How to Tear Off Your Old Roof
If it’s time to replace your old roof, you need to know that probably the most important step in roofing is preparing the roof deck to receive the new shingles. As in most most projects, good preparation is the key to getting the job done right. And since your roof protects your home and family, you’re going to want to have the job done right!
The job begins by understanding…
What to do before you can even start tearing off the old roof:
- Check the weather forecast for clear skies
- Understand roofing terms, so you understand the materials you will need and the things you’ll need to do.
- Check into the local building codes and whether or not your will need any permits to do the work.
- Plan for disposal of the old shingles and other debris. You may want to rent a large dumpster. When it’s delivered have it put in place under an eave for easy disposal.
- Tools you should have are:
- Safety goggles
- Safety harness
- A sturdy ladder
- A tear off shovel (one with a flat front edge) or even a pitch fork (these can be purchased at your local hardware store)
- A sturdy push broom
- Tarps to cover the roof in case of bad weather
- Dress appropriately: Wear long pants, work gloves and soft soled shoes.
- Choose your new shingles and arrange to have your them delivered after your tear off is complete.
- Inside the house:
- Protect any valuables you may have stored in the attic.
- Make sure your pictures and mirrors are either secured on the walls or removed until after the roofing is completed.
- Outside the house:
- Keep your children and pets inside during the whole process.
- Remove furniture, plants and other items from around the house that could be hit and ruined by falling debris.
It’s time to tear off the old roof.
- Begin at the top, and at the farthest section from the dumpster.
- Using your pitch fork or tear away shovel, start by tearing off the ridge caps and the first row of shingles.
- Once that is complete, you can use your shovel or fork to slide under not only the shingles, but the felt paper underneath them. If some of the nails remain in the plywood, don’t worry about them, you can come back later remove them.
- Work in about 3 foot sections, working your way down the roof. Don’t let the old roofing materials build up and clutter the roof (causing a safety hazard), toss them into the dumpster before the pile gets too large and they start sliding off the roof. Old roofing materials are very heavy, so rolling them up into small bundles can be an easy way to lift and dispose of them. If the shingles come off in large sections, they may be too large to move, so you should break them up into smaller sections for easier handling.
- When you have reached the lower section of the roof, avoid prying the shingles totally loose, because of their weight, they could slide right off. Loosen them only, and then finish removing them with your hands.
- When you’re working near chimneys, skylights or other protruding items on your roof, take care when removing the shingles so as not to damage them.
- Evaluate the flashing as to whether or not it can be reused or needs to be replaced. FYI, the flashing that is located in the valleys of your roof usually needs to be removed and replaced…their life expectancy is about the same as the shingles.
- Finally, it’s time to clean up, which means removing any nails that were left behind and thoroughly sweeping the roof deck. Once this is done you can inspect the surface to make sure there aren’t any broken boards, water damaged or rotten wood that needs to be replace.
If you’re replacing your old roof, let me just say, it’s a lot of hard physical work. You may want to get a bid from a roofing contractor to see if the money you might save by doing it yourself will be worth it.
If your roof needs replacement or repair, Contact us, we’ll be happy to come and give you a complimentary estimate and provide great options for your roofing materials.
MasterCraft Roofing Services is the Seattle Area’s Best Roofing Company
Our repairmen are highly trained in most types of roofing systems.
During the Project: We employ OSHA standards for safety, we use the highest quality tools and materials. Along with a quality roof, we intend to leave your property in better shape than when we found it. We police our nails and debris with military discipline.