Roof Tear Off: Everything You Need to Know

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Roof Tear Off: Everything You Need to Know

Roof Tear Off: Everything You Need to Know

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The first step in a roof replacement is the dirtiest, noisest and the most dangerous. Yep, we are talking about tearing off your roof.

Roof tear-offs can be intimidating at first glance, but don’t worry!

In this article, we break down EVERYTHING for you, from the costs, what the roofing company will do, and the best materials to use for your home.

roof tear off

What Is a Roof Tear Off and What Does It Do?

The tear-off process is simple: It’s when a roofing company will tear off your entire old roof and all its shingles, clean your old roof decking, and then perform a roof replacement.

If you don’t tear up the old roof, you may have problems with the additional weight on top of your roof as well as never knowing where a leak is because you have too many roofing layers on the roof.


roof tear off single family


When Is It Time for a Roof Replacement?

Do you need to have your roof replaced the moment it starts leaking?

Not really.

It usually needs a little repair when your roof leaks once, not the entire tear-off roof replacement process.

So if a roof that leaks once isn’t a sign for a tear-off, when is it time for one?

Here are the signs:

It Has Reached 80 to 85% Of Its Lifespan

Professional roofers recommend that you have your roof replaced around this time. It’s never a good idea to wait out the entire roof lifetime before replacing it.

You never know when disaster will strike and damage your poor old roof. You want to have your old roof replaced BEFORE it starts to fail you.

For example, for asphalt shingles roof owners, this is when your roof is about 20 years old.

An asphalt shingles roof has a lifetime of 25 years, so it’s best to start the roof replacement process by the 20th year.

tear off the roof

Your Roof Is Severely Damaged

If a super typhoon hit your area and left your old shingles damaged beyond repair, you need to replace them as soon as you can.

But sometimes, you don’t need one big typhoon tearing your roof down.

If you live in an area where frequent storms occur, your roof’s normal wear and tear will be sped up.

Keep an eye out for your own roof and inspect the quality regularly!

If you spot a shingle falling off, your roof probably needs replacing. Give your roof contractor a call!


Your Existing Roof Has Started to Fail

A little leak isn’t a sign of roof failure and the need for roof replacement.

However, sometimes there are mistakes in the roof installation process that will cause your existing roof to fail early.

Usually, these factors are either improper roof installation or not having enough ventilation in the attic.

A poorly ventilated attic will trap heat or cold, depending on the temperature of where you live, and significantly cut down the lifetime of your roof.

Meanwhile, if you find a shingle or two falling off your roof before the 20-year mark, it’s probably because of improper roof installation.

You’ll need to contact a contractor immediately for a roof replacement.



The Roof Tear-off Process

Here’s what your roof contractor will do, from tearing the old roof to cleaning and preparing it, down to replacing it with a new one:

Step 1: Protect the Surroundings

Doing a tear-off roof process means your old roof will all come off and possibly fall to the ground, so you will need to protect the perimeter of your property that might catch the roofing materials and roofing debris.

Your roofing contractor will set up protective tarps all around the surrounding area of your property, and it will also be helpful to keep a big trash container nearby.


Step 2: Tearing Off Your Roof

After setting up, your roofing contractor will remove your old roof, including loose nails and old shingles. The roofing company usually sends a team of 3 to 4 people.

To do this, the contractor will use the duck foot. The duck foot has teeth on its end and has a big bend in its neck.

The roofing contractor might also use shingle rakes or pitchforks.

This equipment help tears off roof shingles, staples, and all the other roofing material that needs to be taken off.

Sides of a Roofing Contractor

Then, if your roofing contractor is right-handed, they start from the left side. If they are left-handed, they will start on the right side. Then they follow a pattern to tear off roof material.

Your roofing contractor will start the roof tear-off process from the point that is the farthest area in the back of the house.


How Many People Work During the Process?

The roofers also work in teams of 2.

As one contractor takes off the old shingles using the shovel, another contractor gathers and stacks every shingle removed so they won’t fall off to the ground.

But a roof tear-off is tiring, so the two roofers usually switch and take turns on their tasks to even the load.

And then, there’s another contractor that is tasked to move the old shingles to the closest place that he can to the trash container.

Sometimes, the ropes and harnesses that keep the roofers safe are too short to cross to the nearest trash can.

So what happens is they will need to pass the layer of shingles off to another contractor, who will then dispose of it in the trash can.


Step 3: Tidying up the Roofing Debris

After the tear-off of all the roofing shingles, the roofers will remove all the remaining broken shingles, shingle granules, nails from the roof decking, and the rest of the old roof debris before your new roof can be installed.

Depending on the decking material used, your contractor might pull out the nails or hammer the nails down into the deck.

This ensures that none of the nails will stick up and get in the way of the new underlayment after the tearing off.

When all the roof decking debris has been cleared off your roof, your roof contractors will also tidy up the roof itself, the roof gutters, and then down to your property on the ground.


Step 4: Roof Replacement

Once everything is cleared up, your roof contractors will work on replacing your old roof by having a brand new roof installed.

Your roof tearing team will also be the same ones who will have your new roof installed!



How Much Will a Roof Replacement Cost Me?

On average, replacing roofs cost about $8000. The cost ranges from $5500 at the cheapest to about $11000.

The biggest factors that come into play in the total cost are the new roof material you will use to replace the old one and the square foot of your house or property.

If you suspect that your roofs will need replacement in the next few years, you should probably save money as early as now (especially if the square foot is big).



What Should I Replace My Roof With? Asphalt, Clay, or Metal Roof?

Here are a couple of factors to consider:


Using metal for your new roof will cost you about double or triple the cost of asphalt as your new roof. And if you need to replace a roof with a bigger square foot, you’ll shell out quite a lot.

However, asphalt roofing will require more maintenance and have a shorter lifespan, so you’ll need to replace it more frequently.



Colder climates will benefit from metal roofs since they are more durable in quality and protect from ice and water.

Metal will also be able to retain heat better, making your house warmer and letting you save on electricity bills!

Meanwhile, clay tile roofs are better if you live in warmer climates. Clay tiles will let air flow more, making your house cooler.



How Long Will the Entire Roof Tear-off Process Take?

The entire tearing and replacement process can take as fast as just 1 day!

Most groups of contractors will tear off one layer of shingles after another, one by one.

Sometimes, they can tear off the shingles two by two to save even more time or if the square foot is bigger.




Tearing off and replacing your roof may be costly (especially one with a big square foot), but it is a big and necessary investment to make as a homeowner.

And it may be intimidating at first, but now that you know everything from the tear-off process to the best materials for your home and the estimated costs, you can confidently prepare for one!

Ready for a tear-off and replacement? Get in touch with a contractor today!

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