Roofer Tools and Skills

Like all skilled labor, roofing requires a specific set of skills along with general tools and a few specialized tools. Gone are the days that your roofing contractor will show up with a single extension ladder and a hammer and shovel. Although they are still widely used, most professional roofing contractors today have a wide range of powered tools, and the required skills that make the job quicker, easier to get done, and give you a longer lasting roof to count on!

In this Roofing Tutor article, we’ll take a detailed look at the tools and skill required to be a roofer.

Roofer Tools

Roofers will use a variety of tools in the course of their duties which include removing old shingles from roofs, fixing damaged roof sheathing, fixing problems with flashing, applying tar paper to the roof deck, and installing flashing, shingles or other types of roofing material (wood shakes, slate, metal roofing, tile).  Some of the tools are those most contractors might use while others have specific application to roofing.  Here’s a list with a few notes:

General Tools

  • Sturdy extension ladder to access the roof.
  • Roof jacks: These are used on steep roofs to provide secure footing for the roofer.
  • Compressor: Used to supply air to pneumatic tools.
  • Generator: Used to supply electricity on job sites with no power.
  • Extension cords.
  • Hand Tools
  • Roofing shovel: Essential for removing old layers of shingles.
  • Flat bar: Useful for removing flashing or nails.
  • Roofing hammer: There are various styles for different types of roofing material.
  • Utility knife or shingle sheers: Used to cut tar paper or shingles.
  • Tin snips: Used for cutting flashing or drip edge.
  • Tool pouch: Holds tools and nails.
  • Carpenter’s Pencil: Has an extra-wide lead for making visible marks.
  • Tap Measure: Roofers make many measurements on the job.
  • Chalk Line: Used to mark lines for rows of shingles or to mark valleys.
  • Staple gun: Tar paper/underlayment is often held down with staples.
  • Speed square/Rafter angle square: Used for marking angle cuts on lumber.

Power Tools

  • Circular saw: Primarily for cutting roof sheathing material.
  • Nail gun: Pneumatic tool for nailing roof decking and shingles.
  • Drill: Required for fasteners on metal roofing and other types of roofing.
  • Power Ladder Elevator: To move the bundles of shingles onto the roof fast and easy.

Roofer Skills

We mentioned the tasks involved in roofing before we listed the tools needed to complete those tasks.  Here are the skills required to do the job.

  • Basic carpentry skills: Effectiveness with hand tools and power tools is essential in roofing.
  • Balance and a comfort with heights.
  • An appropriate sense of caution: Careless work can lead to slips, trips, falls and other injuries.
  • Basic math skills: These are required to determine how much material a roof needs.
  • Years of experience to know exactly what to do, where to cut and how to do the roofing job!

Finally, Matching the right tools to the right skills is the key to roofing success.  It takes time to develop the general use of tools required for roofing as well as the specific skills that make for a good roofer.  If you plan to hire a roofer, look for one with an experienced crew since they are the ones who will be doing the majority of the work.


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