to prevent it from sliding
  • Utility knife to cut the roofing felt at the marked guidelines

Once you’ve assembled all the necessary tools and equipment, you are ready to go. It is best to do some prep work on the roof before installing roofing paper.

Prep Work for Roofing Felt Installation

The key to a roofing project’s success lies in the energy invested in the preparation. If you take some time to prepare the roof, installing the roofing paper will be very easy.

Before you start the preparation process, check the weather. You should start the roofing project only if there’s a forecast of several days of little or no rain.

Here are some of the prep works to do before installing the roofing paper.

  • Clean and dry the roofing deck completely. Clear off any pieces of old felt, stray roof tacks, or any other debris on the roof. To find the stray nails for a clean, smooth surface, run a flat-bottomed shovel on the roof decking.
  • Before you apply the roofing felt, replace all the rotten decking. Also, install drip edges on the eaves, all flashing, and valley liners before laying the felt paper.
  • Snap the chalk line 33 5/8” above the roof’s eave line. After that, snap the lines every 34” while moving up the roof. Ask a friend or family member to assist you in this step. Ensure that the lines come out straight and clean.

Rushing through these initial steps may compromise the felt installation process. Sloppy oversights like stray nails can interfere with the process. If you feel overwhelmed in the planning and preparation phase, reach out to a professional roofing contractor for help.

Laying the Roofing Felt Paper on the Roof

When applying the roofing paper felt, do it in the overlapping layers. Begin at the bottom of your roofline and work your way up the roof. By doing so, any water that gets through the shingles will flow down the tar paper and not underneath it.

Here are the ten essential steps to follow when installing the felt paper.

  1. Starting at one bottom corner of the roof, tack the roofing paper there and unroll it a few feet (around 10 feet) lengthwise.
  1. Fasten the first part of the felt paper to the roof’s corner using a staple gun for staplers or a nail gun for nails.
  1. As you unroll the felt paper, secure it with nails or staples after every 8 inches. Some roofing experts recommend stapling the felt around every 4 inches.
  1. When installing the first layer of the roofing felt, ensure that the paper hangs over the eave by around 6 inches. Also, ensure that there are no bubbles or wrinkles.
  1. Overlay the second layer of felt onto the roofing paper and fasten it through the overlay to secure the felt’s top underneath. Ensure that the edge of the new roll overlaps the old roll’s edge by around 3-4 inches.
  1. Continue laying the felt along the roof’s length until you reach the end. If there’s extra roofing felt paper, cut it carefully to the roof’s edge using a utility knife.
  1. To install the felt paper over obstacles such as vent pipes, cut a slit in the roofing felt and place it over the pipe.
  1. Continue laying the felt paper in strips moving up the roof, ensuring that it lays flat. Make sure that the horizontal edges of the roofing felt overlap each other by around 3-4 inches.
  1. When you reach the peak, leave the hanging piece of felt in place. Do not fold it over the peak. Repeat the procedure on the remaining sides of the roof
  1. Cut a piece of the roofing felt that fits over the roof peak and overlap both of the installed felt pieces by around 3-4 inches. After that, you can install the shingles.

In some instances, roofing felt papers get glued down instead of using nails or staples. Glue applications are ideal for flat roofs and protective surfaces underneath roof-level decks. You can install such roofs by heating the felt’s back and applying it to the roof.

As you install the roofing paper, never mount it on a wet sheathing. That will encourage mold and mildew growth, and you’ll end up ripping off the roof to install a new felt paper. Dry felt paper and sheathing also ensure watertight roofing in severe climates.

Final Words

Installing roofing paper over shingles is simple but requires you to be very careful and keen. Take the time to prepare the roof’s sheathing by removing stray nails and all the debris on the roof. Putting down the felt paper will be the fastest part of the roofing process. But if you find it overwhelming, Roof Master can help you with the task.

Contact us now to get a free free inspection for quality underlayment installation services.

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