Roofing 101: 2 Tips for Stripping Shingles Safely

When the time comes to replace a roof, the first step is to strip away the old shingles. Though the process is pretty straightforward, many people end up hurting either themselves or damaging their roof because they've failed to understand some basic safety protocols. This article, then, is designed to teach amateur roofers two important tips for getting the job done safely.

Tip #1: Proceed from the top down.

When putting new shingles on, you always begin at the bottom and proceed upward. But when taking old shingles off, you do just the opposite—and for good reason. You see, starting removal at the top and working your way down has two main advantages.

First of all, it makes things that much faster. Once you've taken off the ridge cap at the apex of your roof, you'll have perfect access to the top row of shingles. And because the top side of a shingle is where all the nails are located, attacking from this angle will make it much easier to pop shingles free with your shingle scraper.

The second advantage is all about safety. Think about it: by starting at the top, you won't have to worry about all of those dislodged shingles cascading down around you. Though they probably wouldn't knock you down, they could easily cause you to slip and fall if they got under foot. Starting the job at the top of the roof means you'll have good stable footing the whole time you're working.

Tip #2: Purchase or borrow a set of roof jacks.

There's no secret about it: as roofs get steeper, they get a lot more dangerous, too—and not just for the people working on them, but for anyone standing below, as well! That's because steep roofs make it a lot harder to keep tools and supplies where you need them. Luckily, there's a surefire way to keep both you and your hammer from taking a dangerous plunge: roof jacks.

Roof jacks are special metal braces that are temporarily secured to the roof by means of nails. Once two or more roof jacks have been installed in a line, boards are laid down on top of them, thus providing a foundation stable enough to support you and your supplies.

For people with especially large roofs, it may be worth the investment to put in two rows of roof jacks, each at a different level. This will offer a much greater degree of coverage and stability.

But before you head to the store, it's a good idea to calculate the pitch of your roof. You see, the cheapest option—fixed jacks—are designed to work with a certain pitch of roof. Buying the wrong jacks means you won't have a level surface. If you've got any doubts, pay a little bit more for a set of adjustable jacks, which can be altered depending on the pitch of a specific roof. If you would rather have a professional take care of removing the shingles for you, consider calling a representative from Rippy's Roofing & Construction.