How to Replace Roof Felt?

A sturdy, weatherproof roof is a critical part of any home. But, what happens when your roof felt needs replacing? It’s not a task for the faint-hearted or unprepared. This essential layer, hidden beneath your shingles, is your home’s primary defense against the elements.

This comprehensive guide will demystify the process and arm you with practical, step-by-step instructions to tackle this DIY project successfully. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time DIYer, by the end of this article, you’ll be equipped to replace your roof felt with confidence.

Roof Felt: What is it and Why Does it Need Replacing?

Roof felt, also known as tar paper, is a waterproof material that provides an extra layer of protection between your roof’s sheathing and the shingles. It is essential in preventing leaks and water damage, especially during heavy rain or snow.

Over time, exposure to the elements can cause the felt to deteriorate or get damaged. This can lead to water seeping into your roof, causing damage to your home’s interior.

In such circumstances, it becomes necessary to replace the roof felt to maintain the integrity and functionality of your roof.

Necessary Tools and Materials for Roof Felt Replacement

To replace your roof felt, you’ll need some specific tools and materials. A roofing hammer, nails, utility knife, and a pry bar are essential tools for this type of project.

For materials, you’ll need replacement roof felt, also known as roofing felt paper, and roofing shingles if you plan on replacing them as well. It’s always a good idea to keep a ladder handy for easy access to the roof.

Keep in mind that the quality of your tools and materials will significantly impact the outcome of your project. Therefore, it’s recommended to invest in high-quality materials and tools.

Safety Measures to Consider Before Starting Your DIY Project

Safety should always be your top priority when undertaking a DIY project, especially when it involves heights like roof work. Always use a sturdy ladder and wear non-slip shoes to prevent any accidents. Additionally, it’s advisable to use safety ropes and a harness for added security.

Don’t forget to wear protective gloves to prevent cuts from old roofing materials and a hard hat to protect your head from falling debris. Also, be mindful of the weather conditions. Avoid working on the roof during rainy or windy days as it can be hazardous.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Old Roof Felt

Removing the old roof felt is the first physical step in your roof felt replacement project. First, you must climb onto your roof using a secure ladder.

Remember to always follow the safety measures I outlined in the previous section to avoid injury. Start at the top of your roof and use a utility knife to cut the old roof felt into manageable sections.

Carefully pull up these sections, taking care not to damage the roof material underneath. If the felt is affixed with nails, use a pry bar to remove them. Dispose of the old felt and nails responsibly. It’s essential to ensure that all of the old felt is completely removed before moving on to the next step.

Detailed Procedure for Installing New Roof Felt

Once you’ve fully removed the old felt, you’re ready to install the new roof felt. Start at the bottom of the roof and roll out the first strip of felt horizontally, using a roofing hammer to nail it in place. Each nail should be approximately 12 inches apart.

Overlap each subsequent strip of felt by at least two inches to create a water-resistant barrier. If your roof has a steep slope, you may want to increase this overlap. Once all the felt is installed, make sure to trim any excess material for a neat finish.

Tips and Tricks to Make Your Roof Felt Replacement Go Smoothly

Roof felt replacement can seem like a daunting task, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make the process much easier. Here are a few ideas to make your project go smoothly:

  1. Check the weather forecast: It’s crucial to choose a dry day for your roof felt replacement. Wet weather can make the roof slippery and dangerous, and it can also damage your new felt.
  2. Work with a partner: Having a friend or family member to help can make the task much more manageable. They can assist with holding the ladder, handing you tools, and helping to roll out the felt.
  3. Take your time: Don’t rush the process. It’s better to take your time and do the job correctly than to rush and make mistakes that could lead to future issues.
  4. Measure twice, cut once: Be precise with your measurements to avoid waste and ensure a tight fit.
  5. Stay safe: Remember to always prioritize your safety. Use a sturdy ladder, wear appropriate safety gear, and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful roof felt replacement project.

Read More: Can a Roof be Replaced in One Day?


In conclusion, replacing roof felt doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. With a solid understanding of what roof felt is, why it needs replacing, and the necessary tools and materials, you can successfully manage this DIY project. Safety is paramount, and a methodical approach to removing old felt and installing new ones will ensure a successful replacement.

Lastly, follow the provided tips and tricks for a smooth process. Now you’re ready to protect your home from the elements with confidence and expertise.

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