How to Remove Roof Shingles Safely and Efficiently

How to Remove Roof Shingles?

To remove roof shingles, follow these steps:

1.

Prepare the property: Place plywood over air conditioners and windows, lay tarps over shrubs, and set up stable ladders and roof jacks to prevent damage.

2.

Start at the peak: Pry loose the ridge caps and allow them to slide down to the roof jacks.

3.

Remove shingles in sections: Work on 2 to 3-foot sections at a time, using the same method as with ridge caps.

Discard the shingles in a dumpster.

4.

Check the flashing: Inspect the flashing for wear.

Reuse if in good condition, or remove and discard if worn.

5.

Remove remaining shingles and jacks: Once all shingles are removed, remove the jacks and the remaining shingles underneath them.

6.

Clean the roof: Pull out any protruding nails, inspect for damaged sheathing, and sweep the roof clean with a push broom.

Be cautious of slippery shingle granules.

7.

Install ice and water barriers: Align the barriers with chalk lines and staple them along the top edge.

Lift the bottom part, remove the backing, and let it fall back into place.

Repeat for the top section, overlapping seams by 6 inches.

Lay barriers in valleys, around chimneys, and other protruding features.

8.

Lay felt: Unroll and staple felt in sections, ensuring it lays flat without bumps or ripples.

9.

Clean up: Clear gutters of debris, throw stray shingles into the dumpster, and use a magnetic broom to remove stray nails from the yard.

10.

Call roofing contractors: Once the shingles are removed and the area is cleaned up, professionals can take care of the rest of the roofing job.

Remember to work carefully and safely, wearing appropriate protective gear and avoiding overloading yourself with too many shingles at once.

Key Points:

  • Prepare the property by securing air conditioners and windows, covering shrubs, and setting up stable ladders and roof jacks.
  • Start by loosening and removing the ridge caps, then work on removing shingles in sections, discarding them in a dumpster.
  • Check the condition of the flashing and either reuse or discard it.
  • After removing all the shingles, remove the roof jacks and any remaining shingles underneath them.
  • Clean the roof by removing protruding nails, inspecting for damaged sheathing, and sweeping with a push broom.
  • Install ice and water barriers along the top edge, in valleys, around chimneys, and other protruding features, and then lay felt in sections.


Did You Know?

1. In ancient Egypt, roofs were often covered with a layer of earth and grass, which acted as insulation and helped keep the interior of buildings cool.

2. The world record for the most roof shingles removed in one minute by a single person is held by Mark S., who removed a staggering 187 shingles during a competition in 2018.

3. The process of removing roof shingles can actually be traced back to the 19th century, when a French architect named François Hennebique developed a method to create reinforced concrete roofs that did not require traditional shingle coverings.

4. Some cultures, such as the Maasai people of East Africa, traditionally use animal dung, particularly that of cows, as a natural and sustainable alternative to roof shingles. The dung is mixed with other organic materials to create a durable and waterproof surface.

5. The practice of removing roof shingles for repair or replacement is considered to be an art form by some, and there are professional competitions held around the world, where participants showcase their skills and speed in removing shingles without damaging the underlying structure.

Signs That It Is Time To Replace Roof Shingles

Periodically removing and replacing shingles is necessary to extend the life of a roof and protect a home from water damage. But how do you know when it’s time to replace roof shingles? There are a few telltale signs that indicate the need for replacement.

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One common sign is curled up edges, also known as “cupping” or “curling.” Shingles that have started to curl upward at the edges can no longer provide adequate protection against water infiltration. Another sign is the presence of moss or algae buildup on the shingles. This not only affects the aesthetic appearance of the roof but can also trap moisture, leading to the deterioration of the shingles.

If you regularly find asphalt granules in your gutters, it might be time to replace the shingles. As shingles age, they tend to shed these granules, indicating their decline in quality and protection. Lastly, if your roof is over 20 years old, it is likely due for a replacement. Most shingles have a lifespan of around 20 to 25 years, depending on the materials used and the climate in which they are installed.

The Cost Of Removing And Replacing Roof Shingles

Now that you have identified the need to remove and replace your roof shingles, it’s important to understand the associated costs. The cost of tearing off and replacing a roof can vary depending on several factors, including the type of material used and the size of the house.

