How to Remove a Nailed Down, Overlapping Roof Tile

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Proper maintenance of a property's roof is essential to keep the property free from leaks. Leaks, if not dealt with quickly, can cause extensive damage to the structure of the roof, especially if you live in a rainy climate. While some roof tiles are not nailed—or only partially nailed—other roofs can have nails securing every tile on the roof. Let's look at the proper procedure for removing a nailed down overlapping roof tile.


You will need to have a pry bar for this job. A pry bar is a short piece of metal, with two flat ends that features a V shape cut into them. One of the ends is curved into an angle of around ninety degrees. Don't be tempted to use a crowbar, as you won't be able to remove the nails with this.

On the Roof

Always work with your own personal safety at the front of your mind. Avoid making quick movements while on the roof, and remain alert; falls around the home is the number one reason why people end up in hospital.

Locate the Tile

Once you have located the tile, you will need to examine which other two tiles overlap the damaged tile, as you will need to remove these too. All three will be nailed in place, so you will have to know the technique to remove the nails.

Slip in the Pry Bar

When you have identified the two tiles that need to be removed before you can access the broken tile, slip the pry bar under one of them. There is a curve in the body of the pry bar, meaning that when you push down on it, the other end rises. Use this motion to raise the tile a little.

Then, use your fingers to hold the tile, and look underneath the tile to locate the nail. Slip the V shape of the pry bar into the nail, and push down on the other end of the bar to remove it. Then, nudge the tile back, using the pry bar, so it moves away from the damaged tile. Repeat this technique to remove the second tile. This will allow you to use the same technique on the damaged tile, allowing you to remove it.

With a little effort, it is possible to raise the tile and remove the nail at the same time, in one motion. You can also adjust the curve in the pry bar, if you need to, by hammering lightly on either side of the pry bar itself; this will either increase or decrease the amount of curve, and create the capacity to raise the tiles easily. For more tips or assistance, contact companies like K.G.D. Roofing Pty Ltd.