The last thing you want to have happen during a roof-felt installation or when shingling a valley is to lose your footing. Particularly on roofs with an angle, or pitch, above 4-in-12, meaning a rise of 4 inches or more for each foot, you need to improve your footing and safety by installing roof cleats. A roof cleat is not a specialized piece of equipment. It's a regular 2-by-4-inch board at a full length of 8 feet attached to the plywood sheathing of the roof to serve as a foot support.

Man installing roof shingles
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Roof cleats allow you to gain a purchase on the roof during shingling projects.

Step 1

Measure the area of roof you plan to work on. Stack a sufficient number of 2-by-4-inch boards to place one cleat every 2 feet from just above the gutter to about 5 feet below the roof ridge. Place a handful of nails in your carpenter's belt pouch.

Step 2

Climb the ladder to the roof. Lay the first 2-by-4 so it lies horizontally across the bottom of the roof just above the gutter. Nail the first cleat in place with 3-inch nails every 2 feet.

Step 3

Bring the additional 2-by-4 boards up the ladder and temporarily lay them vertically on the roof to the side of the first cleat.

Step 4

Move onto the roof. Support the toes of your work boots against the first cleat. Install the next cleat 2 feet above the first cleat. Continue to work your way up the roof, installing cleats that allow you easy access to areas where you need safe support.

Step 5

Add additional cleats until the final cleat puts the ridge of the roof within comfortable reach of you and your hammer.