April 6, 2019

Roofing Equipment: The Contractor’s Essential Guide

High-quality tools with the features you want and need are important. Don’t settle for inferior roofing equipment!

Time to read:
4 Minutes
Written by
Nicholas Capobianco

There are several intersecting principles in the construction industry often summed up with catchy phrases. Of the many maxims, “buy good tools” is perhaps one of the most important—it’s critical to providing the best possible service. Having fickle equipment slows productivity, can be unsafe and may lead to poor-quality installations or repairs.

The best roofing equipment allows contractors to maximize their skills. Killer final products make happy customers, positively impacting your reputation which drives business growth. Below, we’ll look at why you shouldn’t settle for less than the best and discuss the value specific equipment brings to the table.

How to find the best equipment

Most of us have our preferred brands—a lot of times, we inherent this preference from our parents or mentors. Sometimes outside influences like advertising draw us to certain brands. The problem brand loyalty creates is it induces some to stick to what they know, even though it might not be the ideal choice.

roofing supply man securing shingles with nail gun

Finding the right roofing equipment means assessing a few key parameters—and don’t worry about the aesthetics! With power tools, it’s about the features particular units offer as well as manufacturer warranties. Check consumer reviews for perspective on reliability and other nuances. Remember: seemingly good investments aren’t immune to defects or mishaps.

Another important element for both power and hand tools is the design. The ergonomics of a tool affect comfort—when a tool “feels” right, it’s easier to use which makes you more efficient. As an added bonus, good tool design makes it safer to use.

roofing supply men working on frame out roof

The essential roofing tools

The best roofing equipment helps your business by keeping workers productive and safe. Make sure to do your homework to find the best of the following tools for your roofing company.

roofing supply men scaling roof with cables

Safety equipment

Even with the best tools, you shouldn’t be taking any jobs without proper safety gear. Safety glasses keep your workforce’s vision intact by deflecting flying debris and rogue nails that mysteriously ricochet off random knots. Hard hats prevent severe injuries from falling debris or tools that slide off a roof. Especially on commercial jobs, no one should be without a harness—falls are the leading cause of death in construction.


While aerial work platforms (AWPs) are ideal for some projects, ladders will always be necessary for a majority of roofing jobs. Finding the best ladder is a matter of material and extension length. Ideally, find a fiberglass ladder with a decent extension length as these are lightweight, durable, and safe around electricity, compared to their metal counterparts. Also, make sure everyone follows safety protocol when using a portable ladder.

Utility knives, shears & snips

Asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and underlayment all require quality (and sometimes heavy duty) cutting tools. Workers need to be able to quickly make precise cuts to various materials on the go, so having these tools handy while on a roof keeps a job flowing. Make sure to select utility knives that can store extra blades, as this removes the need to hunt for new blades and prevents workers from sticking spares in their toolbelt which is dangerous. To keep snips and shears in working order, either learn to sharpen blades yourself, or develop a relationship with a reliable tool shop. You can also opt for pneumatic shears and nibblers to save time with the right compressor and hose.

Claw hammer & pry bars

During the removal process, a good claw hammer and pry bar (crowbar) allows you to quickly remove nails and disconnect other pieces where necessary. Even the best power tools will misfire—without a decent hammer, you might be stuck with a protruding nail or staple. For hammers, finding the right weight will make for a comfortable experience, increasing efficiency and reducing painful thumb strikes. Getting a mix of various size pry bars allows you to control leverage for different scenarios—large pry bars are great for removing well-nested nails while smaller pry bars are portable and ideal for tight spaces.

toofing supply hammer with nails

Roofing nail gun

We previously covered the best roofing nail guns in-depth in a previous blog. To recap, you’ll want to pay attention to different selling points and warranties offered by popular manufacturers. Brand aside, this is a tool where ergonomics and comfort are crucial as these tools are usually handled more than anything else during the installation process. Ensure the balance and weight feel right, check to see how easy it can be adjusted, and make sure it has the features you want in a roofing nail gun. That includes the necessary safety features.

Measuring can make or break a project

It’s easy to get off track, especially on long lengths of a roof. Using chalk lines for layout is helpful, but you should occasionally double-check as you go. Use frequent measurements to make sure everything lines up and make adjustments as necessary—there’s nothing worse than laying a few rows of shingle and finding that you’re starting to slope! Try to find measuring tapes with a chalk line or other features that suit your working style.

Miscellaneous tools

Truly, you never have enough tools. Socket sets are handy for repairing (or installing) attachments between rafters, trusses, or joists. Shovels make it easy and safe to quickly clear debris from a rooftop and prove useful for cleanup when wrapping up a job. Caulk guns and brushes are necessary to have on hand for applying adhesives and sealants, especially around seams.

The right tools will help you grow your business

Tools are an important investment for your business—the best tools increase productivity while also keeping workers safe. Try out different tools and be sure to inspect floor models while you’re shopping to find what works best for your company.

With the right tools, you can complete your jobs quickly and to a high quality.

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