5 Steps for Removing a Roof

Published On: June 15, 20210 Comments on 5 Steps for Removing a RoofTags: , Last Updated: February 6, 20243.1 min read

While you may not want to install a new roof on your own, there’s no reason why you can’t save money by removing the old one yourself. Removing an old roof is a fairly straightforward process that can save you at least $1,000. As with everyone else who needs roofing Guelph homeowners will find it expenses,, so cutting the costs down by doing what you can on your own can keep that money in your wallet.

5 Steps for Removing a Roof

Follow these five steps for removing a roof and you’ll be ready for your new roof in no time. 

Step 1: Gather the Proper Tools

Before you start your roofing removal project, you’ll need to gather the right tools to make your work efficient and safe. To complete your project, you’ll need roofing jacks, broom magnet, a cat’s paw nail puller, a chalk line, an extension ladder, a roofing shovel, a hammer, a hammer tacker, a pry bar, a push broom, a safety harness, work gloves, rubber-soled shoes, and safety glasses. 

Step 2: Prepare for the Removal

A little bit of prep work ahead of the removal will save you a lot of time on cleanup. Cover the landscaping below your toss-off area with inexpensive tarps to prevent damage and facilitate cleanup. Renting a dumpster is a great idea for roof removal because you can just toss the old shingles off into the bin as you work. Install roof jacks below the area you’ll be working in to stop shingles from falling off on their own.

Step 3: Strip the Roof

Starting at the top of your roof at the furthest point from the dumpster, use the roofing shovel to rip off the ridge caps and the tops of the shingles. You can also use a garden fork for this purpose, but a specially-designed roofing shovel will pull out more shingle nails than a fork. It really depends on preference, though, so choose the one that works best for you. 

5 Steps for Removing a Roof - removing shingles

Step 4: Work Your Way Downward

As the shingles begin to come off, they will roll up as you push the fork or shovel under them. This will allow you to work in a two- or three-foot swath as you move downward toward the edge of the roof. Push the shingles down to the roof jacks. Every so often, pick up a roll of shingles and throw them in the dumpster. Once you reach the roof jacks, start over at the top of the roof on another section. Be sure to also remove the old flashing around chimneys, vents, skylights, and other roof equipment. You may need to use a pry bar to pull up the flashing.

Step 5: Cleanup

While you’re going to be tossing shingles off the roof as you go, hopefully into a dumpster, there will be some materials, like nails and pieces of shingles that fall off onto the tarps below. When you’re finished removing all shingles, underlayment, and flashing, take the push broom and sweep the roof and gutters, so that all leftover materials fall onto the tarps on the ground. Roll up the tarps and toss them into the dumpster. Use a broom magnet to find any stray nails in your yard or landscaping. 


Removing an old roof is hard work, but it’s something anyone can do with the proper tools and safety equipment. Just be sure you’re ready to get your new roof right away so that your roof isn’t damaged by rain or other weather conditions after you’ve removed the shingles. 

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