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What Does a Roofer Do?

Roofers are responsible for the construction, repair, and maintenance of residential and commercial roofs. They use a variety of materials to ensure that buildings are weatherproof and protected from structural damage, water leaks, and other issues. They also install insulation and other components to improve energy efficiency. Some roofers specialize in flat or low-slope roofs, while others work with slate, tile, and other specialty roofing materials. They may be employed by roofing contractors or construction companies, and they often travel between jobs.

While the primary responsibility of a roofer is to repair or build new roofs, they are also called upon to inspect existing roofs and make recommendations for improvements. In this role, they may identify damaged or aging areas of the roof, suggest repairs, and provide estimates for the cost of materials and labor. Roofers must be knowledgeable about the construction process, as well as the proper installation and care of a wide range of roofing materials.

The majority of roofers’ helpful resources work is completed on steep-sloped residential and commercial structures. Steep-sloped roofs rise 4 inches or more per horizontal foot and are covered in shingles or other granulated surface material. Most residential roofs are covered with shingles, while commercial roofs are typically coated in rubber or another membrane. Roofers may also be skilled in the construction of flat or low-slope roofs, using modified bitumen or built-up roofing (BUR) systems.

Some roofers are experienced in the construction of green or vegetative roofs, which integrate plants and other natural elements into building designs. These types of roofs are gaining popularity, as they offer environmental sustainability and can help reduce a building’s heating and cooling costs. The specialized knowledge required to construct and maintain these roofs requires extra training and certification.

Other roofers may focus on the waterproofing of masonry or concrete surfaces. These specialists prepare surfaces by chiseling and hammering away rough spots, then spray or paint the area with liquid waterproofing materials. They may also use tarps to cover structures, or seal joints and cracks with caulking or roofing cement.

Most roofers are members of trade unions, and as such, receive on-the-job training and wage increases throughout their careers. In addition to a reliable income, these wages can provide access to benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and opportunities for professional development.

Because this is a physically demanding job, roofers must follow strict safety protocols to prevent falls or other injuries. They are also exposed to harsh weather conditions that can affect their ability to complete outdoor tasks, so they must be flexible and able to adjust their schedules when necessary. They must also be comfortable working at heights and utilizing a variety of tools, including ladders, scaffolding, power tools, and hand tools like hammers or shears. The specialized nature of the job also makes it important for roofers to stay up-to-date on the latest roofing techniques and materials. This is why many roofers continue their education by participating in apprenticeship programs or enrolling in a formal roofing school.

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