Removing an Old Roof

Removing an Old Roof

Replacing an old roof is a big job, but this guide can help you to do so safely and as efficiently as possible. It will also show you how to take steps to minimize any damage to your landscaping and make clean up as easy as possible.

Although building codes do allow homeowners to directly install new shingles over top of the old layer, it’s a better idea to take off the old ones first as your new roof will likely last longer when you do. In addition, you’ll be able to check to make sure that the materials securing the underlying roof are in good condition. When you remove the shingles, you’ll quickly be able to see whether you need to do any quick repairs or replacements to prevent water leakage or weather damage.


The first thing to keep in mind is that working on a roof is hazardous. Although you might frequently see experienced roofers working without harnesses or ropes, keep in mind that they are used to working in those conditions. When working on your own roof, you should adhere to some safety practices in order to ensure you don’t get hurt. Wearing a rope or a harness and safety belt is a good idea if the roof has steep or precarious slopes. Use ladders to access the roof easily, but use shingles to secure the bottom of the ladder and prevent it from falling over. Pay attention to weather conditions; you shouldn’t work when the roof is icy or wet. High winds can also make working on a roof more dangerous than it already is. Finally, notice wires hanging above the roof and be sure to avoid while working.


Removing your old roof will require some special tools, including a tear-off shovel, a hammer tacker, and a broom magnet. You might also need to assemble a group to help you; otherwise, you’re looking at a big job. A waste receptacle where you can collect shingles should already be in place before you start. Be sure to also investigate as to whether you need a building permit before you get started.

When your waste dumpster arrives, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy if you simply tell the driver to place it in a convenient location close to the eaves of the roof. That way, you’ll be able to deposit your waste materials directly from the roof as you take them off.

Finally, you’ll need a few supplies before you begin. You can pick up felt paper, wood lath to stick the felt paper on the roof, and an ice and wood barrier at your local hardware store. That way, you can start waterproofing when you start the job. Before you have the new shingles delivered and stacked onto the roof, break the chalk lines and felt the roof.


Use a tear-off shovel to get rid of the old shingles. You should work from the bottom, sides, or top of the roof in order to prevent hurting your back. Once you’ve finished, sweep the roof clean using a broom and hammer in any nails that are sticking out.

Cut and apply the ice and water barrier in 8-ft strips. Once you take off the backing, you can paste it right on the rooftop and staple it every couple of inches. Place felt over ventilation holes. Use plywood or other objects to mark the areas that have holes, otherwise you might risk falling into them while you’re walking on the roof. Finally, clean up any stray materials using the magnetic broom.

When the new shingles are delivered, have them brought up to the roof using a conveyer or a boom truck. Place the shingle loads in convenient areas around the roof so that you don’t have to stop while you’re doing the job to move them around. Make sure you order enough shingles to cover the roof.