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how to shingle a gazebo roof - step by step guide

How to Shingle a Gazebo Roof: A Step-by-Step Guide for DIY Installation

Installing shingles on your gazebo roof can make it look really nice. The shingles also protect the roof from sun, rain, and wind.  However, putting them on the roof may seem hard.

But you can do it yourself if you get the right stuff and follow directions. This guide will walk you through everything step-by-step. Keep reading and you'll be ready to give your outdoor gazebo a fresh new look with durable cedar shingles!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper prep work like removing old roofing and repairing any damage is essential before installing shingles.

  • Use a chalk line to snap perfectly straight guidelines on the roof to ensure even shingle courses.

  • Double-layer the shingles, offsetting the seams between rows, for optimal weather protection and wind resistance.

  • Seal shingles properly as you go, driving nails just above the exposure line and using roofing cement at corners.

  • Annual inspections, sealant coats every 2-3 years, and clearing debris are key maintenance practices for a long-lasting cedar roof.

gazebo with shingles on roof and outdoor dining set

    What are the Materials and Tools You Need to Shingle a Gazebo Roof

    Shingling a gazebo roof requires gathering the proper supplies before starting the project. Here is what you need:

    • Cedar Shingles - High-quality cedar shingles without cracks or defects, purchase enough bundles to cover the roof with double-layer

    • Roofing Felt Underlayment - Heavyweight roofing felt with a mineral coating to create a protective barrier

    • Utility Knife - For trimming shingles, get one with a hooked blade

    • Galvanized Roofing Nails - Corrosion-resistant galvanized steel or stainless steel nails, 1 1/2 to 2 inches long

    • Chalk Line - For snapping straight lines to guide shingle rows

    • Hammer or Nail Gun - Makes fastening shingles easier

    • Tape Measure - At least 25 feet long to measure and space shingles

    • Roofing Cement/Sealant - High-quality exterior grade cement to seal shingles and nails

    man installing shingles on a gazebo roof

      Preparing the Roof for Shingling

      Proper prep work is crucial before installing shingles. Follow these steps:

      Remove Existing Roofing

      If your deck gazebo currently has old shingles, asphalt shingles, or any other material on the roof, remove it completely first. This gives you a clean surface to work on.

      Inspect the Roof Structure

      Look for any damaged, rotting, or deteriorating boards that need replacement. Repair or replace these as needed so your roof deck is sturdy to hold the new shingles.

      Install New Roof Deck Boards

      If your gazebo did not have a prior finished roof, install roof deck boards. Use exterior grade 5/8” plywood or 1x4 pressure-treated boards spaced 1/8” apart.

      Install Drip Edge Flashing

      A drip edge is a metal flashing that goes around the roof perimeter. It overhangs the roof edge slightly to help direct water runoff into the gutters. Install this first along eaves and rakes.

      Apply Roofing Felt

      Roll out a layer of roofing felt over the entire roof deck, nailing it every few feet. Overlap seams by 4-6”. The felt protects the roof deck from moisture.

      Once you’ve completed these prep steps, your roof deck will be ready for shingle installation.

      man attaching shingles on gazebo roof using a hammer

      How to Install Cedar Shingles on a Gazebo Roof

      With proper materials and prep work complete, it’s time to get into the meat of the project – installing the cedar shingles. Follow this step-by-step process:

      1. Calculate How Much You Need

      Measure the total square footage of your roof and determine how many bundles of shingles you’ll need to cover the area with a double layer. It’s better to have extra than come up short.

      2. Snap Chalk Lines

      Use your chalk line tool to snap perfectly straight horizontal lines across your roof. These will guide your shingle rows for straight, even courses. Space lines about every 6”.

      3. Install Starter Course

      The starter course is the first row of shingles that overhangs the lower roof edge slightly. Use full-width starter shingles or cut regular shingles.

      4. Install the First Course of Shingles

      Align the bottom edge of your first shingle row with the starter course. Leave about 3/4” of the starter course exposed. Space shingles 1/4-1/2" apart.

      5. Offset Joints Between Rows

      As you install subsequent courses moving up the roof, offset the seams between rows by at least 1 1/2". This interlocking pattern provides better wind resistance.

      6. Maintain 5” Exposure

      Keep each row of shingles about 5” vertically exposed to the weather. Adjust overlap as needed to maintain this exposure when working up the roof.

