How To Install Starter Strip Roof Shingles

Call us biased, but we love roof shingles. We’re especially glad to see them gaining popularity as a roofing material in Australia, and so we have been running a series of articles on how to properly install them for best results.

Starter strip roof shinglesIf you’ve been following our previous articles, you should now know how to properly prepare your roof for shingles to go down. Water-proofing and water management should all be taken care of. Your Plywood roof deck should be in place.

Now that your roof is completely prepared, it’s time to actually start laying down the roof shingles. But where do you start?

You’ll need to lay down a first row of asphalt shingles known as “Starter Strip” Shingles.


The purpose of this row is to lock down the edges of the roof, so it’s absolutely critical to get this part right. Mistakes here can lead to major complications further along the installation process, resulting in a lot of lost time and money. Do it right, do it once.


First, Start With The Right Roofing Product

Not all asphalt roof shingle starter strips are made equally. We always recommend GAF products for your asphalt roof shingle needs. They’re the leading supplier of asphalt roof shingles in the US, and their shingles are on more homes in the US than there are homes in Australia.Starter strip asphalt roof shingles

For starter strips, you can’t go past GAF’s “WeatherBlocker” premium starter strip shingle. These come with GAF’s “Dura Grip” adhesive layer which provide the highest stability and security of the starter strip once it’s laid in place.

Laying Down Starter Shingles

Despite being such an important part of the roof, Starter Strip Shingles aren’t – or shouldn’t be – visible in the final roof. They’re meant to be installed under the first row of roof shingles, surrounding the perimeter of the roof.

Starter Shingles’ first and foremost benefit is providing a waterproof barrier beneath the butt joints of the first row of roof shingles. Without these Starter Shingles – or with the wrong type – your roof won’t be properly waterproofed.

Shingles higher up on the roof have the lower layers of shingles to act as a water sealants, but the first layer doesn’t have this benefit. Without starter strips, water channels can form that can start to lift the shingles off the wood. In worst case scenarios, the whole roof can be stripped off in bad weather.

When installing your starter strips, offset the joins by at least 100mm to the joins of the roof shingle. This will prevent you from putting a join under a join, which won’t provide an adequate seal.

Drive 4-5 nails into each strip to keep them firmly in place. Any water that gets through the joins on a roof shingle will hit a starter strip and be lead into the gutter where it belongs.

The second benefit of starter strips is the extra adhesive layer it provides for security. This is why choosing the right asphalt starter strip shingles with Dura Grip is very important. That extra layer of industry leading adhesive will keep your roof down tight.

Hurricanes, violent storms, hail and other damage – whatever you throw at it, the Dura Grip adhesive will keep your roof securely fixed in place.

Lay down the starter strip around 40-50mm from the drip edge. This will allow the adhesive of the top roof shingle to connect directly to the drip edge. By doing this, you’ll truly lock down the edges of every shingle.

Tips And Reminders

  • The adhesive needs to be facing up, so that it can adhere to the field shingles that are laid down over it.
  • Use 4-5 nails per starter strip for proper connection to the plywood sheath and for wind protection.
  • Off-set the joins in your starter strip so they’re not directly under the joins in the shingles.

Why Starter Strips Are So Important

  • Provide extra stability and adhesion to the whole roof.
  • Provide superior waterproofing to the whole roof.
  • Prevents water channels from affecting the adhesion of the first layer of shingles, which can result in the roof coming off in bad weather.

Final ThoughtsStarter Strip Shingles

Laying down starter strips are vital to the success of your asphalt shingle installation. Get it right the first time, and you’ll have a sturdy, waterproof roof over your head for many years to come. Skip this step, or do it poorly, and you may not have a roof at all!

As with any construction project, the right materials are essential. We recommend and supply GAF asphalt roofing shingles to bring an authentic American look to your home.


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