The installation of a roof will require a number of tools and accessories, starting with the basics:
- Utility Knife: A utility knife can be your best friend when it comes to efficient, precise roof installation. As you may already be familiar with, a utility knife is used to cut roofing materials. For this purpose, it’s best to purchase a specialized utility knife made for roofers that functions with a knob to open the tool for added convenience.
- Tape Measure: For the utmost in accuracy in a roofing project, materials must be measured before being cut. Convenient tape measures with a rubber grip are recommended for use on a slippery roof. Most professional tape measures for construction use are retractable and offer an outside or inside read with the use of a hook to create a zero point.
- Hammer: Instead of using a basic hammer for roofing materials, we recommend a strike roofing hatchet designed specifically for roofers. This type of specialized hammer will feature a three hole gauge with a sliding blade and includes a steel head with hickory handle for added durability.
- Nails: Roofing nails can be purchased at your local hardware store. The type of nails that you buy will vary depending on the roofing materials used. For added longevity in a roofing project, most roofing nails are made of steel and are electro galvanized. Roofing nails come in a number of lengths, shapes, and sizes, making it important to determine exactly what nails you need for a specific roofing material prior to starting a project.
- Chalk Line: A chalk line is a must-have accessory to use as a reference to keep a row of shingles aligned during roof installation. Heavy-duty construction chalk lines are available at up to 100 feet, using a one-piece crank handle for operation. The average chalk line will hold up to one pound of chalk with an easy-grip shovel handle design for use.
But the fun doesn’t stop there – other basic to advanced roofing tools and accessories may be needed to complete a project, including:
- Ladder – For quick access to a roof.
- Tool Pouch – To hold all tools and accessories.
- Pencil or Marker – To make measurements on the fly.
- Screwdriver – Used to remove roofing screws from tin roofs.
- Pliers – Used to bend tin sheets for tin roofs.
- Speed Square – Used for cutting shingles.
- Shingle Sheers – Used for cutting shingles.
- Tin Snips – Used for cutting flashing and drip edges.
- Flat Bar – Used to remove flashing and pull nails.
- Roofing Shovel – Used to remove shingles and other roofing materials.
- Circular Saw – Used to cut in ridge vents.
- Wheel Barrow – Used for debris cleanup.
- Magnet – Used for quick nail cleanup.
- Roofing Jacks – Used on different roof pitches to make a walking surface level for safety purposes.
- Roofing Tarps – Used for cleanup and siding protection.
When using any of the roofing tools listed above, safety is of the utmost importance. We will go into detail on roof safety in a later chapter, but for now, make it a priority to read all manufacturers’ instructions before using a tool.
It’s critical to wear protective eyewear and work gloves when working with any type of roofing hand tool.
The basic roofing tool list above can serve as a guideline for any DIY roofer. As you become more advanced in roof construction or contract a roofer to do the job for you, you may come into contact with more specialized roofing equipment, like an automatic walk welder or hot-air hand tool.
Automatic walk welders are popular tools used among roofers since they make welding easy by rolling along straight seams while simultaneously applying pressure and heat. Most automatic walk welders include a digital display, a drive motor, a silicone-based pressure roller, and a guide bar for more steering control.
Hot-air hand tools can also be used for roof welding in corners or confined areas. A hot-air hand tool may include features like ergonomic design, heat production tubing to prevent burns, and an overlap or slot attachment to weld two overlapping pieces of metal together.
Now that you have residential roofing tool knowledge under your belt, so to speak, it’s time to move on to commercial roofing. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss the structure of a commercial roof, as well as the most popular commercial roof styles and roofing materials.