5 Tips for Removing Roof Shingles

roof shingles
  • 4-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Claw hammer
Prybar, or
Cat's Paw nail puller
Flat shovel
Heel barrow

If you have lived in your home for 20 years or so and not replaced your roof shingles, now may be the time to take it under consideration. Generally, shingles have a life span of 15 to 20 years before they begin to deteriorate. Replacing them within the time frame of the lifespan will allow you to take a proactive approach to prevent any leaks to your roof. Use these tips to remove those old shingles from your roof.

Safety Gear

Before you begin any work on your roof, you want to ensure your safety equipment is in good repair in order to get the job done. Safety equipment such as ladders, ropes, and harnesses should be checked for any defects. Be sure to include safety goggles, gloves, and sunscreen when you are considering doing work on your roof. Also, a straw hat is good for keeping the sun out of your eyes. Rubber-soled shoes in good repair will ensure you keep your footing while on your roof.

Tools and Equipment

Before you set the day to remove the shingles from your roof, contact a local equipment rental company for a large dumpster for the shingles. A square-edged spade or roofing shovel are ideal tools for getting underneath the shingles and loosening the roofing nails from the wood. Purchase sheets of plywood to place over the windows below your roof to prevent any debris from shattering them. Two or more bar magnets will be needed so that you can easily gather the nails that will fall to the ground. It will be difficult to see the nails in the grass that surrounds your home.

Removing the Shingles

Chances are the nails that will be securely seated in the wood so a bit of force will be needed with a twisting motion of the roofing shovel or spade. You will want to start from one side of your roof and work your way to the other side. Remove the shingles in layers as you work your way up the roof. Ensure that as you remove the shingles, you are taking them from the roof and into the dumpster. This will keep the area clean as you progress toward the center of the roof.

Inspect Roof

After you have removed all shingles from one side of the roof, it is now necessary to walk the roof and remove any roofing nails that have been left behind. With your nail remover, pull the nails from the roof and place them in your nail pouch if they can be used or throw them in your rented dumpster.

Enlisting Help

A do-it-yourself job like removing roof shingles is always a quicker process if you have some extra hands to help get it done. Try to enlist the help of at least one person to assist you in the job and to be available should you become injured while on your roof. If it is a hot day, it is important to keep water nearby to keep you hydrated.