If you want to know how to shingle, you've come to the right place. But first … a Bear Story.
It was easy to see how "The Bear" got his nickname. He was a big burly guy, covered with thick brown hair. Back when I started roofing in Cape Coral, Florida, The Bear was well known as the fastest shingler in town. He did not tear off or run metal … all he did was shingle. Typically he would shingle an entire house by himself in one day.
I was not very fast back then. Occasional my boss wondered out loud why I could not learn how to shingle like The Bear. At that point I did not know how he was so fast, but one day I found out …
My Boss had hired The Bear to shingle a house and asked me to stop by to deliver some supplies. I was pretty excited to see what I could learn.
As I pushed up to the job, I could hear him shingling on the back side of the house. His roofing nailer sounded like a machine gun. I climbed the ladder and quickly discovered The Bear's Secret:
He was installing the nails way above the nail line. The nails do not go through as many shingle layers up there, so they go in fast and you never have to stop and fix a shiner.
Back then, few people paid much attention to where the nails went. But then Hurricane Andrew tore up South Florida, with billions of dollars in damages. Lawsuits flew in the aftermath and a bunch of roofing inspectors lost their jobs.
Turns out that shingles are not very wind resistant when they're neglected in the wrong place. After that, the entire state started to sweat the details.
That's also about the time I lost track of The Bear. Perhaps he had a hard time adjusting to doing things right. Old habits die hard, you know.
Occidentally, I still come across a speed demon like The Bear. They're lightning fast alright, but I have no use for them. Speed alone is not enough.
As you're learning how to shingle, focus on getting the details right … such as proper nail placement. Speed will come in due time.
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