A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Roofer (And Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 28, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you have an interest in building, repairing, and installing different types of roofs, a career as a roofer may be suitable. These professionals often work for contractors, roofing companies, and property owners to build new homes and renovate commercial buildings. Learning the requirements and skills to become a roofer can help you understand the duties necessary to excel in the role. In this article, we explain steps on how to become a roofer, discuss the duties of a roofer, highlight the working conditions of these professionals, and list their skills.

How to become a roofer

Follow these steps to learn how to become a roofer:

1. Earn a high school diploma

With a high school diploma, you can qualify for the position of roofer, as employers are often willing to hire individuals who are enthusiastic and willing to learn. During this course of study, you may gain basic knowledge, including mathematics and English. This can help you build skills that hiring managers may find impressive. Many provinces and territories also offer high school apprenticeship programs that enable students to work toward a career as a roofer.

Related: 15 Jobs in Construction Trades (With Salaries and Duties)

2. Attend a vocational school

Consider attending a vocational school to complete a roof slating and tiling course. You may also choose to specialize in roofing by taking courses in leadwork or thatching. For example, if you have an interest in how building construction can impact the environment, you can take courses on eco-friendly roofing to learn about installing solar panels and green roofs. Attending a vocational school may help increase your chances of finding employment as a roofing trainee.

3. Complete an apprenticeship program

Attending apprenticeship programs is often essential when entering the construction industry, as it enables you to acquire skills while working on a construction site. Many apprenticeship programs comprise school and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified roofer or journeyperson. Apprentices usually work for a minimum of 30 hours per week. Entry requirements for this program may vary, but employers generally require that candidates have a Grade 10 education or its equivalent.

During this training, you may learn about roofing materials, safety precautions, and the components of a roofing system. Apprenticeship training programs for roofers typically take about two to three years to complete, including at least 5,860 hours of on-the-job training.

Related: Journeyperson vs. Apprentice: What Are the Key Differences?

4. Obtain a licence

Many provinces and territories require that you obtain a professional licence from a regulatory body before offering your services to the public. A licence shows that you have successfully completed an apprenticeship program and can handle various types of roofing projects. Once you complete your on-the-job training and pass the necessary examinations, you may earn the journeyperson competency certificate. As a certified roofer, you can also attempt the interprovincial exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards' Red Seal. With this licence, you can work as a roofer in any province or territory.

Related: Benefits of Construction Management Certifications

5. Apply for jobs

Once you become a certified roofer, consider applying for jobs that focus on your area of specialization. It may be helpful to check job boards for positions that interest you. There are various jobs available for roofers, and you may work for a construction company, real estate firm, roofing company, or as a self-employed contractor. Ensure you create a resume using the keywords on the job posting, as it can help you get the employer's attention and receive an invitation to interview for the position.

What are the duties of a roofer?

The following are the duties and responsibilities of a certified roofer:

  • Installing roofs on buildings: Roofers often install roofing materials, such as sheet metal, terracotta, tile or shingles, on commercial and residential buildings. They assess these roof construction materials to ensure proper installation.

  • Repairing existing roofs: These professionals can repair damaged roofs to prevent leaks or insect infestation in a building. Roofers may replace rotten wood and impaired joists on a roof to ensure durability and longevity.

  • Fixing weatherproof materials: Many roofers install weatherproof seals around vents, chimneys, fans, skylights, and other ventilation components. These materials can make a roof watertight and preserve the interior of a building.

  • Meeting with clients: Roofers often meet with clients to estimate the labour and materials necessary to complete a project. They may measure the roof and suggest appropriate materials to suit a client's budget.

  • Adhering to safety standards: As the role involves heavy lifting, bending, and climbing, roofers often follow safety standards to protect their health. When working on-site, they usually wear safety equipment to reduce potential hazards.

  • Scheduling and overseeing the roofing project: Roofers usually schedule various parts of a project to ensure they complete it efficiently. They may oversee labourers performing tasks, such as fixing tiles, cleaning work areas, removing old roofing, and installing roof supports.

Related: 13 Jobs Within Construction To Consider

Working conditions of a roofer

Roofers often work outdoors. They spend time on-site, installing roofing materials and fixing defects. These professionals work for about seven to eight hours daily. Many roofers work in inclement weather, heat, and hazardous conditions, such as high places. They may work full-time and seasonally during cold weather. They can work till evening and on weekends to complete a project, especially when the weather is unfavourable.

Roofers often work alongside other professionals, such as contractors, architects, carpenters, and electricians. As this job is physically demanding, roofers often spend their time climbing ladders, lifting heavy materials, and bending into awkward positions.

Related: The Complete Guide to the Construction Planning Process

What are the relevant skills of a roofer?

The following are relevant skills that can help roofers excel in a role:

Hand-eye coordination

This is the ability to use your hands and eyes together. As roofers use nail guns, hammers, and staples when installing a roof, this skill can help you work with precision. Professionals with this skill usually have steady hands when climbing ladders and moving around the roof's surface. With it, you can read blueprints while using your hands to perform other tasks, such as cutting materials or fixing cracks. You may develop hand-eye coordination by attending a trade school.

Problem solving

Roofers use problem-solving skills to identify and resolve issues that may occur in the workplace. With this ability, you can complete projects quickly and ensure the public's safety. For example, if the roofing materials for a project are insufficient, problem-solving skills can enable you to think critically to determine the best solution. It can also help you conduct preventive maintenance to improve a roof's durability.

Teamwork

As roofing construction is a collaborative effort, teamwork skills are important. As a roofer, you may often work alongside other individuals on a project to share responsibilities and ideas. Teamwork can include collaborating with colleagues, taking instructions, and receiving feedback. Roofers with teamwork skills can rely on other professionals to help them complete projects more efficiently.

Related: 7 Benefits of Teamwork in the Workplace (With Examples)

Attention to detail

Roofers typically require attention to detail to cut and measure roofing materials accurately. This skill can enable you to install components, such as shingles, tile, and plywood, in the correct order. It may also help you complete tasks that require attaching plastic or metal pieces to a roof to prevent water leakage. Professionals with good attention to detail can perform installations that last for many years.

Blueprint reading

This skill allows you to interpret blueprints and understand building regulations or codes. Professionals with this ability can install a roof to meet client expectations. Once you're familiar with building regulations, you can ensure the safety of every individual on the job site. Blueprint skills can also help you identify potential hazards before they become an issue.

Work ethic

Professionals with a good work ethic can complete projects before deadlines. With this competency, you can deliver high-quality work and perform well in all areas of your job. Individuals with an exemplary work ethic usually advance in their careers, as it shows employers their dedication to the job.

Communication

Communication skills are essential for working alongside clients and colleagues. With effective verbal and written communication skills, you can explain projects to clients, answer questions, write proposals, and draft a budget estimate. It can also help you supervise a team to ensure they perform tasks efficiently.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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