What Are the Different Types of Roofer Jobs?

Lori Kilchermann

There are several types of roofer jobs, ranging from estimating the work to the actual installation of the roofing materials. Tile removers, shingle installers and tar applicators are some of the different roofer jobs common on most roofing job sites. On some types of rubber roofs, one of the most tiring of all roofer jobs is spreading the pea stone, while some green roofing systems have workers who lay sod over a waterproof membrane placed on the roof.

A roofer is responsible for the installation and repair of roof shinges.
A roofer is responsible for the installation and repair of roof shinges.

One of the most critical of all roofer jobs is that of a job estimator. This person, commonly also a crew foreman, meets with a potential customer and provides an estimate on the price of a new roof. If the estimate is too high, the job may be lost to another roofing company and if the estimate is too low, the job may not show a profit or the homeowner may become angry at a much higher final bill than the estimated cost. Since the estimator is usually the first person the customer actually meets with, the prices of all of the different materials, as well as colors, features and warranty information must be clearly understood by the estimator to provide the proper information to the customer.

Roofing often requires working on steep slopes.
Roofing often requires working on steep slopes.

On some roofs, the entire existing roof must be removed. This type of job is given to the tear off crew. These roofer jobs include not only the removal of the old shingles, tiles or metal roofing materials, the roof material itself, typically plywood must be removed down to the exposed rafters. The roof is commonly rebuilt by crews with more carpentry experience. Once the roof has been reconstructed, it is covered with felt paper and then shingles, tiles or metal sheets by the actual roofers. This is commonly accomplished with the aid of air-powered nail guns instead of the older hammer and nail method.

Some roofers lay sod over a waterproof membrane to create a green roof.
Some roofers lay sod over a waterproof membrane to create a green roof.

Some of the more involved commercial roofer jobs are the rubber roof jobs. This type of job will often require a specialized crew that removes the pea stone used to hold the roof down. Aftre the stone has been completely removed, the old roof is lifted off of the building and tossed into a trailer for recycling. Workers with roofer jobs, such as applicators and fitters, cut and glue sheets of rubber to the roof making sure to fit the rubber tightly to all of the roof features that can be chimneys, vents and antennas. Once applied and properly fitted, a tar crew will mop hot tar over all of the seams.

Workers responsible for rebuilding roofs are often skilled in carpentry.
Workers responsible for rebuilding roofs are often skilled in carpentry.
A roofer might work with sheet metal roofing.
A roofer might work with sheet metal roofing.
On some occasions, an entire roof needs to be removed and replaced.
On some occasions, an entire roof needs to be removed and replaced.
Tar paper applicators are among workers found on roof jobs.
Tar paper applicators are among workers found on roof jobs.

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Discussion Comments

Feryll

I have a great deal of respect for roofers. As @Drentel mentioned, working on a roof in the summer can be a hot and sweaty job. My biggest issue with being the guy putting the roof on is that some roofs have steep slants that make them pretty dangerous when you are moving about on them.

I saw a survey in a magazine that said that roofing was one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs a person can have.

Drentel

When I was in high school, my dad got me a job helping a friend of his who built houses and did repairs and additions on houses. One of my jobs was to remove the old shingles off the house when the guy was putting new ones on. He never trusted me enough to actually put on the shingles, but I got to be very good at tearing them off.

With more people switching to metal roof, I'm glad I didn't choose to stick with shingle removal as a career. A couple days on a roof when the temperatures are in the upper 90s is enough to make anyone want to find another job.

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