Q: The roof shingles on one side of my house hang over the gutters so much that birds have built nests under the overhang. I tried to cut the shingles back using tin snips but haven't had much luck. What should I do?
—Keith, Merrick, N.Y.
A: Tom Silva replies: It sounds like someone set the shingles way too far over the edge the last time your roof was done. Shingles should extend past the drip edge of the roof only by about ½ to ¾ inch. Once you determine how much overhang you need to cut off, mark your cutline with chalk and a straightedge. On some roofs, you might be able to use the exposed butt edges of the roofing course as a guide to keep your cuts straight.
How you cut them depends on what kind of shingles they are. With asphalt or fiberglass shingles, a sharp utility knife will do the trick. Just support the edge of the shingle on a block of wood as you make each cut, and change blades frequently. For wood shingles, use a circular saw or reciprocating saw fitted with a short metal-cutting blade—its small teeth will make a smoother cut than a wood-cutting blade. Be sure to hold the recip saw at a low angle—almost horizontal—so that the blade doesn't jab your gutters or cut the brackets.