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How to Remove Rolled Roofing

Cody Sorensen

Rolled roofing lasts for up to 12 years. When the roofing wears out, the underlying roof sheathing can be exposed to moisture. Moisture will rot and induce mold and mildew growth. Before installing new roofing, you must remove the old roofing. Rolled roofing contains small rocks and asphalt.

Rolled roofing is a composite of rock and asphalt.

This material tears easily, but the roofing nails holding it to the sheathing take a little extra effort.

  1. Pry up the outer edges of the rolled roofing with a flat pry bar. Stick the edge of the pry bar beneath the roofing nails and pry them up.

  2. Grab the loose edges of the roofing material and pull it up off the roof. It doesn't matter if the nails rip through. Pull up all of the roofing in this manner. Throw the roofing into a trash receptacle.

  3. Pull up all of the old roofing nails that continue to hold pieces of the asphalt roofing to the roof sheathing. Use a pry bar and a claw hammer to eject these nails. Toss the nails in the trash.

  4. Tip

    Rolled roofing should come off in large sheets when removed properly. Use a roofing shovel to rip up any pieces of roofing where roof cement was used to hold them down. Wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands.


    Be extremely careful when working on rooftops to avoid falling off.