How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof

Written by randa morris
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How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof
Carefully removing nails from metal roofing helps to prevent damage. (nails image by Witold Krasowski from

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 aluminium 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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

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

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  1. 1

    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.

    How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof
    Walk or stand only on those portions of the roof that have nails in place. (roof image by sanyal from
  2. 2

    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.

    How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof
    Use a straight-claw hammer or flar bar to pull the nails. (the hammer image by Jim Mills from
  3. 3

    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, minimising damage to the surrounding metal. The block also provides a solid surface to lever against.

    How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof
    Use a 2x4 wood block to lever the tool against. (metal bars and blocks at storage image by TekinT from
  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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 centre or disposed of safely.

    How to Easily Remove Roof Nails From a Metal Roof
    Take used nails to the nearest recycling centre. (recycling 3d image by Tomislav from

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