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Become A Commercial Roofer

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Working As A Commercial Roofer

  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Getting Information
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $40,260

    Average Salary

What Does A Commercial Roofer Do

Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings using a variety of materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal.

Duties

Roofers typically do the following:

  • Inspect problem roofs to determine the best way to repair them
  • Measure roofs to calculate the quantities of materials needed
  • Replace damaged or rotting joists or plywood
  • Install vapor barriers or layers of insulation
  • Install shingles, asphalt, metal, or other materials to make the roof weatherproof
  • Align roofing materials with edges of the roof
  • Cut roofing materials to fit around walls or vents
  • Cover exposed nail or screw heads with roofing cement or caulk to prevent leakage

Properly installed roofs keep water from leaking into buildings and damaging the interior, equipment, or furnishings. There are two basic types of roofs: low-slope and steep-slope. Solar and vegetative features are sometimes incorporated into both low- and steep-slope roofs. Roofers may specialize in the installation and replacement of one or more of these roof systems.

Low-slope. Low-slope roofs rise less than 3 inches per horizontal foot and are installed in layers. Low-slope roofs make up nearly three-quarters of all roofs, as most commercial, industrial, and apartment buildings use this type. 

Many of today’s low-slope roofs are covered with a single-ply membrane of waterproof rubber or thermoplastic compound. Most previously installed low-slope roofs, however, use several layers of roofing materials or felt membranes stuck together with hot bitumen (a tar-like substance).

Steep-slope. Steep-slope roofs rise more than 3 inches per horizontal foot and most commonly use asphalt shingles, which often cost less than other coverings. Steep-slope roofs make up most of the remaining roofs, as most single-family homes use this type.

Although roofers most commonly install asphalt shingles, some also lay tile, solar shingles, metal shingles, or shakes (rough wooden shingles) on steep-slope roofs.

Traditional roofing systems may incorporate plants and landscape materials, and these features are becoming more common. A vegetative roof is typically a waterproof low-slope roof, covered by a root barrier. Soil, plants, and landscaping materials are then placed on the roof.

Solar features are increasingly popular on roofs. These systems include solar reflective, which prevents the absorption of energy; solar thermal, which absorbs energy to heat water; and solar photovoltaic, which converts sunlight into electricity. Roofers install some photovoltaic products such as solar shingles and solar tiles, but solar photovoltaic (PV) installers typically install PV panels. Plumbers and heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics also may install solar thermal systems.

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How To Become A Commercial Roofer

Although most roofers learn on the job, some learn their trade through an apprenticeship program. There are no specific education requirements for roofers.

Education

Although there are no specific education requirements for roofers, high school courses in math, vocational education, mechanical drawing, and blueprint reading are considered helpful. Technical schools that offer courses related to roofing may be available in a few areas.

Training

Most on-the-job training programs consist of instruction in which experienced workers teach new workers how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials. Trainees begin with tasks such as carrying equipment and material and erecting scaffolds and hoists. Within 2 or 3 months, they are taught to measure, cut, and fit roofing materials, and later, to lay asphalt or fiberglass shingles. Because some roofing materials, such as solar tiles, are used infrequently, it can take several years to gain experience on all types of roofing. As training progresses, assignments become more complex.

Some roofers learn through a 3-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Apprentices learn about roofing and construction basics, such as blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, safety, and first aid practices.

Several groups sponsor apprenticeship programs, including unions and contractor associations. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work

After completing an apprenticeship program, roofers are considered journey workers who can perform tasks on their own.

Important Qualities

Balance. Roofing is often done on steep slopes at significant heights. Because of this, workers should have excellent balance to avoid falling.

Physical stamina. Roofers must have the endurance to perform strenuous duties throughout the day. They may spend hours on their feet, bending and stooping—often in hot temperatures—with few breaks.

Physical strength. Roofers often lift and carry heavy materials. Some roofers, for example, must carry bundles of shingles that weigh 60 pounds or more.

Unafraid of heights. Because work is often done at significant heights, roofers must not fear working far above the ground.

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Commercial Roofer jobs

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Commercial Roofer Typical Career Paths

Commercial Roofer Demographics

Gender

Male

92.5%

Female

6.4%

Unknown

1.0%
Ethnicity

White

82.3%

Hispanic or Latino

9.5%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

1.1%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.5%

Russian

12.5%

Mandarin

12.5%

Polish

12.5%
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Commercial Roofer Education

Schools

Moraine Valley Community College

6.3%

Northland College

6.3%

Walla Walla Community College

6.3%

Western Technical College

6.3%

Weatherford College

6.3%

University of South Florida

6.3%

Iowa State University

6.3%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

6.3%

West Virginia University

6.3%

Moraine Park Technical College

6.3%

Saint Cloud State University

6.3%

Anne Arundel Community College

6.3%

Central Washington University

3.1%

Dakota County Technical College

3.1%

Syracuse University

3.1%

Wayne State College

3.1%

Marshall University

3.1%

Kauai Community School for Adults

3.1%

Suffolk County Community College

3.1%

Elon University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

33.3%

Precision Metal Working

6.3%

General Studies

5.2%

Automotive Technology

5.2%

Criminal Justice

5.2%

Management

4.2%

Education

4.2%

Communication

4.2%

Construction Management

4.2%

Liberal Arts

4.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Accounting

3.1%

Graphic Design

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.1%

Biology

2.1%

Finance

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

Computer Science

2.1%
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Degrees

Other

50.9%

Bachelors

24.8%

Associate

13.3%

Certificate

4.2%

Masters

3.6%

Diploma

3.0%
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Top Skills for A Commercial Roofer

TPOEpdmRoofSystemNewRoofOshaHotTarJobSitesCrewProductivityCurbRemovalPVCCustomerServiceOLDRoofVaporBarriersGeneralLaborConstructionProjectsCoverRoofsMopBitumenSoundproofSectionsRoofRepair

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Top Commercial Roofer Skills

  1. TPO
  2. Epdm
  3. Roof System
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Installed full TPO type roofing from start to finish.
  • Tear off and installation of commercial roofing systems(EPDM or rubber roofing mostly)
  • Installed various types of roof systems, Thermoplastic Polyolefinrubber, spray restoration, BUR, single ply, tile and shingles.
  • Maintained and repaired existing roofs and installed new roofs on commercial buildings.
  • Maintained proper safety codes and procedures to keep up with OSHA regulations.

Top Commercial Roofer Employers

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