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Best Roofer’s Tools Guide

Best Roofer's Tools

Roofers need a range of tools in order to get the job done. At Wonkee Donkee we have spoken with a team of professional roofers to come up with a complete guide on the best roofer’s tools!

Standard Saw

One of the most common jobs you will perform as a roofer is replacing old or rotten timber, so having a standard Hand Saw is absolutely essential. Power saws may seem like the more effective option but you can complete most small cutting jobs quicker than it takes to run an extension cord from the mains and find the power tool.

Extension Ladder (3 part)

Extension ladders provide access to high areas. A good quality ladder should be strong and lightweight. They can be extended for full reach or they slide together for compact storage. Purchase a three part extension ladder as this will have enough height to get you up above most house gutter lines.

Extension Ladder (2 part with ridge hooks)

Purchase a two part ladder with ridge hooks. On the other side of the hooks are wheels that can be used to roll the ladder up the roof where you can turn it over and secure the hooks over the ridge. The three part extension ladder will get you up the side of the house but the two part extension ladder will take you up the tiles and to the ridge.

Claw Hammer

No roofer should be without at least a few hammers in his toolbox and the claw hammer should be at the top of that box. They are heavy enough to sink a nail in one hit and can also be used for digging out nails with the claw end. Practically indestructible and will last a lifetime if looked after.

Lump Hammer

Lump hammers weigh typically between 1-2kg (2.2 -4.4lb) and are ideal for general purpose use. They are heavy enough to be used in demolition work and light enough for knocking in the occasional nail. They are most often used in combination with your brick bolster.

Brick Bolster

The brick bolster is a type of cold chisel with a wide cutting edge which makes it ideal for splitting and cutting bricks to size.

Retractable Trimming Knife

This handy little knife can slice through paper, plastic, string, roofing felt and even metal wire. It will also keep your pencils sharp. Make sure you get one with an easy to replace blade as the chances are it will get gummed up pretty quickly with roofing tar. Fits inside a pocket or on tool belt for easy access.

Pencil or Marker

You will need a pencil for all kinds of marking and measuring tasks. They fit snugly behind an ear. 

Tape Measure

A simple tape measure will be ideal for most jobs but you will want at least an 8 metre (26 feet) tape so that you can lay out new roofing.

Speed Square

The speed square is made from extra thick plastic that can withstand heavy-duty use. You can mark angles with it; rule lines; measure length and pre-existing angles. A thoroughly useful tool in all areas of roofing.

Slate Cutting Axe

This specially designed axe, is used for cutting roof slates to size. The blade has a side spike incorporated into it for punching nail holes in slates.

Tin Snips

Every roofer should have a pair of tin snips as they are used for lots of different jobs such as cutting lead flashing or plastic panel ventilators and for all manner of metal cutting.

Slater's Ripper

A slater’s ripper is an essential tool which allows you to reach under roofing slates and pull out or shear fixing nails and thus remove broken slates.   

Dressing Stick

Dressing sticks are used to form lead flashing into particular shapes on roofs and lead topped bay windows. They are typically made from hardwood for longevity and durability.

Slate Hammer

The slate hammer has a sharp pick at one end for punching holes in slate and a rectangular blunt striking end. It also has a handy claw on the side for prying nails.

Chalk Line

Chalk lines are used to mark out long straight lines on flat surfaces. You will want a good quality heavy duty line as cheaper ones may snap.

Pry Bar

A pry bar is a useful tool in the roofing industry as it has multiple uses including pulling out nails, demolition work and prying off roof slates.

Tarpaulin

Tarpaulins can be used to keep your timber dry when parts of the roof are exposed to the elements between repairs. A must have tool.

Bucket

The simple bucket has multiple purposes. You can use them to carry fluids, mix mortar, lug bricks and even some rough measuring tasks. Purchasing a heavy-duty hard plastic bucket is advisable for durability.

Tool Belt

Every roofer needs a tool belt to keep all the copper nails and small tools to hand, otherwise you will be forever climbing up and down your ladder retrieving things from your toolbox.

Knee Pads

These handy pads will protect your knees from wear and tear. They will also protect you from stray nails and other sharp objects.

Skeleton Gun

The skeleton gun is used to apply caulks and adhesives quickly, accurately and without mess. You will need one of these for many roofing jobs.

Staple Gun

Staple guns are handy tools that can dispense heavy duty staples quickly and accurately. They are particularly handy when laying and securing your breathable membranes.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is designed for making straight cuts through timber. A variety of different blades means it can be used on masonary, plastic, and even metal. Ideal for cutting all those roofing timbers.

Cordless Combi Drill

A combi drill will allow you to drive screws as well as drill holes. It has the advantage of being cordless so it can be used anywhere. It is interchangeable, rechargeable and easy to use. Standard equipment for any roofer.

Nail Gun

Nail guns have quickly taken over as the tool of choice amongst builders, carpenters and roofers. There are various models available powered by compressed air, electromagnetism, gas, or even small explosive charges. The nail gun is a powerful tool and can increase your work rate tenfold by dispensing up to 200 nails per minute. Essential for fixing roofing lath.

Air Compressor

An air compressor is a device that turns power (usually from an electric or petrol motor) into kinetic energy in the form of compressed air. It has many applications and is typically used to power your nail gun.

Angle Grinder

The hand-held angle grinder is a very powerful tool that can accomplish a wide variety of tasks with various attachments. It can cut, grind, polish, buff and even sand through a block of solid oak in just a few seconds. These great hand tools come in a range of sizes but if you are using one regularly then a 9-inch angle grinder will be best for you. If you are interested in knowing which is best then check out our best 9 inch angle grinder review!

Heavy Duty Scraper

Heavy duty scrapers are great at removing stubborn materials such as paint or tar from a work surface. A torch on roofer will want one to remove any old roofing felt layers from a roof.

Gas Torch

The gas torch allows you to heat the underside of your roofing felt so that it sticks to the roof and makes a tight seal.

Putty Knife

Putty knives are very useful little tools that are designed to perform a number of tasks. They can apply putty and filler to timber and brickwork if necessary. You can use it to punch holes, tear, cut and fill cracks, corners and crevices with the putty knife’s clipped point. An essential tool.

Tar Brush

This brush is used for rough surface applications such as tar, bitumen and other viscous materials and liquids.

Bitumen Melter

A bitumen melter is essentially a large kettle used to heat bitumen until it reaches a liquid state and is readily applicable to any surface.