How to Install 3 Tab Shingles in 9 Steps

Installing 3-tab shingles on your roof can be a rewarding DIY project, saving you money while adding protection and curb appeal to your home. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to install 3-tab shingles, providing valuable tips and insights along the way.

Inside this blog:

  • The materials and tools required for a successful 3 tab shingle installation
  • 9 actionable steps for homeowners who want to tackle a DIY 3 tab shingle installation
  • Extra tips + tricks to ensure a smooth installation process
  • When it’s time to hire a professional roofer you can trust

Keep reading to learn more about how to install 3 tab shingles effectively, in a true DIY fashion!

🧰 Materials You’ll Need 🧰

Before we dive into the installation process, let’s gather the materials and tools you’ll need:

  • 3-tab shingles
  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing felt or underlayment
  • Drip edge
  • Roofing cement or adhesive
  • Roofing tar

Alright, now that you’re all squared away with the right handy tools at your side, let’s get into the 9 easy-to-follow DIY steps so you can install three tab shingles like a real pro!

Step 1: Prepare Your Roof


Before you can begin installing 3-tab shingles, ensure your roof is clean and free of any debris or old shingles. A clean surface provides a solid foundation for the new shingles to adhere to and ensures a smooth installation process. Also, a thorough inspection of the roof is essential to identify any existing damage that may compromise the integrity of the new shingles. Addressing these issues beforehand will help prolong the lifespan of your roofing system and maintain its functionality.

Step 2: Install Roofing Felt or Underlayment

Start by laying down roofing felt or underlayment across the entire roof surface. Use a staple gun to secure the material in place, starting at the lower edge of the roof and working your way up. Overlap each row of underlayment by a few inches to ensure proper water drainage.

Step 3: Apply Drip Edge

Install a drip edge along the eaves of the roof to prevent water from seeping underneath the shingles. The drip edge acts as a crucial barrier that directs rainwater away from the roof’s edge, preventing potential damage. Nail the drip edge securely in place, leaving a slight overhang to ensure efficient water runoff. Additionally, applying roofing cement to seal the edges of the drip edge not only enhances its performance but also contributes to the overall water-tightness of your roofing system.

Step 4: Start at the Bottom Edge

Begin installing 3-tab shingles at the bottom edge of the roof, aligning them with the drip edge. Use roofing nails to attach the shingles, placing one nail in each corner and one in the center. Be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines for nail placement.

Step 5: Overlap Shingles

Continue to lay the shingles in rows, working your way up the roof. Overlap each row of shingles to create a watertight barrier. The amount of overlap will depend on the manufacturer’s specifications, but it’s typically around 6 inches.

Step 6: Cut Shingles as Needed

When you reach the end of a row or need to fit shingles around vents, chimneys, or other roof features, use a utility knife to cut the shingles to the appropriate size and shape. Precision is key here, as accurately cut shingles not only contribute to a neat appearance but also ensure a snug fit that minimizes the risk of leaks and water infiltration. Take your time with these cuts to achieve a professional finish that enhances both the functionality and aesthetics of your roof.

Step 7: Install Ridge Shingles

Once you’ve installed the 3-tab shingles across the entire roof, it’s time to add ridge shingles to the peak. These are specially designed shingles that cover the roof’s highest point and provide additional protection. Nail them down, leaving a small overhang, and secure with roofing cement.

Step 8: Seal the Shingles

To ensure a watertight seal and added wind resistance, apply roofing tar or adhesive under the shingles’ edges. This step is crucial for safeguarding your roof against water infiltration and preventing wind-driven rain from finding its way beneath the shingles. Additionally, the adhesive not only enhances the shingles’ adhesion but also contributes to the overall structural integrity of your roof, ensuring it remains secure even in adverse weather conditions.

Step 9: Clean Up and Inspect

After completing the installation, clean up any debris and inspect your work. Ensure that all shingles are properly secured and sealed. Take your time to look for any missed nails or areas that may require additional attention.

Tips for a Successful Installation 💡


To ensure a successful 3-tab shingle installation, consider the following tips:

  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions: Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for the specific shingles you are using. This ensures that you’re installing them correctly and in compliance with warranty requirements.
  • Check Weather Conditions: Choose a clear day with mild weather for your installation. Extreme heat or cold can affect the shingles’ flexibility and adherence, which can cause you to need roof repairs later down the road.
  • Use Safety Gear: Safety should be a top priority. Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, eye protection, and non-slip footwear, to prevent accidents on the roof.
  • Take Your Time: Roofing is not a project to rush through. Take your time to ensure each shingle is correctly aligned and securely fastened.
  • Double-Check Ventilation: Proper roof ventilation is crucial for preventing moisture buildup in your attic. Make sure vents and ventilation systems are correctly installed and functioning.
  • Consider Professional Help: If you’re uncomfortable working on a roof or have a complex roofing structure, it may be best to hire a professional roofer to ensure the job is done correctly.

Tackle A DIY Project with Great Rewards ⚒️

Installing 3-tab shingles on your roof can be a satisfying DIY project that enhances your home’s protection and appearance. By following these nine steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can complete the installation successfully and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained roof for years to come.

Get in touch with our team of expert contractors at Kitsap Roof Pros today. We’ll answer all your questions and kick off your next roofing project with a free estimate!