How to Replace a Shed Roof

Homeowner Learning

Author: Lee Polevoi | May 22, 2023

A shed roof can be replaced with various materials: asphalt, metal and rolled options, depending on the slope. But which shed projects are suitable for a handy homeowner, and which are a professional contractor's domain? Knowing how to replace a shed roof also includes being aware of what fasteners to use and what safety tips to follow.

Garden shed on the grass surrounded by lilac bushes
Before you replace your shed's roof, learn about the right materials and approach to use.

It's a good idea to do some preliminary research before re-roofing your shed. Depending on what you learn, you may decide to hire a skilled roofing contractor, rather than going the DIY route.

Shed Roof Materials

Here's a quick look at some popular materials used to replace a shed roof:

  • Asphalt: Shingles are budget-friendly, straightforward to install and can last 20 to 30 years.
  • Metal: Metal panel and sheet options can be extremely durable, although the finish often fades over time. Price is usually determined by the gauge of the metal. Lower gauge numbers indicate a thick, longer-lasting (and more costly) roofing material.
  • Cedar or Other Wood Shakes: Suitable for a steep-slope shed roof, properly treated wood shakes can last 20 years or longer. They may require extra upkeep if you live in a region with extreme weather like heavy snow or rainfall.
  • Rolled Roofing: One inexpensive and easy-to-install option is rolled roofing. It's a mineral-surfaced roofing product, and is regarded as the ideal method for covering low slope shed roofs.

Depending on where you live, the budget you're working with and the level of expertise required for installation, any of these materials can be suitable for replacing your shed's roof. Most of them also come in a variety of colors and shapes if you're looking to match your home's roof.

How to Replace a Shed Roof: Underlayment and Fasteners

Are you replacing an old shed roof that leaks or lets in daylight? The proper underlayment serves as an effective defense against these problems. For example, underlayment for metal paneling "usually includes plywood sheets with a layer of tar-based waterproofing on top," notes SFGate, "with the metal installed on top of the waterproofing."

The use of tar-based patch materials can protect against any puncture holes caused by installing roofing nails. Metal fasteners help extend the life and durability of a metal roof if they're properly sealed and installed according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

In general, you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the type and spacing of any fasteners. For self-adhesive products or peel-and-stick underlayments, keep an eye on the weather and pay attention to any required curing times or temperatures.

Safety Measures for the DIY Approach

If you're confident in your ability to replace a shed roof, you should still keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Keep the ladder on a solid, flat surface at all times.
  • If the shed's roof is wet, don't walk on it. Wait for the wet roof to dry.
  • Don't start roof repairs or replacement if a rainstorm is predicted. You don't want to be caught up on a wet roof in a storm.
  • Never walk on a shed roof that is rotting, rusty or can't support your weight.
  • Keep electrical tools such as nail guns away from wet surfaces to avoid electrical shocks.

You may not think you need the same fall protection as a contractor, but OSHA's requirements for fall protection start at 6 feet off the ground. It's crucial to stay vigilant about your safety — if possible, have someone on hand to assist in case of an accident, and have a cellphone within reach at all times.

When to Call an Expert

Some roof repair or replacement projects are best left to the experts. "Roofers have spent so much time on roofs that they just know how to walk around, even on a slick roof," notes HomeAdvisor. Roofers "not only maneuver skillfully, but also feel comfortable while doing so."

Most homeowners lack experience with roof repairs or replacement. A lack of knowledge and experience can work against you in terms of your personal safety and how well the project is done. Be certain about how to replace a shed roof by contacting a roofing contractor and asking the right questions. This helps to ensure that your shed's roof is replaced with the proper materials and designed to last for a lifetime.

Subscribe to Beacon