If you're getting a new asphalt shingle roof, your roofer may want to tear off your old roof first. In some cases, a new roof can be put over an old one, but not always. Here's when a residential roof tear-off is needed and an overview of how it's done.
When A Residential Roof Tear-Off Is Needed
Even if your old roof is in good shape, your roofer may not recommend putting new shingles on top of the old roofing. Your roof will probably last longer and perform better if it is placed flat on the deck rather than on old shingles. However, there are times when a tear-off has to be done. If your home has two roofing layers already, a third one can't be added due to the combined weight of all the roofing. In that case, both old layers of roofing have to be torn off.
If the old shingles are curled or have a lot of damage, it's usually better to tear them off rather than cover them. Also, if your roof has a lot of moisture damage, the old roof needs to come off so the wet and rotted part of the deck can be removed. Plus, when the roofer takes off the old shingles, it's much easier to see damage to the deck so bad areas won't be covered up and cause your roof to fail sooner than it should.
How A Residential Roof Tear-Off Is Done
A roof tear-off starts at the top and works toward the bottom. It's easier to pull the nails off that way since the shingles are layered on top of each other. A roofer uses a roofing tool made to lift the shingles and pull out nails at the same time. Scraping off the shingles can go fairly fast, but the roofer has to keep the area tidy at the same time, or shingles and nails could fly off of the roof and make a mess on your property.
The roofer may have a system where one worker scrapes and lifts the shingles and a second worker stacks the shingles and throws them into the dumpster so the work area and your yard stay tidy. The roofer might even put tarps down around the outside of your house to catch stray debris so clean-up is easier when they're finished.
Once all the shingles are off, the roofer walks the roof to look for the remaining nails so they can be removed. The roof should be clean of all debris and ready to have the underlayment and new shingles put on. For more information on a residential roof tear-off, contact a professional near you.