How to Remove Roof Shingles Completely

The very first step of reroofing your house is tearing off the old, faded roof. It’s important to remove all the shingles, nails, flashing, and dirt and only have the remaining of a nice flat surface of the roof. Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to remove the roofs completely, efficiently, and safely.

When Is the Time to Replace My Roof?

One of the apparent signs of reroofing your house is when there is a leakage. Of course, you want to know when to replace before the leakage happens. The lifespan of asphalt shingles is 20 to 25 years. Depending on the weather and the location you live in, it could be less than 15 years. If you’ve noticed the shingles are cracked or curled up, it’s about time to replace them with a new one. Buckling shingles are a sign that moisture is getting inside the underlayment. So, be sure to check your roofs once in a while to see whether they are in a good condition or not.

1. Prep on the ground

Set up the ground where you could grab your tools and equipment easily and throw away all the pieces of shingles when you come down using the ladder. You can consider renting a trash container that could carry most of the roofs. For safety purposes, nail the roof jackets below the area you are planning to tear off first. Space the jacket no more than 4ft apart and nail it to the rafters with at least three 16d nails through the roof sheathing and then nail on a 2×10 to prevent you from sliding off the roof.

2. Gear up with safety tools – your safety matters the most

Ensure a safety harness, safety line, and an anchor to fasten it on the roof peak. Wear shoes that are slip-resistant rubber, long pants and sleeves to protect your skin from scratching, work gloves, and safety glasses. Keep in mind that tearing off the roofs is an intense physical activity. If you aren’t feeling well or have physical problems, do not do it until you are fully prepared to do so.

3. Start from the peak then go downwards

Once you are geared up with safety tools and have everything prepared on the ground, start from the farthest peak part of the trash container. Stand at the peak and tear off the ridge caps and the top courses of shingles using a garden fork. A garden fork is a great tool because it doesn’t get caught on nails, making the process faster. From there, tear off the shingles going downwards. Once the pile of shingles gets loose, it will start sliding off and down to the roof jacks. Continue to do so until the scaffolding board is full of shingles.

4. From the roof to trash container

Carry the pile of shingles to the edge of the roof and toss it in the trash container. Take your time to carry the shingles little by little, so you don’t do too much heavy lifting.

5. Check the condition of flashing and work around it

It is usually recommended to replace all the flashing; however, if the flashing is installed with complexity and is in good condition, it is okay to keep them and work around it. If you decide to keep the flashing, remove the nails around it using a pry bar. Also, completely remove the shingles and underlayment around the flashing.

6. Remove shingles on the edges of the roof

Once you’ve thrown the shingles into the trash container. It is time to remove the roof jacks and work on the edges of the roof. Just like how you did, using a fork, go downward, tearing off the shingles. Make sure to remove the ice barriers if there are any on the roof.

7. Remove valley and vent flashing

Valley and vent flashing are not worth using again. Valley flashing is where all the rain, snow, and dirt piles up and slides down to the ground. One of the fastest things that fade and needs to be replaced. Start at the top of the valley, use a fork and a flat bar to tear off till the bottom part of the valley comes off. Use a pry bar to remove the vent flashing.

8. Final cleaning of the roof

Almost done, but just a few more steps. All the flashing, shingles, nails, and underlayment should be thrown into the trash container. Now it’s time to broom off any leftover dirt. The roof could be slippery, and there could be few nails that you might’ve missed removing. Take your time and pull out any remaining nails, small parts of shingles, and dirt.

9. Protect the roof using the ice and water barrier

Once everything is torn off, the roof is weak and fragile. It is important to protect the roof from direct sunlight, rain, and snow. Install ice and water barrier and 30lb asphalt-saturated felt. These work as a temporary underlayment to prevent being damaged by the weather. Start from the rake edge of the roof and align the barrier with a chalk line. Staple the top parts just to hold them and finish the whole part of lining up the barrier. Then, peel off the backing and put it back in place.

10. Cleanup before going back to the ground

Before you climb down to the ground, clean any debris out of the gutters. Make sure to remove any nails and small shingle parts because you don’t want them to slide off the roof the next time it rains. Broom the roof multiple times.
The most important thing to remember when removing old shingles is to get rid of all the old parts to prevent them from sliding off the ground. The last thing you want to happen is getting injured. Immediately protect the roof once done with removals and always have safety gears on.
Scroll to Top
Call Now Button