How to Shingle a Cupola

The majority of Cupolas will have a shingled roof finish. They remain as the most economical roof option for a cupola and unlike shop-installed metal or copper roof finishes, a shingled roof can be installed on site. Furthermore, installing a shingled roof requires less skill and equipment as compared to metal roof finishes, and can be easily matched to the existing shingles on the main structure that the cupola will rest on.

You can shingle most cupolas  up to 48" with one bundle of shingles. There are typically three bundles to a square (100 square feet...).

Because the roof of the cupola is much smaller than a typical house, barn or shed roof, we'll "scale down" the shingles so that the roof looks more proportional to the shingle finish like the main roof of the building.

To clad the cupola roof in shingles you'll need:

  • A bundle of shingles of your choice
  • Some long steel or wood rulers
  • A heavy duty razor knife
  • A Hammer
  • A supply of 1 1/4" galvanized roofing nails
  • A small supply of roof tar

First, we'll create a skirt for the shingles by cutting out a strip from the upper part of the shingle.

Next, mark the strips by fitting them along the bottom edge of the roof and attach them to the lower edges before you start your shingle installation.

Now attach them to the lower edge of the roof on all sides to make a skirt.

Next, we'll scale down our shingle by cutting out the typically exposed shingle sections from the upper covered section of the shingle.

The three shingles you get from the larger shingle sheet can now be cut into thirds using a ruler and straight edge as shown. Cut the shingles into even thirds based on the side of your shingle. Here, we cut the roughly 13" long shingle at the 4 1/4" and 8 1/2" point. You will then get three MINI SHINGLES measuring about 4 1/4 by 5 1/2".

Now you can install the shingles as you would on any standard roof using your mini shingles with about 2 1/4" exposed per row. Your first row should be flush with the bottom of the skirt and with a shingle on center. Rows above the first will stagger like a regular shingle installation. Trim the shingles as they meet the roof corners.

Continue installing your shingles until you reach the peak. Now we are ready to install the shingles over the corner to seal the roof and finish it. Take your mini shingles and cut them in half again so that you have a 4 1/4" by 2 3/4" shingle.

Trim the corner on the first shingle and start installing them upwards on each corner using a 2 1/4" similar overlap like the shingles on the roof sides.

Add one large shingle on the top and seal any exposed nail heads with a dab of roof tar. Your roof is complete and you are ready to install the cupola on your structure! Your roof now looks proportional with the mini shingles.

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