Master Techniques

Hey everyone,
I know the name of this topic sounds like bull.(i know how roofers think). But gimme a chance and at least skim through this post.
My names Mason and i’m 23. I been roofing for approx 6 yrs. Aside from the odd metal or rolled roofing jobs, I mostly install 3-tab and laminate shingles.
I’ve worked for alot of different people and have had the opportunity to study alot of different techniques and ways of getting things done. Everybody has there own way of doing things it seems and the speeds differ from person to person company to company. Some guys do really nice work, but at a pace that takes far too much time. Other guys are lightning fast, but they butcher everything they touch and there lines are horrible. So the question comes to mind: What would be the best way? cont.

with quality comes speed and a better name

I started installing at 16 and it was all about the speed. Running that nailer as quick and acccurate as i could(guy i started with was really picky about exposed nails). I wanted to be the fastest nailer ever. As the seasons went by and i became more experienced, I started picking through everyone elses techniques and styles, tweaking and integrating everyone elses shit that made them fast into my own “master technique”.
First i’ll get some basics outta the way.Standing or Knee Pads? I dont care what anyone says, STANDING is FASTER. Standing allows you to move around much faster and keeps you at a better angle and center for running your nailer. But standing puts alot of stress on your back. If you want, wear the pads for when you start to get stiff or sore. I stand always, but i have a naturally strong back so its not so bad for me. It seems the faster i go, the less sore i get. (always moving at a good pace keeps everything from going stiff) cont.

I follow the manufacturers instructions that are printed on every bundle that I carry around the
roof, and I snap every line. I also prefer gtape
over measuring every line, that alone saves me quite a bit of time.
besides…If you don’t use G-Tape, you don’t really care about roofing!!


for the record, with 3 tab shingles…
I find the center of the roof, make sure I have good size tabs remaining on each end, then snap a series of up and down lines and pyramid from both directions…
keeps 3 roofers busy. As I get above the shinglers, I jump over to the edges and cut in the last shingle.
We move along pretty good for a bunch of old guys.
Architectural is a little different…and we prefer to go right to left, if we have a choice.

I worked for a really fast company in buffalo ny when I started out putting 4 or 5 ,6 sq and hour but the quality was never as good as it is now I have slowed down some but I own my business now and every job becomes personal in a way . I stand up to , staring to sit down a little more now days though.

I’ve shingled all different ways,(Block, Tab, Gauge, straight up, etc.)but the fastest way, is the way they show you on the bundle! Its called 45’n around here. You notice how its a stepped pattern? That pattern runs on a 45 degree angle. Hence 45’n. This technique has 1 simple motion per install cycle. Meaning i only have to pull the shingle into place with one quick motion then nail it. It also has a cross benefit between laminates and 3tabs because the motion is the same cept a gauge is used with 3 tabs. There is even a tab(pre-cut slot or slice. sometimes on the sides as well) on the top of shingles(not all) that will help you keep your 45 looking perfect. This tab will even allow you to create your own precut patterns making you even more efficient. The only prob with 45’n is that its unreliable if your installing 3tabs and you have dormers or other things in the centre of your panel. When it comes to shit like that, i use the blocking technique to bring both sides of the panel up to the top of the dormer evenly(3-tabs are so unforgiving), then i close the rest of the panel up with a 45.
Laminates and 3-tabs are different designs but the 45 is still basically the same. The pattern cut into laminates is consistant and is fine to go off of. But with 3tabs, its a bit different. 3tabs are less consistant in there shape and using the shingle exposure is the only sure way to go(less you want to waste your time chalking lines all day). The guage is a tool built in to roofing hatches and nailers and is for “guaging” or measuring exposure. A bonus of gauging is that your gun never has to leave your hand!
But the gauge is for 3tabs only, trying to use it on designer shingles will just slow you down. You will also find that if you use the precut tabs on the top of shingles to make your pattern, there can be a few inches difference with this tab between different shingle types. Thats because each shingle has different seam spacing. The tab will be 6 1/2 inches on a 3-tab and can be upwards of 10 inches on others. Using these tabs for pattern cutting and seam spacing will keep any manufacturer inspecter off your back about tight patterns or any other bull they can come up with.
One more thing on this note, if you go straight up a chalk line(block) and you use a gauge, use a different technique! You could be much faster!(or at least use the keys. The whole point of the gauge is to never have to reach for your fastening tool :slight_smile:
These days I’m always the fastest everywhere i go and noone ever has any probs with my finished work. Ater all, you dont make money doing call backs all the time. Next, i’ll go into valleys and edges.

The Pyramid is really only practical for steeps. You have to move around too much for the ammount of shingles you can install before moving. If that makes sense to you.
And whats this gtape?

Did some research and found gtape wont make that much of a difference for a veteran roofer.
Because i gauge 3tabs, i just have to make sure my bottom row is straight and i can ride the gauge confidently right to the top with no worries. But then again, my way works awesome for all shingle types :slight_smile:

I find that if your a right hand hitter, left to right is the best way. If you gun with your left hand, right to left will get you going your fastest.
Its quicker and more accurate to pull the nailer towards you rather than running it outwards away from you. Not sure if that makes sense, but if you use a nailer, you know what i mean.

