Tearing Off Asphalt Shingles

Removing asphalt shingles is a fairly straightforward process of tearing and scraping. There are several tools that are effective for tearing up old asphalt shingles, and which one you use is largely a matter of easy availability and personal preference. An extra tool to always keep on hand is a claw hammer to remove old nails left behind.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Claw hammer
  • Shingle scraper
  • Square shove (optional)
  • Garden spade (optional)
  • Dumpster for old shingles
  • Work gloves
  • Broom

Step 1 - Pull Up Shingles 

Asphalt shingles usually lift up easily, especially if they are older and already loosened by wear and tear. You can use a flat shingle scraping tool that resembles a thin, clawed shovel to pry up the shingles. Alternately, you can use a square garden shovel or spade just as well.

Step 2 - Remove Nails

Asphalt shingles often tear and leave pieces behind at the points where they were nailed to the roof. Use the claw hammer to pry up any nails, and then remove these asphalt pieces. It is recommended to remove the nails rather than pounding them back down; roofing nails usually move back up over time.

Step 3 - Sweep Roof 

After removing all the asphalt shingles, sweep up any remaining dust and debris from the roof. This will prepare it for a new layer of roofing material. Be sure to dispose of all shingles and other debris in a dumpster; torn-off asphalt shingles can quickly build up into a messy pile.