Remodeling Tips and Reviews

How to tear off old roof shingles

How to tear off old roof shingles

Jan 2, 2012

If you have an old roof that needs replacing the first thing you need to consider is how to demo off the old shingles. While removing an old roof is not complex, it is labor intensive. Make sure you can safely walk on your roof.  You may want to consider a roofing harness if the roof is steep and definitely if it is 2 stories.

Here is a list of needs to start this project:

  1. ladder to get on the roof
  2. roof shingle remove tool
  3. Flat headed crowbar
  4. magnet sweeping tool to clean up nails from yard afterwards
  5. plastic tarps to lay in yard to catch debris, making clean up easier
  6. 20- 40 yard Dumpster for larger jobs
  7. Large plastic tarp to cover roof ( if needed)

Once on the roof you simply use the shingle remove tool, which looks similar to a flat head shovel with large notches in it and start under a row of shingles lifting up. The shingles will pop right up. If you have a helper it is a good idea to have them haul the shingles to a closely positioned dumpster or an easy to access spot where there is a tarp laid out already.Work your way around one side at a time. If the day comes to an end it is a good idea to have a large plastic tarp to place over the roof in the event of rain.

Demo goes fast with 3-4 people, and can usually be done in a day or so.You will need to remove the shingles, black tar paper (felt paper), flashing and take special attention to remove the nails or hammer them in so they don’t tear holes in the new roof. You can use the teeth on the shingle tool to get most of the nails up.

Once the roof is down to bare wood you will need to inspect for rotten decking and replace sections as needed. If then entire roof is getting new decking then the old may need to come off. Once the decking is prepped you are ready to go back with new a new roof. See our post here on how to install new roofs.

If you have gutters you will need to use a shop vac to clean out all the rock, shingle bits and nails afterwards.