How to Become a Roofer

Roofers are vital to keeping the inside of structures like homes, hospitals and businesses warm and dry. This rewarding, yet physically challenging career is suited for people who are detail-oriented, enjoy thrills and challenges throughout their day and like climbing up to high heights. There are many ways to become a roofer, from going to trade school and earning an apprenticeship to getting a job with a roofing company as an entry-level roofer.

A roofer inspects, installs and repairs roofs using a variety of materials. In addition to these main tasks, they might also install skylights or repair the structure of a roof by replacing shingles, EPDM or metal panels. They must be able to identify problems with the roofing material and make necessary repairs.

They also use a variety of tools, such as shovels, rakes, hammers, shears, tin snips and power equipment like grinders, sanders and electric tools. Since roofers work at heights, they must be able to follow safety protocols and use fall protection equipment, such as harnesses.

If a Roofer works on a commercial or industrial site, they may also use a boom lift, forklift or crane. To do their jobs, they also must be knowledgeable of all applicable building codes and requirements. Additionally, roofers need to have strong organizational skills and be able to manage their supplies and inventory, as well as schedule jobs and plan marketing activities.

Whether they are working on new construction or repairing existing roofs, most roofers spend about 80% of their time on the job climbing up and down ladders. They start each day with a five-minute safety talk, and must check the weather before heading up to the roof. When they are on the roof, they will rip off old roofing material and dispose of it, then lay down new tar paper or shingles and caulk all open seams. If the roof is low to the ground, they can simply walk on it, but if it is higher up a boom lift or forklift, called a telehandler, may be used.

When they are off the roof, a lot of their time is spent in meetings with owners or salespeople at the company they work for, as well as planning the next jobs. They also must keep up with training and supply their team members with all of the necessary safety gear.

Roofers often work in harsh environments, such as extreme heat or cold, rain or snow. They have an excellent attention to detail and must be able to solve problems quickly. They are logical individuals who are independent, stable and persistent, as well as thrifty and practical. If this sounds like you, take our free career test to see if roofer is one of your top careers matches.

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