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Removing an asphalt covered roof  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6690
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I started tearing this roof off, at about 4 p.m.. Finished removing all sheathing and shingles before dark.

When the wood beneath is of no value, the most expedient way to remove a roof is to slice the sheeting and asphalt together, and then pry it off in big slabs. I've done roofs where I tore off the shingles and then the lower material. And I've done it where I just started at the peak and pryed the material off, without cutting. It's doable, but requires much more skill and strength. The method shown in my pictures, will work for just about anyone who can operate a circular saw, a pry bar, and a 2x4 pry stick.

It's best to remove a strip along the peak, so that you can clearly see the spaces between the rafters, before cutting. When cutting across the rafters, set the saw only slightly below the surface of the sheathing. Always start removing your slabs at the top, so that you have a walkway. Wear gloves that don't have a lot of holes in them. Nails can catch in those holes, so that when you throw a big slab, it takes you with it. I roll most of mine, so that this isn't an issue.
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Jarret Hynd
Posts: 42
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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It's certainly a time-saver. I've been taking apart a dilapidated barn this summer and have been using similar techniques which makes life a lot easier. 

One other advantage of keeping the roof in large pieces is that there is less small debris to clean up from the area afterwards.

A short-story: I was at the landfill one time and a guy came along who had just taken apart his roof shingle by shingle. He was an older fellow and he had a full truck of it, so I went and gave him a hand. Afterwards, he lifted his tailgate and a few nails came out. He used his shovel against the ground picking up those that had fallen. He then said "Looks like I got most of em". Luckily I had a long bar magnet in my car that I use myself on occasion with demolition; such as dropping bits in the grass etc. After about 2 minutes of scanning the ground, I had picked up about 50+ shingle nails that had fallen and were hidden in the dirt and gravel. He had the most embarrassed look on his face, and probably for good reason as I'm sure he'd have been liable for all the flat tires of the people that came later that day.

 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Sounds like that fellow had a lot of time on his hands.

When a roof is too steep to walk on comfortably, the rest of the work can be done from inside the attic. A sledgehammer or length of 2 x 6 can be used as a punch. I like to open things up at the peak and at opposite ends of the lower roof, so that the roof ventilates really well and doesn't get too hot.

The attic of this house had been full of vermiculite which contained trace amounts of asbestos. It was all removed, prior to my arrival, and then the wood was cleaned really well. The cleanest attic I've ever worked in. Still, I wore my asbestos mask, since I made plenty of regular dust.

Some really nice lumber was salvaged.
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