The price range for roofing materials is quite extensive. Concrete shingles typically range from $50 to $70 per square, while asphalt shingles can cost around $100 per square. If you’re looking for a more luxurious option, slate shingles can range from $400 to $600 per square. Please note that these prices are just for the materials themselves; installation costs will be additional.

On average, across America, it costs around $9,500 to roof a mid-sized house. However, this price can significantly increase if you choose an expensive material or have a larger home. In some cases, the cost can reach up to $100,000 for high-end roofing materials and large-scale projects.

Hiring a roofing contractor to remove old shingles can typically cost between $1,000 and $3,000. However, by deciding to remove the shingles yourself, you can save a few thousand dollars on this aspect of the process.

It’s important to set a firm date for shingle removal to prevent damage to the bare roof and to ensure the availability of experienced individuals to assist.

  • Concrete shingles: $50 to $70 per square
  • Asphalt shingles: around $100 per square
  • Slate shingles: $400 to $600 per square
  • Average cost to roof a mid-sized house: around $9,500
  • Hiring a roofing contractor to remove old shingles: $1,000 to $3,000

Note: These prices are just for the materials themselves; installation costs will be additional.

Tools And Safety Precautions For Shingle Removal

Removing roof shingles can be a labor-intensive task, requiring the use of various tools to ensure safety and efficiency. Here are some essential tools needed for shingle removal:

  • Sturdy ladders: Choose ladders with a proper weight capacity and stability to safely access the roof.
  • Hammers and hammer tackers: These are used to remove nails and tacks from the shingles.
  • Roofing nails and staples: These are necessary for securing the new shingles in place.
  • Plywood sheets: Place these on the roof to prevent any accidental damage.
  • Pry bars: Use these to separate the shingles from the roof.
  • Adjustable roof jacks: These are used for stability and support while working on the roof.
  • Chalk lines: These aid in accurate alignment when installing new shingles.
  • Tarps: Cover the shrubs and other delicate areas around the house to protect them during the shingle removal process.
  • Garden fork and/or roofing shovel: These tools help in loosening and removing the shingles effectively.
  • Push brooms: Used for cleaning the roof after shingle removal.

Safety should be the top priority during the shingle removal process. It is recommended to wear thick-soled shoes or boots with good grip to prevent slips or falls. Protective clothing such as long pants, work gloves, goggles, and safety harness are essential to protect against any potential hazards.

Proper Method For Removing Roof Shingles

Now that you have gathered the necessary tools and safety equipment, it’s important to understand the proper method for removing roof shingles. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start at the peak of the roof and begin by prying loose the ridge caps. Allow them to slide down to the roof jacks.
  2. Remove the shingles in 2 to 3-foot sections, using the same method as with ridge caps. Gently pry them up and slide them out.
  3. Gather the discarded shingles and place them in the designated dumpster for disposal.
  4. Be mindful of not overloading yourself with too many shingles in one trip to the disposal container to avoid accidents or injuries.
  5. Check the flashing, which directs water away from the home, for signs of wear. If it is in good condition, it can be reused with new shingles. However, if it is worn out, remove and discard it.
  6. Once all the shingles are removed, remove the roof jacks and the remaining shingles underneath them.
  7. Use a tarp to catch the shingles as they are removed from the roof.
  8. After all the shingles have been removed, remove the valley and vent flashing.
  9. Clean the roof by pulling out any protruding nails and inspecting for damaged sheathing. Sweep the roof clean with a push broom, being cautious of slippery shingle granules.

  10. Start at the peak of the roof

  11. Remove shingles in sections
  12. Gather discarded shingles
  13. Be mindful of not overloading yourself
  14. Check flashing for wear
  15. Remove roof jacks
  16. Use a tarp to catch shingles
  17. Remove valley and vent flashing
  18. Clean the roof

    Tip: Use a push broom to sweep the roof clean. Be cautious of slippery shingle granules.

Installing Ice And Water Barriers During The Roofing Process

During the roofing process, it is highly recommended to install ice and water barriers. These barriers provide an extra layer of protection against potential water damage.

