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How To (Properly) Remove Roof Shingles for a Replacement

November 2022
6 minutes read

Your home is probably your most expensive possession. It is also likely one of the most important. A home gives you shelter and a place to keep your worldly possessions. Additionally, your home can also be an excellent investment. 

One of the most critical parts of your home is the roof. Your roof keeps you warm, dry, and safe, even in severe weather. A good roof provides an ice and water barrier.  

Maintaining and repairing your roof is an essential process for any homeowner. One of the most important ways you can maintain your roof is by replacing the shingles. 

Deciding to repair your roof is a significant decision, and you should take it seriously. One of the most common methods for improving your roof is figuring out how to remove the old shingles. Removing shingles is a commonly overlooked step. 

I’ve created this step-by-step guide, so you know exactly how to remove old roof shingles. Additionally, I’ve outlined why this is such a necessary process. Finally, I’ve wrapped up some tips on how you can make this process easier.

Why You Should Remove Roof Shingles

One of the most frequent mistakes homeowners make is not correctly removing shingles before replacing them. Putting new shingles on top of the previous ones may seem easy to save money and time, but this is an illusion. This shortcut results in more significant roof repair costs in the long run. 

When you are getting your roof replaced, be sure to take the time to have the old roofing material removed. Removing the old roofing materials will allow you to inspect if the roof deck clean and make any necessary repairs. If the roof’s deck is damaged, then replacing the shingles may not fix the problem with your roof. 

Removing the old roofing material is also essential because it can weigh down your new roof and shorten its lifespan. Stacking shingles on top of each other can damage the roof sheathing and exacerbate any existing problems on your roof. 

remove roof shingles placement

When Do You Need To Replace Shingles?

It can be difficult and stressful to determine when you need a new roof. Unless the water is pouring through a light fixture, you might assume that your roof is okay. 

Waiting until this point is dangerous and can cause your repair cost to be high. Don’t wait for your ice and water barrier to fail. Instead, watch for these signs:

  • Edges of the shingles are curling
  • Moss or algae is growing on your shingles
  • Asphalt from the shingles is collecting in your gutters
  • The shingles are over 20 years old

The Average Cost To Remove Shingles and Replace Them

There is no way around it. The cost of removing and replacing your roof is a serious investment. The cost to completely replace your roof depends on the material used and your roof size.

Generally, roofing materials range from $50-80 per square foot for concrete, $100 per square foot for asphalt, and $400-600 per square foot for slate. On average, the cost of replacing a roof runs about $10,000.

One of the most common roof types is asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are fiberglass mats coated with asphalt and covered with mineral granules. You can replace an asphalt roof tear for between $5,000 and $10,000.

Another common type of roof is metal. Metal roofs are steel, aluminum, or copper. The average cost to replace a metal roof is between $10,000 and $20,000.

The final common type of roofing is tile roofing. Tile roofs are clay or concrete tiles. You can replace a tile roof for between $15,000 and $25,000.

The cost of replacing your roof is a significant investment but an essential one. The price may seem large, but this is a cost you don’t want to cut corners on. 

How To Remove Roof Shingles

These steps will demonstrate how to remove shingles. Follow these steps carefully to ensure that the removal process goes smoothly.

Identify Which Shingles Need To Be Removed

The first step is identifying which shingles you want to remove. To do this, take a close look at your roof and identify any damaged, curling, or missing shingles. Once you have identified the damaged shingles, you can begin removing them.

remove roof shingles hammer

Prepare the Work Area

Your next step is preparing the work area. Organizing the work area involves removing any debris or nails that might be in the way. In addition to removing debris, it is also essential to prepare the area around the roof.

Walk around the edge of your work area and look for anything that a falling shingle might damage. You will want to move lawn furniture, grills, windows, cars, etc. Take the time to cover any windows and remove any valuables that stray shingles might damage.

It may also be easier to put tarps around the work area for easy clean-up when you finish the project. The tarps will make it easy for you to clean up roofing nails, loose nails, and any roofing debris. Once the site is clean and organized, you can begin removing the shingles.

Collect Your Tools

The next step is to collect your tools. For this project, you will need a pry bar, a hammer, and a bucket. You will also need a ladder if you are not comfortable working on a roof. A roofing shovel can also be a helpful tool.

You should also have the appropriate safety gear. This includes a safety harness, work gloves, and long pants. 

Start at the Edge of the New Roof

To being the shingle removal process, start at the roof’s edge. Starting at the border is crucial because it will help prevent any damage to the rest of the roof.

Use the pry bar to loosen the first row of shingles. Once the first row is loose, you can begin removing the shingles.

Remove the Asphalt Shingles

The next step is to remove all the shingles. Start by removing the damaged shingles. Once the damaged shingles are removed, you can begin removing the rest of the shingles.

Be sure to work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the rest of the roof. Once all of the shingles are removed, you can begin installing the new shingles.

Wrap Up

Learning how to remove old shingles does not have to be an overwhelming task. If you follow the steps above, you can easily and quickly remove and replace the roof shingles on your home.

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Written By:
Keiron Mohamed

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