How to Remove Roof Shingles

August 3, 2022by Joe0

Whether performing a repair or upgrading to a more durable material such as metal, removing roofing shingles correctly and safely is and important part of the process.

With a few particular steps, you can make sure you get this done with ease. Add in your new shingles, and your roof will look and feel brand new. When you’re doing so, you can get it done quickly, efficiently, and make sure everything’s done right.

What You’ll Need

Before you know how to remove roof shingles, you’ll need to know what to have for the process. You’ll need:

  • Safety glasses
  • Adjustable roof jacks
  • Push broom
  • Chalk line
  • Hammer
  • Broom magnet
  • Cat’s paw
  • Hammer tacker
  • Work gloves
  • Pry bar
  • Extension ladder
  • Garden fork or roofing shovel
  • Roof harness

With that, it’s time to start getting rid of your shingles.

Step-By-Step Guide

Get Prepared

Doing a little prep work before you start saves you a lot of time and effort cleaning up afterward. Nails and other materials can fall during the process. Have coverings for everything below the roof to keep them protected while making the cleanup simple.

Be Safe

You’ll need to be safe when removing your roof shingles. Use a safety harness system when you’re doing so. This includes roof jacks to keep you securely tied to the roof, a safety harness, and appropriate footwear for working on a roof. Once you have these, you can start removing your shingles.

Hit The Peak

When you’re figuring out how to remove roof shingles, you’ll need to know where to start. Your roof’s peak is the best recommended area. By doing so, you can take the next steps much easier, while making sure everything’s done the right way. Start at the furthest area from how you got to the roof and work your way back.

Work Downward

To make sure you’re as safe as possible when you’re removing roof shingles, it’s worth working downward. This makes sure nothing falls down on you during the process, and you can catch anything that starts slipping.

Toss From Roof To Container

When you’re removing roof shingles, you could be surprised by how quickly your pile builds up. You shouldn’t let this turn into a big pile, as it poses a safety risk. Instead, it’s worth tossing them from the roof into a container you’ll be removing them in. Make sure this is nearby.

Evaluate The Flashing

When you’re next to chimneys and similar parts of your roof, you’ll need to take extra care. You could want to keep this flashing there, as it may be too difficult to replace without damaging anything. Only do so if it’s damaged, so give it a thorough examination before you start with them.

Work Around Step Flashing

You could want to keep some of the step flashing you have, but it can seem complicated, as it’s interwoven with your shingles. You can do so safely by bending the step flashing slightly upward before removing the shingles.

Tear Off Edge Shingles

You’ll have to be careful with edge shingles, as these can easily fall off your roof and hurt somebody when you’re doing so. Start by loosening the shingles before taking them off with your bare hands. Once you do, they should be quickly tossed into the container you’re throwing them out with.

Trash Valley Flashing

If there are valleys in your roof, then it’s time to remove the flashing in them. This usually has the same lifespan as the shingles, so it’s not worth reusing it. You can do this with a fork, and shouldn’t take too long, depending on how much of the valley flashing there is. Start at the top before making your way down.

Remove Vent Flashing

If you have any vent pipes on your roof, there’ll be flashing around them. You’ll need to get rid of this before proceeding any further. Be careful when you’re doing this, as you wouldn’t want to damage any pipes.


Once a section has been completed, you could notice a bit of dirt, as well as nails and a few other materials. Before proceeding, make sure to remove these and clean the roof. The next steps need a completely flat and unobstructed surface, so make sure there’s nothing in the way by giving it a thorough clean.

Button Up & Clean Again

Buttoning up is the final preparation step before adding any new shingles. This protects your roof from rain and any water damage. As complicated as this sounds, it’s as simple as installing an ice and water barrier, as well as asphalt-saturated felt.

Once you’ve done this, you shouldn’t wait around to reshingle your roof. Wind can damage or remove this surface, so you’ll need to get the reshingling done quickly. Start by installing this barrier at the edges and working inward, making sure everything lines up.

This is one of the easier steps to take, but act quickly when reshingling. Once done adding the shingles, giving things another clean is all you need.

When Are They Worn Out?

You’ll already know that you need to get rid of your roof shingles and replace them when there’s a leak. You shouldn’t wait until then to do this, however. Despite shingles having a long lifespan, they can be worn down by various factors.

While this depends on the wear and tear your roof goes through, you might need to replace them years before the manufacturer recommends. Keep an eye on your shingles for signs that they’re worn out. Cracking, cupping at the edges, and similar signs can all be signs of th

Once you know how to remove roof shingles, the process becomes much less daunting. While you’ll need to put in a bit of work, it can be far easier than you’d expect. By making sure you have all of the materials you need and following each of the simple steps above, you can rest assured that’s the case.

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RPS Metal Roofing & Siding, Inc is a manufacturer and distributor of metal roofs. Located in Welaka, Florida, our company has state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment resulting in fine quality metal roofs for commercial, residential and agricultural use.

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