If you have a few basic construction skills and plenty of time, you should be able to put a new roof on a small shed by yourself, rather than hiring a professional roofing company. One of the keys to success, however, is choosing the right roofing materials for the job. Here's are a few tips to help you pick the best materials as you navigate your local home improvement store or roofing supply shop.
When shopping for shingles, the first choice you need to make is whether to go with architectural or 3-tab shingles. While architectural shingles are thicker than standard ones and thus tend to last longer, they are also more expensive. If you're on a tight budget, there's nothing wrong with roofing your shed with basic, 3-tab shingles. It is, after all, a shed -- not your home. If your shed's walls are not all that sturdy, you might actually be better off with 3-tab shingles since they are lighter and will put less strain on your shed's walls.
Whether you choose architectural shingles or 3-tab, there will be several color choices to consider. Picking the same color that's found on your home or garage is the obvious strategy. However, note that since lighter colored shingles absorb less sunlight, they tend to suffer less heat damage and last a bit longer. If light-colored shingles don't completely clash with your color scheme, they're likely the better choice.
Don't be tempted to skip the tar paper. Even though you're just roofing a shed and might not mind if your roof is not the best on the planet, failing to put tar paper beneath the shingles will cause your roof's wooden underlayment to be exposed to more water -- which may cause it to break down prematurely.
When choosing tar paper, you'll notice that there are various thicknesses to choose from. Thinner, lighter-weight tar paper will be the easiest to work with and is typically more affordable. It's certainly sufficient for a shed roofing project. Buying anything fancier is a waste of money.
Definitely buy nails that are made specifically for roofing. Other nails won't have a wide enough head to secure the shingles without slipping through them. Roofing nails typically come in several sizes, ranging from 1 inch to 2 inches. Use a ruler or tape measure to measure the thickness of your shed roof, and buy nails that are about 1/4 inch less than this measurement. If you buy longer nails, they may poke through. If you buy shorter ones, they won't secure the roof as well.
Shingles, tar paper, and nails are the three major components you need to create a shed roof. If you have any additional questions as to which items are the best suited for your project, speak with a roofing supply expert (such as one from American Building & Roofing Inc).