Goodbye Mr. Tarp, It’s time to Shingle the Roof!

Marc Bilodeau/ Building, Tiny House

With the roof and loft floor complete, it’s time to shingle the roof and pack away the tarp for good. The most exciting part is that it’s starting to look like a tiny house.

The roof is one of the most important surfaces in a home. One could argue that it’s even more important than the exterior walls. The roof protects us from the sun, rain, and snow. If leaky or poorly constructed, it could cost thousands in repairs.

Scope of Work

[more photos of this process]

Like the subfloormain floorroof, and loft floor, this task is easily manageable by breaking down the job into smaller steps.

  • Edging and Flashing
  • Shingle the Roof
  • Fascia boards
  • Celebrate!

Edging and Flashing

As mentioned in this blog, the roof uses ZIP System for sheathing. The first order of business is to add a leak barrier to the edging of the roof. For this task, StormGuard Surface Leak Barrier works well. It creates a watertight seal that keeps water out of the eaves and helps prevent it from penetrating the roof.

StormGuard lines every eave 18″ (~ 46 cm) wide from the edge toward the peak of the tiny house. It completely covers the steep slop, since the roof above the storage loft area is 2 feet (~ 61 cm) wide. White Aluminum Open Face Drip Edging lays on top of the StormGuard Leak Barrier all around the roof edging.

The drip edging is an important component to a roof. Without it, the chances for all of the water flowing over the eaves decreases. In time, the shingles on the edge may start to bend, crack, and break. This allows water to seep underneath and possibly cause long term damage. roof flashing and edging of the roof
(left) the layers of the roof, (center) StormGuard on the storage loft roof, (right) shingles on one side of the steep roof

Shingles or Metal Roof?

I debated a long time whether to go with a metal roof or shingles. Up until recently, I was going to have a metal roof. It’s lighter with less seams and fewer pieces. It’s said it can last as long as 50 years. However, it generally costs 2 to 3 times as much as asphalt shingles.

Shingles are more affordable, easy to install, and come in a variety of styles. On the other hand, they can easily damage in severe weather and generally weigh about 200 pounds (~ 91 Kg) per square.

In a tiny house where weight is a factor, it makes sense to go with a metal roof. However, I have a skylight in this tiny house. I dream of the day that I can sit on the roof staring at the sky on a clear star filled night. Although its not safe to walk on a roof, shingles provide more grip and look better in my opinion.

After weighing the pros and cons of each, I chose charcoal color shingles.

Time to Shingle the Roof

How many shingles will I need to shingle the roof? It’s a fantastic question. Shingles come in bundles. 3 bundles make a square. A square will cover 100 square feet (~ 9.3 square meters). This tiny house roof is roughly 220 square feet (~ 20.5 square meters) including the angles. In all, 5 bundles of shingles and 1 bundle of ridge cap shingles cover the roof.

Summarizing the steps to shingle the tiny house
The step by step of shingling the tiny house roof

The first row of shingles along the edge have starter strip shingles. These are very important, especially for wind resistance and help prevent wind uplift along the edges of a roof.

Each row of shingles are arranged so the ends and the tab notches do not lie directly above a gap in the shingle below. If they line up, water could get to the roof sheathing and then seep in through a nail hole or seam.

Lastly, hip or ridge cap shingles are installed at the peak of the roof. It not only gives a great looking finish, it is a critical component. They help protect some of the highest stress and vulnerable areas.

With the shingles complete, the last step is to apply fascia boards to the edging of the roof.

The caps on the roof of the Tiny House -

Fascia Boards

The fascia is a finishing edge that connects to the roof rafters. The primary purpose of the fascia is to protect the entire roof and the interior of the house from weather damage. Another important purpose of the fascia is it provides a smooth, even appearance for the edge of the roof.

Tiny House Molding and Edging -
The Fascia Boards shown around different sides of the tiny house

The Fascia boards are strips cut from two sheets of white PVC trim. Not only did this cost less then buying pre-cut strips, it allows for specific size cuts for a perfect fit over the rafters. It also makes a tight seal, and it prevents weather, air, or insects from getting inside.

Finishing nails hold the boards in place at each roof rafter. The last step, that will be completed later, is to apply white filler to the edging and holes of the nails.


After 10 hours of work between two people, the roof is complete. With each milestone make sure to take the time to reflect and celebrate the work and treat any friends and family for their efforts.

The completed tiny house roof -
A job well done!

[more photos of this process]