Understanding Stair Step Shingle Installation And Why It Is Ideal

Posted on: 19 December 2016

If you need a new roof on your home, then you probably already know that an asphalt shingle variety is your most inexpensive option. The shingles cost about $80 to $100 per 100 square feet, and labor is around $3 per square foot. If you have been speaking to different contractors, then you may have asked some specific questions about installation. If one or several professionals have informed you that they use the stair step method of installation, then keep reading to understand what this is and why it may be preferable to other installation types. 

What Are The Methods Of Shingle Installation?

Asphalt shingles can be installed on your roof decking in a number of ways, and stair step installation is the traditional method of adhering asphalt shingles. This method involves adding shingles in different courses that overlap one another in a stair pattern. When the shingles are initially installed, your roofer will start at the left edge of the roof. One three tab shingle will be placed at the bottom of the roof edge. The next shingle will be placed over the top of the first, but it will sit in about six inches to the left. The next shingle will be placed on top, and another six inch indentation will be created. This forms a step on the right side of the adhered shingles. As the shingles are placed, nails are added along the edge of each "stair".

Laddering is another type of shingle installation that involves adding shingles vertically up the height of the roof. As the roofer moves from left to right, shingles are interwoven together to create a solid surface. Shingles also may be added horizontally in rows, and this is called racking. In the case of racking, roofing nails are secured horizontally, and nails are added in vertical rows when the roofer uses a laddering technique.

Why Is Stair Stepping Ideal?

While stair stepping may be a bit more time consuming, it does create a stronger and more stable roofing structure. Nails are secured in steps much like the shingles. This staggers the attachments that secure the shingles on the roof, and this helps to prevent leaking issues if one of the shingles becomes damaged. Damaged shingles are most likely to pull up shingles that are adjacent to them. If all the shingles deteriorate in one section and are attached with the same nails, then a large open gap may develop where water can leak in. This can happen if the shingles are laddered or racked, but not if they are stair-stepped.

Also, shingles may appear slightly different from one another. Some shingles may look darker than others, or they may have slightly lighter minerals attached to the top of them. These differences are typically due to variations in the manufacturing process and the age of the shingles. If some of the shingles have been exposed to the sun, then this can cause a color difference too.

Most roofers will mix up shingles from different packages to make sure that color differences are not noticed. However, if certain darker or lighter shingles are grouped together, then distinctive vertical or horizontal lines may appear on your roof. This can look unnatural. Stair stepping helps your roofer avoid this problem. If shingles are secured to the roof that look similar, then this will be less obvious if they are added in steps.

Stair stepping can completely reduce the need for shingle bending and manipulation. Bending is necessary if the shingles are laddered and this can lead to cracks, permanently bent shingles, and the premature aging and curling of the roof. As shingles do age, you are likely to see straight lines of damage vertically up the roof, and this can be an eye sore. 


A Direct Guide To Roofing

Hi, my name is Scott, and as you search through this blog, you'll learn invaluable information concerning roofs. When reading the articles, you'll learn about roof repairs, roofing materials and what's new in the roofing industry. I didn't become interested in roofing until my roof started to leak. When that happened, I started doing all types of research to find out why and where my roof was leaking. As I performed my research, I became very interested in the entire industry and even after I hired professional roofers to fix the leak, I still wanted to learn more about roofing. Since I enjoy blogging in my spare time, I decided to start a blog about roofing, and I hope that you also find the information you read interesting and useful.