How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof

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Carefully removing nails from metal roofing helps to prevent damage.
Carefully removing nails from metal roofing helps to prevent damage. (Image: nails image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com)

Metal roofing is often made from recyclable materials, many of which have an estimated lifespan of 50 years or more. Removing nails from this type of roof may present special circumstances. If the roof is aluminum or another type of soft metal, it can be easily dented or otherwise damaged. Walking on the roof may also cause some damage to the surface. If you are removing nails near the edge of the roof, pull the nails while standing on a ladder rather than while stepping on the roof itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Straight-claw hammer or flat bar
  • A block of 2x4 wood
  • Coffee can or other container

Start at the highest point of the roof and work downward. If you will be removing all of the nails from the roof, ensure the roof remains firmly in place in the areas where you will be standing. Loose roofing can give way under your feet, so use caution at all times when walking on it. Walk or stand only on those areas where the nails have not been removed.

Walk or stand only on those portions of the roof that have nails in place.
Walk or stand only on those portions of the roof that have nails in place. (Image: roof image by sanyal from Fotolia.com)

Use a straight-claw hammer or flat bar to remove the nails. Place the claw securely around the nail you want to pull. The head should be visible on the side of the claw that faces you. The neck should be between the bars of the claw.

Use a straight-claw hammer or flar bar to pull the nails.
Use a straight-claw hammer or flar bar to pull the nails. (Image: the hammer image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

Place the 2x4 block of wood under the fulcrum point of the hammer or flatbar. This is the point where the tool will exert pressure against the levering surface, when the nail is pulled from the roofing. The block will absorb the pressure when the tool is levered, minimizing damage to the surrounding metal. The block also provides a solid surface to lever against.

Use a 2x4 wood block to lever the tool against.
Use a 2x4 wood block to lever the tool against. (Image: metal bars and blocks at storage image by TekinT from Fotolia.com)

Lever the tool by pulling the handle toward you, keeping the pressure firmly against the wood block. For longer nails, exert downward pressure on the end of the hammer or flat bar. Continue pulling until the nail breaks free of the metal.

Place loose nails in the coffee can or any other appropriate container. This will ensure the nails do not end up in the yard or driveway. Used nails should be taken to your nearest recycling center or disposed of safely.

Take used nails to the nearest recycling center.
Take used nails to the nearest recycling center. (Image: recycling 3d image by Tomislav from Fotolia.com)

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References

  • Gerry Erlenbaugh, Contractor: Indianapolis, Indiana
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