The Difference Between Shingling Fast and Shingling Well - Hamilton Roofing Company
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The Difference Between Shingling Fast and Shingling Well

roofing, roofer, shingling

The Difference Between Shingling Fast and Shingling Well

    For many roofers in Hamilton and abroad, the “pecking order” among shinglers is largely based on how fast an individual can shingle. I remember the first summer David and I roofed together, our boss and the foreman on our crew (our two fastest and best shinglers) had a race to see who could shingle their side of a garage the fastest. All the guys loved it and it was awesome to see what the pro’s could do when they were shingling fast.


    It’s understandable to see why shingling fast is so valued among roofers. When you’re on a crew you’re responsible to everybody that you work with to pull your weight. In my experience, the number one thing roofers hate is somebody who hides behind the effort of others and doesn’t “get out front of the work” so to speak. When somebody can shingle fast, what that means for everybody else is that there’s less work to do. Roofers like that and so the person who can shingle the fastest is in some ways the most highly regarded person on the roof.


    Another reason that shingling fast is so highly regarded is because of the time crunch involved in roofing. You are often fighting against daylight to complete a job and it is an absolute necessity that you get everything watertight before dark. The same can be said about the weather, where if there is rain coming in, the fastest shinglers will be the ones best able to get everything filled in before any potential disaster strikes (however, tarps can be used as a backup measure).


    But this obsession with being the fastest shingler can sometimes go too far. It is much better to do good work than it is to do quick work. And what is good work? Good work is keeping your shingles in straight lines so that the work is visually appealing. Good work is not cutting corners on your underlayment. Good work is making sure that everything is watertight and will be for years to come. Good work is using chalk lines for your capping and valley’s to make sure that everything is straight. At the end of the day there are so many things more important to being a good roofer than who is the fastest shingler.
    Understandably, most homeowners don’t want crews running amuck around their house for days on end. But it is much more important that you find people capable of doing good work than finding people who work fast!

  • Al
    Posted at 10:14h, 21 October Reply

    Roofing is not just shingling….we have a joke on our crew that goes…”I’m not a shingler…I’m a roofer….and we say that cuz anyone can lay a shingle with a feeder on a walkable but that’s not all roofing is about…my boss showed me how to shave mins off every part of roofing from the time u get out the work truck to the last piece a cap is nailed down…that’s a roofer…anyone can lay a shingle…(that don’t mean it’s straight) And it’s always that guy that won’t even bring his own gun on the roof or grab a bundle and bring it that ladder saying….(I only shingle)…and turn out to be slow and a hack….for two yrs there was 3 of us and we called it rock and roll roofing cause we moved as a unite and got jobs down quick WITH accuracy.

    • peakroofing
      Posted at 09:26h, 09 March Reply

      That joke must pass it’s way throughout roofing crews cause me and my old crew used to say that all the time as well! The reality is that there is a BIG difference between being a roofer and just shingling. In my opinion, everybody works and pulls their weight until the jobs done. Obviously the higher up the chain of command, the more valuable the labour, so you may not want the foreman picking up nails since he will be more productive elsewhere. But like I always say “roofing is a team game”! You’re so right though, a true roofer knows not only what needs to be done but how to do it efficiently and with quality! Thanks for the comment Al!

  • Bill White
    Posted at 04:43h, 02 November Reply

    I’ve always talked about this with my crew. Work as quickly as possible, but make sure you’re doing the work correctly. There’s nothing worse than having to go back and fix mistakes that could have been prevented in the first place!

    • peakroofing
      Posted at 09:22h, 09 March Reply

      Now here’s a man who knows what he’s talking about! A hardworking, quick crew is important but NEVER at the sake of quality! Having to go back and fix mistakes is way more time consuming, annoying and costly than just doing it right the first time. Sounds like we’ve both learned from experience 🙂 Thanks for the comment Bill!

  • David Mckeage
    Posted at 12:05h, 18 May Reply

    Thanks, This is great piece of content. I appreciate effort

  • rf
    Posted at 12:30h, 05 September Reply

    good article and good explain about Shingling Fast and Shingling Well.

  • Lakeside R and R
    Posted at 07:28h, 11 September Reply

    Thanks !! You have written an awesome article !!! Keep up the good work !

  • Alex S
    Posted at 17:15h, 28 November Reply

    Good information! A lot of times is comes down to having the right system in place. A seasoned crew will always do quality work and still keep a great pace simply because it is a well oiled machine from tear off to the final cleanup! Unfortunately, there will always be contractors out there that cut corners

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