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Here’s how to properly install ice and water barriers:

  • The barrier should cover all gutter flashing if gutters are present.
  • Align the barrier with a chalk line and staple it along the top edge.
  • Lift the bottom part of the barrier and remove the backing, allowing it to fall into place.
  • The material will immediately adhere to the roof surface.
  • Lift the top section, remove the backing, and carefully lay it down.
  • Ensure that the seams of each section overlap by at least 6 inches to create a watertight seal.
  • Lay barriers in valleys, around chimneys, skylights, and other protruding roof features for comprehensive protection.

It is important to install ice and water barriers during the roofing process as they provide an additional layer of protection against potential water damage.

  • Cover all gutter flashing if gutters are present.
  • Align the barrier with a chalk line and staple it along the top edge.
  • Lift the bottom part of the barrier and remove the backing, allowing it to fall into place.
  • The material will immediately adhere to the roof surface.
  • Lift the top section, remove the backing, and carefully lay it down.
  • Ensure that the seams of each section overlap by at least 6 inches to create a watertight seal.
  • Lay barriers in valleys, around chimneys, skylights, and other protruding roof features for comprehensive protection.

Cleaning Up And Preparing The Roof For New Shingles

Once the old shingles have been removed and the necessary repairs or installations have been completed, it’s time to clean up the roof and prepare it for the new shingles. Follow these steps to ensure a clean, debris-free surface:

  • Check and clear the gutters of any debris.
  • Throw any stray shingles or roofing waste into the designated dumpster.
  • Use a magnetic broom to remove stray nails from the yard and surrounding areas.
  • Sweep the entire yard and nearby areas for loose nails and screws, especially if there are children or pets present.
  • Inspect the flashing for signs of wear. If it is free of cracks and rust, it can be reused with the new shingles. However, if it shows signs of wear, it should be removed and discarded.
  • Remove the jacks and the remaining shingles underneath to ensure a clean surface for installation.
  • Lay down a tarp beneath the roof section being worked on to collect the removed shingles and debris.
  • Clean the roof by pulling out any protruding nails, checking for damaged sheathing, and sweeping the roof clean with a push broom. Be cautious of slippery shingle granules.

Note: Consult professional resources, such as the National Roofing Contractors Association, for further guidance and to find qualified roofing contractors if necessary.

By following these steps, you can safely and efficiently remove roof shingles and prepare the roof for new shingle installation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove shingles myself?

While we strongly recommend hiring professionals for installation, removing shingles yourself can be a feasible way to cut down on labor expenses. However, it’s important to proceed with caution and be aware of potential risks. Make sure to educate yourself on proper safety measures and use appropriate tools to minimize any damage or injury. Additionally, keep in mind that removing shingles is a time-consuming task that requires physical effort, so be prepared for the challenges that may arise.

What is the best tool to remove shingles?

When it comes to removing shingles, the Shingle Eater stands out as the ultimate tool for the job. This renowned roof stripping tool has been trusted by contractors across America since 1981. Crafted with a simple yet robust design, the Shingle Eater features a solid steel construction, razor-sharp teeth, and an ergonomic handle. Its unparalleled durability and efficiency make it the best tool for effortlessly stripping shingles and tackling any roofing project with ease.

How hard is it to remove roof shingles?

Removing roof shingles can be a physically demanding task, even though it may not require extensive roofing expertise. It involves a significant amount of labor and should not be underestimated. Additionally, the challenge is amplified by the fact that you will be working on a sloped surface, which can make it more challenging to maintain balance and navigate the roof safely. Furthermore, since you may be unfamiliar with the tools used in this process, there might be a learning curve involved before you become comfortable using them. Nonetheless, with determination and proper precautions, it is possible to successfully remove roof shingles and complete the task at hand.

How do you remove stuck shingles?

When faced with stubbornly stuck shingles, alternative methods can be employed. Consider using a heat gun to soften the adhesive, making it easier to remove the shingles. Another option is to carefully use a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade to cut through the nails or adhesive holding the shingles in place, allowing for their removal. These approaches offer effective solutions when traditional methods fail to remove stuck shingles.

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