      7. Nail Properly

      Drive two nails just above the exposure line, about 3/4” from the edges. Embed nail heads completely so they are flush with the shingle surface.

      8. Seal as You Go

      Apply a small dab of roofing cement beneath the top corners of each shingle once nailed to seal the edges. Don’t overdo the cement.

      9. Cut Shingles for Valleys & Edges

      Use your utility knife and straightedge to cut shingles to fit at valleys where roof planes meet and edges. Make precise cuts.

      10. Install Flashing

      Install step flashing pieces over sidewalls and roof intersections. Embed into roofing cement. Cover with adjacent shingle.

      11. Complete Second Layer

      Cover the first layer with a full second layer offset by 1 1/2". This double coverage provides extra weather protection.

      12. Ridge Cap Shingles

      Finish the roof by installing a continuous ridge cap along the peak in the same exposure as field shingles.

      man installing wood shingles on a wooden gazebo

      Finishing Touches for a Beautiful Shingled Roof

      You're in the home stretch once the shingle installation is complete. Finish things off with:

      • Exterior caulk - Seal any cracks, exposed nail heads, or openings with exterior-grade silicone caulk.

      • Roofing cement - Spread cement along ridge cap shingles to seal. Cover nail heads here too.

      • Clean up - Sweep the roof thoroughly and remove any nails, debris, or equipment.

      • Let the cement cure - Allow ridge cap cement to fully cure over 48 hours before exposing the roof to weather.

      Take care of these final details and your shingled gazebo roof will not only look great but withstand the outdoor elements.

      Maintaining a Cedar Shingle Roof

      A few maintenance practices will help your new cedar roof last for years to come:

      • Inspect annually - Visually inspect shingles each year and replace any that are cracked, cupped, or otherwise damaged.

      • Apply sealant - Coat shingles with cedar shingle sealant every 2-3 years to protect from moisture damage.

      • Clean debris - Keep the roof clear of leaves and other debris that can accumulate. Clean gutters too.

      • Check flashings - Ensure metal step flashing remains properly seated to prevent leaks. Recaulk if needed.

      Your investment of time and money in cedar roof shingles will pay dividends for your backyard metal gazebo for decades when properly maintained. Enjoy your beautiful new rustic roof!

      wooden gazebo with shingles on roof and outdoor seating and fireplace


      Installing shingles on your gazebo roof can provide lasting curb appeal and protection, making the effort worthwhile. We've covered the process step-by-step, from gathering supplies to preparing your roof to installing the shingles. Follow these tips for professional-looking results. 

      If you're in the market for a new gazebo, be sure to check out our helpful gazebo buyer's guide to find the right structure and options for your backyard space and needs.


      What are the recommended roofing materials for a gazebo?

      Cedar shakes are a popular choice for gazebo roofs due to their aesthetic appeal, durability, and ability to withstand various weather conditions.

      Should I install a drip edge when shingling a gazebo?

      Yes, installing drip edge flashing along eaves and rakes before shingling is highly recommended. This helps direct water away from vulnerable roof edges and structures.

      Can I shingle a gazebo roof by myself, or do I need professional help?

      Shingling a solid wood gazebo roof can be a DIY project if you have the necessary skills and experience. However, if you are not confident in your abilities or if the roof design is complex, it is advisable to seek professional help. Professional roofers have the expertise and tools to ensure a high-quality and long-lasting shingling job.

      What is the best way to clean cedar shingles?

      You can clean cedar shingles using a soft bristle brush and a mild soap and water solution. Avoid using harsh cleaners or pressure washing, which can damage the shingles.

      How long do cedar shingles typically last?

      With proper installation and maintenance, a cedar shingle roof can last 20-30 years or longer. Factors like weather exposure, roof pitch, and application of protective sealant impact lifespan.

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      About The Author

      Andy Wu - Resident Expert

      Andy Wu - Resident Expert

      Andy Wu is the resident backyard products expert and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. His passion for crafting outdoor retreats began in 2003.

      As a fellow homeowner, he founded Backyard Oasis to provide top-quality furnishings and equipment, collaborating with leading manufacturers.

      His main focus is on sheds and generators!

      In his spare time he like to hike the tallest mountains in the world and travel with his family.

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