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How to remove roof tiles before getting your roof a new look

Discussing the way of removing the old tiles from your roof with your own hands and the details of removing process.

How to remove roof tilesIf you are reading this article it most definitely means that you want to know how to remove roof tiles. Removing some individual tiles can be difficult because of the mounting lugs behind the upper edge. The most common way is to remove flat piles is outputting projections from their engagement with the rack and removing the tiles. This is facilitated if the tile is lifted by wooden wedges inserted on either side of an old tile. But now let’s talk about the way of removing more complicated types of tiles, such as concrete roof tiles, slate roof tiles and asbestos roof tiles which can often be fragile, “wavy” and very hard to work with.

You will need:

  • quite big trash containers;
  • tarp;
  • sheets of plywood;
  • a crowbar;
  • a hammer;
  • a scraper or a garden spade with a flat edge;
  • a spatula;
  • magnets;
  • a stepladder.

How to remove concrete roof tilesThe old roof covering must be removed to reduce the load on the truss system. If you plan to make installation of new tiles on the roof of your house, the first thing you need to do is to remove the old tiles. If you leave the old ones on their place, the support structure of the roof may not sustain the weight of the two layers of tiles. Purchase or rent a garbage container: it should be large enough to accommodate all the old piles and garbage. You may not know that a layer of the light tiles can weigh to about 220 ponds per 1076 square feet surface. You should plan in advance where the container will be placed – it will be very comfortable for you to fold the old tiles from the roof directly.

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Getting started

Cover the bushes under the eaves of plastic tarp. This will help you to remove all the debris faster after the work is done and to protect your plants. Protect windows and other fragile items with plywood sheets for them not to suffer from pebbles that may fall from the roof.

Removing old tiles

Old roof requiring immediate replacementRemove tiles from the roof ridge first. If you do not have a scraper, use a garden spade with a flat blade to “hook” the tiles underneath. This maneuver will help to remove the piles together with nails.

Work your way through the top row of tiles, weakening and pulling them. Go down to the next row and loosen it. Also unplug the tiles. Dump torn tiles into the trash. Continue this process until you tear off all the tiles from the roof.

Inspect the roof for any remaining protruding nails. It is super necessary to remove them if you find ones. The nails that you are not able to remove must be hammered down.

Use a putty knife to scrape gum from the roof which could remain around the gates.

Sweep the land around the house with a broom with a magnet attached to it. This simple “invention” will gather all the nails that had fallen from the roof.

Pro tips

  • A safety system for working at heightIf you are to remove the old piles, choose a time when it is not planned to rain. But, anyway, prepare a tarp which will be convenient for covering the roof in case of a sudden downpour.
  • Do not worry about the nail holes that may make you sad – the new metal roof will cover all the nail holes left in the crate on the roof of the old shingles.
  • Be extremely careful while working on the roof. Wear safety ropes and belts to help you avoid fallings. Wear shoes with non-slip soles. Prefer to do works on the roof only when its surface is dry.
  • If you remove the tiles to insert a ventilation unit, you can simply break the one that you are replacing with the unit. Do it with a hammer to avoid damaging adjacent tiles. The remaining tiles will be easier to dismantle after the removal of the first one. Find a suitable replacement and slide the new tile in place by hooking under the upper row of tiles. Remove the previously supplied wedges (How to replace a broken roof tile)


Use only new nails to fix the roof. Remove the bad sections of the roof and replaced them with plywood lumber. Use a 4-inch screws to secure the boards to the studs of the roof. Inspect the entire roof area and make sure that all debris is removed and that there is no old nail taps is around – such a small thing can become a source for a very big leakage problem later.

Health care

Watch out for rusty nails or any other sharp debris that can cause cuts or tetanus. If you cut yourself with an old rusty nail, a wound should be treated immediately to avoid the spread of infection and contamination. It is best to consult a doctor.

Garbage disposal

After work, you will have a huge amount of construction waste roofing. Most municipalities and towns will allow you to rent large dumpsters. The cost varies depending on the location, but it is worth its cost.

We hope this article was useful for you in case you were searching for an answer to the question how to remove roof tiles before giving your roof a new look. 

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