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13 Most Common Roofing Tools

13 Most Common Roofing Tools

Roofing can be a dangerous profession. There are many factors that contribute to the hazards. The heights, seasonal weather, daily conditions and slippery surfaces can all cause a problem. When the roofer isn’t using proper roofing tools designed for the job, it can become a safety issue.

One way to reduce the chances of injury is the use of proper equipment and tools designed for the specific task. It also increases efficiency if the roofer isn’t trying to find something that will “get them by”. There are several common roofing tools that most roofers should be proficient in using. Many of these tools have more than one use in the installation, repair and demolition of roofs.


There are several basic hand tools that are in every roofer’s toolbox:

  • A roofing hammer is a must in every roofing professional’s arsenal. This handy and versatile tool will have one end dedicated solely to setting nails. The other end is a hatchet designed to split shakes or shingles. Some hammers will have gauges or even levels built into them.
  • Roofing knives with holsters are one of those tools that have multiple uses. These knives are made to cut shingles but are useful for most applications. They can step in when a regular utility knife would normally be used.
    • An angled roofing knife helps reach areas that is difficult for a straight handled blade to reach. It may also be easier on the hands during long periods of use.
  • A retractable steel tape measure is something everyone needs, not just roofing professionals. There is not a lot of explanation needed for this toolbox necessity.
  • Plumb line and chalk line are toolbox staples. Used in conjunction with the tape measure, they improve the accuracy of roof installation. The plumb line will allow you to set up accurate reference points for setting the chalk lines. The chalk line then marks the layout lines for installation.
  • An air knife makes the cutting of shingles a much quicker and less labor-intensive job. They quickly slice through most types of shingles with ease. This does require an air compressor to power it.
  • A hammer stapler is the most efficient way to affix roofing staples to thicker roofing materials.  It is similar to a nail gun but uses the heavy , non-rusting staples instead. (This is another tool that requires the air compressor.)
    • Smaller, manual staplers are also on the market. They work well for the lighter jobs.

Repair and Removal

Many of the tools used for removing old roofing materials are designed with a single purpose in mind. Others such as the pry bar are multi-use.

  • A pry bar is invaluable in pulling up roofing materials. A roofer who regularly removes and replaces roofs will most likely have several pry bars. They make use of differing lengths and strengths for the various jobs.
  • Shingle removers come in various forms. Handheld or push broom versions with handles of three to four feet long are useful for smaller tasks. The larger mechanical removers are used for the big, tough jobs.
  • Shingle saws are also found in both handheld and mechanical versions. There are many saws designed to cut and shape various styles and thicknesses of shingles. The saw and blade should each be chosen based on the shingle material being cut.
  • Roofing hatchets come in different forms and with or without various features. Many are magnetic, some have gauges, claws, lights, etc. The needs of the particular job will determine which hatchet will be the most useful at the time.
  • Seam rollers are another tool that offer different choices. The rollers themselves are rubber or steel. There are smaller handheld models for the little repair jobs. The longer handled models are perfect for the bigger assignments.
  • Roofing shovels aid in tearing up shingles and pushing them out of the way. They should also safely remove the nails that attached the old shingles to the roof. A clear surface with no nails or old roofing debris is the goal. Several blade variations are possible with smooth and serrated being the most common. The serrated blade ensures each old nail gets pulled up and disposed of.
  • A magnetic sweeper is helpful especially during cleanup. Their powerful magnets pick up metal shavings or debris along with any dropped nails.

This list is just a start to what tools a roofer might use. Learn more about roofing tools along with proper roof care and maintenance and ways to eliminate ponding water, contact the professionals at RoofSlope.

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