Roofing – Stripping the Old Shingles

Before the roof stripping begins, take a roll of tarp or poly/plastic and spread it out on the ground to collect the dirt and nails that fall off the roof just below the work area. But most importantly, adopt a safety attitude about the job and the height factor. This mental thought will help the worker/workers anticipate hazards before it becomes a potential for an accident.

Pick a spot about halfway point along the roof and face towards the ridge of the roof; take a shovel and start prying and lifting up the old shingles along the tabs with it. The shingle nails will tend to pop up and out as pressure is applied to the shovel. You will notice that as you push in and pry up the rows, the shingles next to and above it will pop up too. Work in small sections at a time. To avoid back pain, bend your knees as you work the shovel into the shingle courses. Use care and caution when stripping the shingles around the furnace vents and roof jacks to avoid damage.


Continue along to the left and right and then proceed up the roof till you reach the ridge cap. Be careful as you walk on the stripped shingles because it might slide down. Pick up and throw the shingles down into a container, (truck box, trailer box, dump truck box…) on the ground that has been assigned for all of the scrap. Once that has been done, sweep the granule deposits from the old shingles off the exposed roof plywood.  You will also notice that some shingle nails are still embedded into the plywood even after the top half of the roof was stripped of shingles. As long as the roof is swept clean of dirt and debris, the nails can be pulled out after the whole roof has been stripped. But pull out nails that may cause a tripping hazard.


To start stripping the lower half section of the roof, again find a convenient location, stand facing down the roof and pry the shovel into the rows from the top. Use the push in and lift method with the shovel as you work your way along and down the rows. Have a broom handy to sweep the granules as you work your way down to the edge of the roof. Do not walk on the granules because these marble-like grains may cause one to slide off the roof when walked on. As you strip the shingles, keep a clear path in your way to walk up, down, and sideways and avoid walking.


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