Tips For Installing Tar Paper On Your Roof Before Asphalt Shingles

If you plan to spend some time this summer installing a new asphalt shingle roof on your home, then you need to know how to properly install its tar paper underlayment. The tar paper, also sometimes called "roofing felt," is a water barrier installed between your roof's plywood sheeting and its asphalt shingles. If the tar paper is not correctly installed, then the new roof will leak when it rains.

Follow these tips to correctly install the roofing felt on your home's new roof: 

Tip: Don't Let the Tar Paper Get Wet Before the Shingles Are Installed

If it takes multiple days for you to put the asphalt shingles on your roof, then it is vital that you do not let the tar paper get wet. You must cover the roofing felt with a plastic tarp if there is any chance that it might rain. Without covering, tar paper will wrinkle and make the installation of your asphalt shingles a more complicated procedure. 

Tip: Use a Pneumatic Stapler to Attach the Roofing Felt to the Roof's Plywood Underlayment

To attach your new roof's tar paper to the plywood underlayment, you should use a pneumatic stapler with one-inch staples. If you do not have a stapler, you can rent one or use roofing nails instead of staples. Staples are easier and faster to use than roofing nails, but roofing nails will also get the job done correctly.

Tip: Use the Tar Paper Level as a Guide for Your Shingle Layers

While you may be tempted to install the roofing felt layer without using a level, this is not the best thing to do. Instead, lay the roofing felt down using a level. Once the felt is installed, then you can use the markings and edges of the felt for aligning the shingle layer. This technique prevents the need for using chalk lines when you install the shingles and will save you a lot of time.

Tip: Cut Tar Paper at the Top of Peaks and Correctly Seam it Together

Finally, when you reach the top of a peak on your roof, you must cut the tar paper at the top of the roof's peak. Install roofing felt on each side of the roof's peaks, and place a seam strip over the top of the peak to prevent the peak from leaking. Make your seam strips big enough that they hang over each side of the peak a few inches on each side.