How to stagger architectural shingles?

One of the most sought-after architectural designs today is staggered roof shingles.

This innovative design helps deliver an attractive appearance that not only brightens up your property but also proves highly durable. The improved thickness of the material helps withstand harsh climatic conditions, so we can see why people want to invest in them.

Another reason for their increasing demand is that they come in numerous colors and sizes, leading to three-dimensional shadows and light falling on the roof. So, in today’s guide, we’ll be discussing how to stagger architectural shingles to help you out.

Without further ado, let’s begin.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Before we highlight the steps for installing architectural shingles, we must first discuss the basic concept of architectural shingles. For those who don’t know, architectural shingles were produced back in the 1980s by making improvements to traditional roofing shingles.

Over time, these attractive roofing structures that are usually made of asphalt have become highly popular due to their durable design. Moreover, architectural shingles are called laminated or dimensional shingles in popular circles, given their unique shape.

Steps To Follow To Install Architectural Shingles

If it’s your first time installing a roof shingle, there’s no need to be concerned because we’ve narrowed down the procedure into five simple steps. However, it would help if you were careful while staggering the shingles to get an accurate design and roof pattern.

So, note down the following steps for future reference, and let’s get started.


Now, we’ll tell you how to approach the installation procedure, which begins with a few preparatory steps. Firstly, you’ll need to secure a building permit and ask your local building inspector if you need to adhere to any roofing codes.

Should you choose to install new shingles over the old ones, remember to specify the same to the seller. This will help you purchase the right variety and meet the warranty criteria if anything happens to the structure in the future.


You can start working once you get the green light from your building inspector. For starters, you must take adequate safety measures because working on a rooftop is risky. Therefore, secure the ladder in the right place, ensuring that it doesn’t wobble.

Plus, a steep roof with greater slanting will make it difficult to maintain your footing. So, we suggest taking your time to minimize the chances of an accident.

In that regard, it might be a good idea to ask someone to hold the ladder or fasten it to a sturdy structure for stability. We would also recommend acquiring a fall-restraint harness to protect yourself when not on the ladder. Lastly, you’ll need a nail gun, for which safety goggles are a must.

Installing The Starter Strip

Step three involves installing the starter strip which comes in various sizes. You’ll have to measure out this asphalt component and trim it to size using a utility knife if it’s too wide for your roof. Again, always wear gloves while making adjustments or cuts; after all, you obviously wouldn’t want to be stuck on the roof with an injured finger.

After the starter strips are cut down to size, apply the roof sealant to the top and bottom of the strip. This ensures perfect adhesion, ensuring that the strips don’t come off, which is why some DIY workers also place them along the rake of the roof.

Installing The Shingles

You can start by laying the shingles along the bottom left rake of the roof, and don’t stop till you’ve covered one end. Also, remember to lay them flush against the starter strips before punching them down with your nail gun.

This is the first course of your roof shingles which acts as the base for laying the remaining components. As a result, you’ll need to apply the roofing sealant in the gap between the first course and the starter strips. This will hold the shingles in place, allowing you to get the desired design.

Other than that, we must mention that you’ll need to punch four nails for every shingle; therefore, plan accordingly and buy extra if needed. From either side, mark out an inch where you’ll have to punch two of the nails while the other nails must be at an equal distance from the first two.

It would be best if you fixed these nails to the sealant six inches above the base of the shingles for the desired results.

Staggering The Shingles

Now comes the exciting part, which is staggering the shingles; it begins as you start laying the second course. You’ll need to trim five inches from the left side of the opening shingle of your second course. Then apply it over the first shingle in the first layer, ensuring that it forms a tight fit with the left edge.

Proceed to place the remaining shingles in the same order until you complete the second course. In some cases, users can also draw horizontal lines with chalk across the second row to get the angles right.

Once you lay the second course, move onto the third course by trimming ten inches of the first shingle’s left side. Place it against the first shingle of the second row and carry on like before.

When you come to the fourth course, there’s no need to trim the first shingle; instead, place it flush against the third row. You’ll have to place multiple courses of architectural shingles in this order to cover the roof. All said and done, use the utility knife to trim off the extra material and then leave the shingles to set.


We’ve come to the end of our guide, and hopefully you’ve understood how to stagger architectural shingles by now.

Remember to take accurate measurements, keep all the materials ready and ensure that the weather is clear before you start working.

Need professional help when it comes to roofing services in Chino Hills CA? Contact us and get a quote now.