The pyramid cant be used in winter either. At least not in real cold temps because trying to get the tab to open on the sides of the shingles will just break it off. then you end up with two small breaks on each side of all your shingles.

onr more quick note before i continue. Unlike 3tabs and other shingles, laminates are stacked back to back or face to face. They must be sorted upon opening of the bundle for optimal installation. After sorting for a while, you’ll find a way to sort them very fast. I stand just below the bundle i’m opening and with a quick grab and pull, you can remove the plastic/paper wrapping exposing the top of the stack. I then use my left hand to pull teh first shingle( which is usually face up) onto or right onfront of my toes then i use my right hand to grab the next shingle(face down) and flip it face up on top of the shingle i previously pulled down. Repeat till the bundle is all sorted in a nice stack at your feet. If your left handed, just reverse the pull and flip hand.
We usually stack our bundles in groups of 5 so i usually sort a full 5 bundles before setting them out for install. But you dont wanna have too many sorted stacks laying around cause they’ll get in your way, or the wind will get hold of them, or you’ll run out of daylight and have a shit load of open bundles you dont wanna leave for the night or weekend. You might end up very sorry if you do :slight_smile: trust me on that one.

I’ll start with 3tab and single layer shingles. Theirs a few ways you can do them. Open like cedars, one side laps another and is cut, or a weave. Weaves look like crap and open vallys take too long. I use the lap and cut method. Lots of guys say the steeper panel should be braught over last and cut. But sometimes it looks wierd. So i usually always go with the higher panel less the angles absolutely call for it. Dormers are always tied in on the appropriate row on main panel then final lap is main over dormer. The cut being made on the lapped main panel.
Becuase laminates have that extra layer of material and different type of look, you can use california style. Rather than having to over lap and cut one side of the valley, you can simply run a row up and down your vally with the cut pattern facing the dormer or other panel you have already come up the vally with. eg; Say i shingled the valley in from the left side. for the right, instead of overlapping, I’ll run a row from the bottom of the valley to the top. Now all i have to do is go up the right side with no need for an overlap and one long cut.
Edges are simple. Some guys always start at the edge whether they have to go left or right. Others just hang them over and cut every 4 rows or so. I;ve seen some hang the whole side over, chalk a line, and use a shingle king or circular. I only start from an edge if its left to right. I hang over and cut every 5 rows. If there is a valley on my left and an edge on my right, I go kinda dangerous and start one shingle out from the vally. I still 45, but i make sure my shingle going into the vally is going off the shingle already nailed on in that row.
After a while, you’ll barely have any waste, regardless of shingle type

by the time you sort through 5 bundles id have 2 or 3 bundles installed.

I see we have added another king to our list of members.

hmmm, i can literally sort a bundle in around 15 secs. If you shingle out of the bundle and flip every second shingle while your actually nailing you have two movements to perfect, rather than one simple pull down movement. I’ve worked with alot of guys and heard alot of shit, But thats what it turns out to be “shit”.
Maybe i’ll make a youtube vid for you guys.
And for the record, i only sorta stack or so when we start, i have a guy to bring me sorted shingles most of the time. I do a consistant 14-15 bundles an hour regardless of shingle type.

am I the only one in here that just spit a mouthful of coke thru their nose and all over the keyboard.
Veteran…6 years roofing?..
all I can say is “Puhleaaassssseeeeeeeee”.

that’s 120 squares per day…
at $50.00/ square labor only…
ummmmm 6 thousand dollars a day
5 days a week 30,000/ week
x 4 weeks/ month 120,000/
x 12 months…
tada…ready $1.44 Million per year.
I think we have a record here folks…

Please don’t misinterpret my scarcasm
with scepticism…glad to have finally met you.

I stand corrected and humbly ask for your forgiveness…it’s only 40 squares/ day
or 200 per 5 day week…only 1/2 million dollars per year…yup…makes more sense now…

how do you get 120 square a day at 15 bundles an hour?
Thats only 5 square an hour. I dont know about you, but i put in 10 hrs at the most a day. There is also tear off, repairs, paper, membrains, etc. I wish I could do new stuff all the time.

6 yrs of going hard with only 2 winters off. I say thats alot. Roofing isn’t rocket science and theres a basic set of rules to follow. After a year or so, I’d say its all about tweaking your nailing and cutting.

you’re doing fine titan

Keep going, what’s after the valleys?

I don’t know what you mean by sorting out laminates.
What manufactuers spec is that in ?

Flashing is something you usually have to show a guy. Its hard to explain. Doing new places is a bit different than re-roofs. Tieing into old beat up flashing is usually shitty and you do the best you can. Fix what you have to.
When it comes to step flashing a new place, I save it till last(sometimes you cant). Making sure my nails are at least 6 inches from the wall or whatever needs flashing. The rule i’ve always been taught is to never nail the flashing to the panel, nail it to the wall only. Why nail the shit outta the area your trying to protect? You’d be surprised how many nails “you dont need” to get the job done. Doing it this way makes for a way smoother reroof without having to piss around cleaning out flashing.
Plumbing stacks and vents are pretty much the same. The only thing i do thats a bit different than most guys, is that i dont keep cutting the shingles so they are tight. You could say i use straight cuts rather than half and full circles. eg, say i braught my row up to a plumbing stack and the pipe is approx in the centre of my row. i wont cut around the pipe, i’ll cut two straight cuts on either side of it. The flashing/vent will cover this anyway. Cutting tightly around it makes no difference because if you have done it properly, the water cant flow on enough of an angle to get in.
Other types of flashing are all pretty much done the same way. Getting fast in this area is all about getting the opportunity to do lots of it :slight_smile: