How do you remove old cedar shingles?

Cedar Shingle Removal Tool

The first thing you need to know is that it’s not always necessary to completely tear down your home to get rid of cedar shake siding. You can just cut off the top layer of shake siding and leave it alone. If you want to make sure that you don’t damage your property or cause any problems, then you will have to take care of the rest of the shake siding.

It’s not an easy job to do and you must always consider safety first. It can be frustrating, but it can be done if you know what you’re doing. Don’t worry though, there are many tools and techniques that can help you do this job effectively and efficiently.

Here’s what you’ll need in order to get started:

You’ll also need a few tools such as a cedar shake scraper, utility knife, hammer and nails, work gloves, work boots, eye

A lot of people are also wondering if they can get rid of their cedar shake siding without the use of any tools at all. protection, ear protection and a safety helmet.

However, this isn’t a one-man job. You’ll need at least one helper to help you pull off the cedar shake siding. While it is true that you don’t really need any tools to help you with this project, it will require a lot of hard labor on your part.

Removing The Old Shingles

Now that you have your tools and materials, it’s time to start removing cedar shake siding. The process won’t be easy, but if you follow the proper steps, then you should be able to get it done.

How to Remove Cedar Shingles Without Tools.

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STEP 1. The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you’re completely ready before you start ripping the siding off the house.

The first thing you need to do is make sure it’s safe to go on your roof. Once you’re sure that there are no leaks, then it’s time to get yourself up on the roof. This includes having all of your necessary tools and safety gear.

You also need to check if there are any power lines near the area where you’ll be working. You should NEVER work on the roof by yourself. After you’re up there, make sure that you and your helper are tethered to the house so you don’t fall off.

You’ll also need to turn off your electricity. Check your breaker box to make sure that you didn’t miss any when you were inspecting the house. If you didn’t, then you need to shut it off.

If you live in an area that receives a lot of snow, then you need to make sure that the snow has been completely cleared from your roof. If it hasn’t, then you need to clear all of it before you go up.

Once you’ve done all of these things, then it’s time to start removing the cedar shake siding.

STEP 2. The first step is to start removing the shakes from the house. You and your helper need to start removing the ones near the bottom of the house first.

Use your hammer and nails to remove each one.

You should be careful not to hit the nails too hard or you risk having them shatter and getting wood splinters in your hand. Just wack it a few times and then pull. The wood should give way.

Remember to always wear your work gloves and safety glasses.

Once you’ve pulled off all of the shakes near the bottom, move on to the middle and finally the top. Again be careful of the nails and always use your gloves to prevent any cuts or scrapes.

Once you’ve removed all of the cedar shakes, it’s time to move onto the next phase of this project.

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STEP 3. The second step is to remove the cedar board underneath the shakes. Now some of these boards are going to be covered by the wooden shakes so you’re going to have to remove those first.

Doesn’t really matter in what order you do this in, just start at one end and work your way to the other. Just remember that you need to remove every board that’s covered by a wooden shake.

Again, use your hammer and nails to pry them up. Just take it slow and pull straight up with even pressure on each one. Make sure your gloves and safety glasses are still on.

When you’ve removed all of the boards that are covered by shakes, then it’s time to move onto the next step.

STEP 4. Now that you’ve removed all of the wood shakes, it’s time to remove the boards underneath them. Now these boards are usually just laid down loosely over the top of the window or door frame so they don’t need to be nailed in place.

They’re just sitting there so you need to just pry them up. Again, take it slow and make sure you lift straight up so you don’t snap the board.

Once you’ve lifted up on one side, the rest should be easy. You just need to grab it with your fingertips and pull it up. Again, just take your time.

Continue this process with every board until all of them have been removed. Again, be careful with the nails and always keep yourself safe.

STEP 5. Now that you’ve pulled up all of the boards, it’s time to remove the window or door frame. This is usually done with a flat bar of some sort and hammer.

You just place the bar underneath the window or door frame and start tapping it gently with your hammer. Work your way all the way around until you can lift the entire thing up.

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Always wear your safety gloves and glasses whenever you’re handling wood or have any kind of sharp object in your hands.

Once you’ve removed the window and door frame, it’s time to move onto the next step.

STEP 6. Now it’s time to start laying down the backer board and setting the windows and doors in place.

Start with the window frame first. Place the frame over the opening you’ve made for it and use your pencil and start tracing around the edges.

Next, take your flat bar and gently start to pry up the frame starting at the corners. Take your time with this as well. You don’t want to damage the wood.

Just gently start to lift it away from the house.

Once you’ve lifted one corner, the rest of it should be easy as you can use the flat bar as a lever and just pop the rest of it up.

Now that you’ve lifted it up off of the house just enough, you can take your hammer and nails and nail it in place. Always remember to wear your safety glasses when using any kind of power tool!

The next step is to go over to your scrap wood pile and grab the 2×4 scraps you have that are about 8-10 inches in length. These will be the jambs for your window.

These are what hold the window in place. You just place them in the opening on either side and then nail them into the top of the window frame.

Now you can go ahead and set your door into place as well. This process is the same as the window. Trace around it, pry it up with your flat bar and hold it in place with the jambs.

Finally, you can start to lay down the backer board. This is just like laying tile, but bigger. Start at the bottom and work your way up.

Remember to place cement board on top of the 2x4s you laid down earlier. Nail them in place and be sure to leave about a half inch gap from the floor around the frame so you can mud and tape.

Continue this process until the window and door are completely in place. When you’re finished the opening for the window or door should look something like this:

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Once you’ve finished the window and door, it’s time to set about doing the rest of the walls. I’ll let you figure those out on your own as this tutorial is getting quite long, but the process is exactly the same.

Once you’ve finished all of the walls, it’s time to move onto finishing.

You can either choose to paint the walls or apply bead board, or wainscot, or paneling, or wallpaper, or paneling, or just leave it bare (this is known as “rough stud” and is more time consuming to keep clean, but it’s also the cheapest). You can choose whatever your budget and taste allow.

I’m just going to leave you with this advice: be sure to use the correct tools for the job. If you’re tiling, don’t use a hammer. If you’re mudding and taping, don’t use a tile saw.

If you’re drywalling, don’t use a pencil. You get the idea.

I wish you much luck in your endeavors.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Your Fellow Craftsman,

Owen J.H. Nicholson

Sources & references used in this article: