Removing Shingles

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated March 7, 2022)

Removing shingles is one of the best ways to prepare your roof for a new roofing job. While it is not strictly necessary to always remove the old shingles before installing the new ones (some local codes will allow you to have up to three total layers), it never hurts to remove the old stuff. In fact, removing the old shingles before you place the new ones will give you the opportunity to inspect the roof and see if there is any other problems that need to be taken care of.

Keep in mind that this method is all about removing shingles, not about replacing them. As such, the only details listed here will be how you remove the shingles, and what you should do immediately afterwards. We will not be going into how you replace the shingles, and do your own roofing jobs in this article.

Tools needed:

  • Roofing knife
  • Flat pry bar
  • Roofing shovel
  • Roofing pitchfork
  • Claw hammer
  • Broom
  • Very large dumpster


  1. Preparation is key. Before you begin climbing up onto your roof and tearing everything out, you need to take a little time to do some preparation work. In this instance, the biggest thing that you can do is to get a very large dumpster to put all of your garbage into. On the average, a 1,500 square foot roof will produce enough garbage to fill an entire 20 cubic yard dumpster. When you have the dumpster at your property, have it placed under one of the eves of the roof so you can simply slide all the garbage into it. Other wise you will find your self removing the garbage from the roof as well as from the ground.
  2. Start at the top. Starting near the top of your roof, work a roofing shovel underneath the shingles. Get the shovel or pitchfork as tight against the sheathing as possible, and begin pealing off the shingles in as large of chunks as possible. As you begin removing shingles, work on your roof in sections where you remove all of the shingles before you move onto the next area.
  3. 3, Remove any flashing. As you work your way down towards the edge of the roof you will invariably come across some flashing around vents, skylights, and chimneys. When you do, remove this flashing as you would any other shingles.
  4. Work on the ridge. Save the ridge of the roof for last area to remove your shingles. The reason for this is that by leaving the shingles there you will have some protection against any possible rain that could come along.
  5. Remove all nails. Once you have removed all of the shingles, it is time to begin on the nails. Go over every square inch of your now bare roof, and look for any nails that you may have missed. If you find them, go ahead and remove them and properly dispose of them.
  6. Inspect the sheathing. Before you are finished you still need to do one more thing. Check the sheathing that was under the shingles. As you check it, make sure that you are looking for any damage or indications that the sheathing may no longer be any good. If it is damaged in some way then remove it and replace it with something that will work better.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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