How to Tear Off a Roof

Prior to installing new shingles on a home, the existing roofing must first be removed and the roof sheathing inspected. For safety and efficiency, follow these steps for proper roof tear off.

Directions for tearing off a roof

  1. Before tearing off a roof, place tarps along the ground near the house, taking extra care to protect delicate flowers and other landscaping. Have a dumpster or trailer ready for easy debris removal once the tear off is complete. Consider attaching a tarp to the fascia board to further protect the home from damage due to falling shingles.
  2. Begin at the ridge or the peak of the roof. Use a shingle removal shovel, which can be purchased at any home improvement warehouse. They are relatively inexpensive and save a great deal of time and labor. Remove the ridge shingles and work down toward the eave. After a few courses have been removed, work from above to avoid slipping on shingle granules, which will build up during the job.
  3. Lift off the shingles with the shovel, pushing them gently down the roof slope toward the ground. Try not to throw shingles off the roof; instead, as they accumulate in piles, walk them down to avoid damage to the home and landscaping.
  4. Have a push broom handy and use it as often as necessary to keep the work area free of shingle granules. Taking a few extra minutes to ensure safe footing can save a needless injury.
  5. Remove any felt paper and ice and water shield that may be present underneath the shingles, exposing the roof sheathing. Inspect the sheathing carefully for rot or any other damage. Make note of any sheathing needing replacement and be sure to take care of this prior to re-roofing. A complete tear off is highly recommended so that any needed repairs can be made, extending the life of the new roof.
  6. Once all the shingles and underlayment have been removed, tear out any drip edge to be replaced.
  7. After the roof is fully torn off, completely sweep the surface from top to bottom with the bush broom, making note of any remaining roofing nails or staples.
  8. Remove any nails or staples sticking out of the roof sheathing. Also pay attention to nails and clips holding down the sheathing to the roof trusses, driving them back in and reinforcing them when necessary. It is important to be very thorough, because this is the only time the roof will be exposed for many years to come. Taking care of all the small details will help the actual roof installation go more smoothly, and will help the new roof perform better for longer.
  9. Once the tear off is complete and all needed repairs are made, the roof is ready for drip edge, ice and water shield, and felt paper.

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