If you’re going to work as a roofer or start your own roofing business, you’re going to need a wide range of tools. And of course, you want the best roofing tools, so they’re not only right for the job but are going to last as well. But, as you can probably guess, that’s going to come with a hefty price tag.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll be wanting to know which are the most important tools to get and which you can leave till later. In a moment, we’re going to share exactly that — the best roofing tools and equipment for a robust yet good value-for-money roofing toolkit. But before we take a deeper dive into roofing tools, let’s look at some basics about roofing to help you understand why each of these tools are needed.
The most popular kinds of roofing
There likely isn’t a definitive list of all the various types of roofing, but here are several options that we consider the best, from traditional to newer types that are growing in popularity:
- Asphalt shingles: They’re most common because they do well in almost all environments
- Slate: This lasts more than a century, is waterproof, and is resistant to fire, however, it’s expensive, heavy, and brittle (so can be broken by bad hail storms)
- Clay or concrete tiles: They’re highly resistant to strong winds, even from hurricanes and tornadoes, and good in warmer, drier climates, however, like slate, they’re prone to breaking under pressure (even from being walked on during routine maintenance)
- Stone-coated steel: This is highly resistant to the effects of rain, strong winds, freeze/thaw cycles, and fire
- Metal: This is durable and resistant to the effects of rain, wind, fire, and hail, but it’s noisy during heavy rain and it can be dented by bad hail events
- Rubber slate: It looks natural and lasts over 100 years, but is susceptible to hail damage
- Green roofs: These are covered with plants so look amazing, provide insulation, and reduce water runoff, but they’re heavy so require more structural support, and they need other features that add to their expense — plus they typically only last about 40 years
- Solar tiles: Not the same as solar panels, these are tiles that fit in with the existing roof and help generate energy, saving on energy costs — they can be expensive and prone to hail damage
Hopefully that gives you an idea of why roofers need so many different tools!
The best roofing tools and accessories
Because of the many different kinds of roofs, there are several categories of roofing tools, and then there are many subcategories. For example, there are tear-off tools, shingle removal tools, metal roofing bending tools, tools for cutting metal roofing, measuring tools, inspection tools, and repair tools. And amid all of that, you have hand tools, power tools, and even some unique, specialty roofing tools.
There’s no need to become an expert in all these kinds of roofing, in fact, you’ll make more money if you specialize, so we’re not going to give you an exhaustive list of all the tools you could ever want. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of 26 essential items, and we’re grouping them into broader categories that we hope are easier for you to navigate.
Hammers and other roofing tools with a wide utility
- Roofing hammers: You need a reliable hammer that’s precise and efficient. A nice option is a hammer with a fiberglass handle; this provides a nice balance or sturdiness and weight savings. Also, go with hammers that have rubber-coated grips for better handling.
- Nail guns: Installing or repairing a roof can consume hours and hours, so you want a nail gun that is relatively lightweight and efficient. Whatever nail gun or guns you use, make sure you know which sizes are best so that you avoid wasting time or materials due to double-nailing and jamming.
- Cordless drill: Not all fasteners are nails. In those cases, a powerful cordless drill that holds a charge for a long time is indispensable.
- Utility knife: this hand roofing tool is essential for trimming shingles, placing gutters, and more. It’s also lightweight and easy to handle.
- Roofing hatchet: A sharp side (hatchet) helps you lift shingles, and a flat side is good for pounding nails in.
- Tape measure: Tape measures are important tools for all kinds of trades and hobbies. In roofing, look for tape measures that cover the lengths you will be working with and have durable coating and good grip.
- Shovel for shingle removal: This is a specialized shovel that removes shingles and nails alike.
- Shingle ripper: If there are shingles too stubborn for your shovel, this tool will get the job done.
- Pry bar: Like a roofing-specialized crowbar, a pry bar is adept at removing nails and different parts of a roof.
- Hammer tacker: When attaching roofing paper to wood prior to shingling, this tool makes securing roofing paper much easier.
- Tin snips: Working on a metal roof or with metal components means sometimes having to cut metal. Tin snips make the job easier.
- Caulking gun: Use this to apply sealers to places where leaks might be a concern.
- Ladder: Maybe it goes without saying, but you need a sturdy ladder that can help you reach and get atop any roof you might be working on in your area.
- Ladder hooks: Having a ladder reach where you need it to go is important, yes, but you also need a way to keep it in place.
- Wheelbarrow: Once you remove old shingles and nails and other objects, you need a convenient way to get rid of them!
- Framing square: Cutting shingles to the exact size and shape you need is so much easier with this tool.
- Basic toolkit: You probably have a basic kit in your car or truck, and you should have one for roofing jobs as well. Just because roofing is specialized work doesn’t mean basic tools aren’t sometimes just what you need.
- Magnetic sweeper: This can help you locate unwanted nails in need of removal.
- Chalk line kit: This tool helps you make sure everything is lined up perfectly.
- Broom: Roofing almost always leaves a mess that needs cleaning up. Make sure you can!
Protective clothing and safety equipment
- Safety harness: Roofers work in high places. Falls can be catastrophic. Roofing harnesses prevent you from falling to the ground in case you slip.
- Gloves: Protect your hands from the elements and the materials you work with by using professional work gloves with grip, good protection, and breathability.
- Roofing shoes: Working on a roof means working with and around sharp objects such as nails that can puncture most shoe soles. Having work boots with strong grip and great protection is essential.
- Hard hat: Falling objects and projectiles are always a risk when working in roofing. Get a “brain bucket” that fits you well, doesn’t restrict visibility, and offers solid protection.
- Eye protection: Industry-grade goggles and glasses will help protect your eyes from projectiles, including nails, and other debris. The best eyewear also incorporates UV protection since you’ll often be working in direct sun.
- Software among the best roofing tools needed? Actually, yes! Field services management software helps with estimating, invoicing, scheduling, accounting, and more, cutting your admin time to a fraction of the usual amount. There are a lot of programs out there, and some do more than others, so we encourage you to give Optsy a try — it really does do it all and it’s specifically designed for businesses that operate ‘in the field’ at other people’s homes and offices, businesses like roofers. Scheduling a demonstration is completely free, so you’ve got nothing to lose and hours of time to gain. Schedule your obligation-free demo now.