Removing Old Asphalt Roof Shingles

How to Remove Old Asphalt Roof Shingles and Not Void New Shingle Warranties

By Mark J. Donovan

When it’s time to install new asphalt roof shingles on your home, don’t be lulled in by the roofing contractor who says he can shingle over the old ones. Yes you might save a few dollars by leaving the old ones on, however you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. Removing old asphalt roof shingles is critical for not voiding the warranty on the new shingles.

Also, asphalt shingles weigh a lot and by shingling over the old ones you put the roof framing under significant structural stress. An average home’s roof, with just a single layer of shingles on it, can weigh anywhere from 1 to 2 tons.

Removing old asphalt roof shingles is also easy to do and doesn’t take much time at all, so the added cost of removing them should be minimal, if you are not being gouged by a roofing contractor.

How to Remove Old Asphalt Roof Shingles

Prior to removing old asphalt roof shingles place a large nylon tarp on the ground where you plan to throw the old shingles off the roof. This way you can be sure to not leave any roofing nails on the lawn. It’s also a wise idea to rent a dumpster and have it positioned fairly close to the house, and if possible preferably right near one of the roof eaves. This way you can throw the old asphalt roof shingles directly into the dumpster.

The key tool for removing old asphalt roof shingles is a shingle scraper. It is effectively a flat bladed shovel that has large teeth on the end of it. It also has a heel attached to the bottom of it to act as a lever to help pivot the shingle scraper against the roof and lift the shingles off of it. The shingle scraper also does a fairly good job of removing the roofing nails in the process, however you’ll still find yourself using a claw hammer to remove a few nails.

To use the shingle scraper just shove the end of the scraper up under the shingles and rock and lift it a bit to pull up the old asphalt roofing shingles.

It is important to remove old roof shingles to ensure you don't violate the warranty on the new shingles to be installed.
After removing the bulk of the old asphalt roof shingles, go back and use a claw hammer to remove any roofing nails and bits of old asphalt shingles still attached to the roof.

Also remove all of the old roofing paper, drip edge, and old and worn out metal flashing around vent stacks.

Once the roof is completely free of the old asphalt roofing shingles, inspect the roof sheathing for any rot or damage. Replace any sections of roof sheathing that have any visible rot, warping, buckling, or damage.

With the roof bare of the old shingles and the roof sheathing patched up where necessary, you can now begin the installation of the new asphalt roofing shingles.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet

For more help on Shingling Your Home’s Roof, see’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won’t end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimator

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