Curling and damaged shingles are significant issues for any homeowner. While there might not be leaks in the roofing now, it’s just a matter of time before there may be problems without renovation. Entire roof replacement and repair all begin with one significant step — tearing off old roof shingles.

Although removing shingles is labor-intensive, it’s doable if you have the appropriate tools, knowledge, planning, and assistance. You don’t need to hire a roofing contractor if you’re confident in your abilities.

Here is a step-by-step guide on removing roof shingles to prepare for installing a new roof in 11 easy-to-follow steps with some safety tips included. Read on for our detailed explanation to learn how to remove existing shingles like a pro.

Select a Start Date

Selecting a specific day to begin shingle removal is crucial for multiple reasons. First, you should choose a day where the weather is forecast to be pleasant and not stormy or rainy. You should also select a day when you will have ample time to finish the task, as you shouldn’t leave your roofing partially shingled for a long time.

Lastly, you want enough time to strip the shingles and install a new covering. If left unprotected for long, your roofing is susceptible to damage.

Obtain Permits, Equipment, and Materials

You might be required to obtain a permit before stripping or replacing shingles, depending on your local laws. Discuss your intentions with the municipal office to discover whether a building permit is necessary.

Then, you will need to hire a dumpster to discard the old shingles and prevent a significant mess on your property. Before beginning the project, gather all the necessary tools and supplies to avoid delays.

This might include hammers, nails, plastic tarps, a robust ladder, a pry bar, adjustable roof jacks, plywood boards to support the jacks, and something to keep the roof deck clean.

Prep Your House

Before stripping shingles, strive to protect your home from damage. Loose nails and stray shingles could fall outside the trash and into your yard. To avoid damage, cover your air conditioner with a plywood board. Also, cover hot tubs, landscaping, and swimming pools with tarps.

Similarly, installing roof jacks around your roof’s edge could keep shingles from slipping. Place plywood sheets to create a protective barrier that will collect any loose ones.

Tear Down the Roof

First, make sure you have some durable work gloves and protective eyewear. Begin the shingle removal process at the top of the roof. Although a garden fork is utilized to loosen shingles, some homeowners might prefer a roofing tear-off shovel with a notched blade.

Once they are unfastened, allow them to glide down the roof slope to the jacks. The other option is to pick up the shingles from the roof and toss them in the nearest dumpster.

Be sure the ground beneath the house is clear before you begin dropping shingles. Anyone nearby could be injured by the falling debris during your roof tear-off. Use a safety harness for extra protection while up on your roof and steer clear of any stray nails.

Inspect Roofing Flashing

As you remove shingles in 2 to 3-foot pieces, keep a close eye on the flashing. The flashing must be clear of cracks and corrosion. If you discover damage, you should probably replace the flashing.

However, if the flashing is in great shape, loosen the remaining nails securing it to the roofing and carefully pull it to reveal the shingles directly beneath. Flashing, like shingles, typically has a life expectancy of 30 to 50 years. Thus, if your flashing is built alongside the old shingles, you should consider replacing it.

Eliminate the Roof Jacks

After removing the shingles from the bulk of the roof, proceed to the edge. Then, take down the roof jacks and plywood sheets, allowing you to easily remove the remaining ones. Rather than totally stripping these off, loosen them to prevent falling shingles from the roofing.

When loosened, take them off by hand and dispose of the removed shingles in the trash. Throughout the process of roof shingle stripping, you should don a harness to protect against accidental slips and falls.

Remove Water and Ice Barriers

You will find an ice and water barrier beneath the shingles at the roof’s edge. Although most probably peel when you strip the shingles, some will stay and must be scraped loose before being discarded. If you cannot entirely remove it, you could replace the ice and water barrier with fresh underlayment.

Clear the Roofing

After removing all the shingles from your roof, inspect the whole surface for projecting nails or evidence of damage. If you identify any defective components, including roof sheathing, replace them before laying new roof shingles.

Ensure you’ve got the roof clean with a push broom to prepare the surface for the replacement shingles. If you don’t intend to replace the shingles within the same day, cover your roof with a tarp till the new shingles are fitted.

Button Up

Also known as fastening up, buttoning up your roof means applying ice and water barriers at the edge of the roof. Mark a chalk line 36 inches from the roof’s edge, then install the barrier by aligning it with the chalk line. This guarantees that all gutter flashing is covered and that the necessary protection is provided.

Once secured, attach staples to the peak of the barrier. After everything is arranged, return the barrier, strip off the protective layer from the adhesive, and reapply it.

Drain the Gutters

Once the barriers are in position, collect all tools, rubbish, and other objects off the roof. If you leave any equipment in the gutters, it’s likely to result in leaks in rainy weather.

Place New Shingles

Always start from the bottom up while placing new shingles while beginning the process at the eaves. Put new flashing at the valleys and joints to ensure your roofing is leak free.

Regardless of the kind of shingle chosen, the process is similar. After placing the starter shingles, you should overlay the shingles as you move up and across your roof. To complete the roof, apply the hip and ridge caps.

The average lifespan of a roof’s shingles is roughly two decades. However, this might vary widely from one roof to another. Commons signs to remove your roof include shingle granules in gutters and missing, cracked, or curled shingles.

Place the felt paper beneath shortly after stripping the shingles, and make efforts to put in the new roof shingle layers and flashing the same day; after you begin, you shouldn’t stop.

Final Notes

Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn how to remove roof shingles. Based on the scale of your roof, you can peel all shingles and flashing in one day. As long as you adhere to the steps outlined above, you won’t experience any issues with peeling your roof’s shingles and should be able to get your roof replaced in a jiffy.

If you’re still having doubts, however, it’s best to consult a roofing professional as scaling and working on roofs can be risky business.



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