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Question DetailsAsked on 7/12/2016

I have a 1800 square foot house with 3 gables and need to know how many bundles of singles I need

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1 Answer


Here is a previous answer explaining why figuring the number of bundles is not straight-forward -

Not only do you have to account for overhangs and gables and slope of the roof and such, but also for starter and ridge cap shingles (either separately bought or cut from full-size tabbed sheets), but also for wastage for cutoffs and valley trimming and such. Also, with architectural shingles with some brands you can only use cutoffs of a certain minimum length to look right so your wastage can go up a bit in that case too.

And the amount you as a DIY'er would need would be different than a contractor in most cases - possibly in the larger quantity if you make mistakes and have to redo and trash some, but also in the smaller direction commonly because DIY'ers commonly reuse cutoffs as starter shingles on another row and keep cut sheets to fit into angle cuts like on valleys and such, whereas many pro roofers use few if any cutoffs because sorting through them and moving them from place to place on the roof slows up the work flow - so they commonly scrap most or all cutoffs (especially if less than 2 full tabs) and make cuts as needed for row completion or starter joint lap shingles. Also, many DIY'ers will use short cutoffs at row starts/ends - most good pro roofers will not use anything less than 2 tabs (with 3-tab shingles) and instead of putting a short cutoff at the end or a valley will install a longer cutoff butted up against another cut sheet - so say if the space is 1 tab wide, amateurs will commonly put a single-tab with 2 nails there (even though no shingle should have less than 3 nails or staples), whereas the pro might cut the preceding shingle to 2 tab and then use a 2-tab for the end piece too - reducing the increased risk of peel-back or breakage which a single tab has. It is not at all uncommon for a pro roofaer to use a couple of more bundles than a strict calculation says is needed.

Excess needed over the raw plan square footage of the roof can run from as low as 5% in rare cases with very material-efficient workers to as much as 40% or so with a very complex roof with a lot of gables, valleys, cross-ridges, length of runs happening to mismatch an even multiple of shingle width, etc.

Some of the manufacturer websites have estimate calculators which might or might not be accurate enough for your needs.

You best bet is probably to find a supplier who will take back any unopened bundles and just estimate high - plus I always figure on keeping at least 1/2 bundle for spares for repairs down the road - one or more full bundles plus any part left-over bundle in areas with likely high wind or hail damage potential so the homeowner has in-stock the needed spares of correct color. Note if storing these for long-term future use, the bundle has to be slit down the side and the individual tabs separated with non-stick material so the tar strips do not cause the shignles to permanently stick together - I use strips of 4 mil vapor barrier plastic which has been dusted with talc powder to minimize sticking. Of course, when those shingles are eventually used, it is necessary to "tab" the shingles with new adhesive strips during placement.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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