A roofer is a professional who specializes in roof construction. Roofers monitor the entire process of roofing in residential as well as commercial construction. They analyze the construction plans and make sure that the roofing is done in strict accordance with the design. Roofers also determine the materials, substrates and supportive accessories to be used for roof installations. Even the specifications of the beams, trusses and rafters upon which roofs are installed are decided by roofers.
Not only do they work on new installations, roofers also work on renovations and roof repair projects. As expected from the job title, roofers ususally need to climb onto rooftops to work. A roofer should therefore not be afraid of heights and should have good balance, as well as reasonable carpentry skills.
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Roofers work on the installation, repair and renovation of new and existing roofs. If needed, roofers also replace old materials with new, solid structures. Roofers deal in many different materials including metal, rubber, polymer, asbestos and tile. All these have widespread applications in both the domestic and industrial sectors. With commercial buildings, rubber roofs are generally preferred by most builders. Rubber roof installation is quite a complex process and cannot be managed without the assistance of experienced roofers. Installing rubber sheeting requires measuring and cutting around every protrusion such as vent pipes, sky lights and heating units, and this is performed by professional roofers.
In some rubber roof renovation jobs, it is the responsibility of roofers to uniformly mop the entire flat area of the roof using a coat of warm melted tar. For jobs that invole shingle, tile and metal roofing, roofers usually have to remove the existing materials before laying down a layer of fresh tar paper and installing new materials using either staples or nails.
Sometimes, roofers may have to replace wood on the roof damaged due to weather exposure and rot. Plywood and cheaper-quality wood-made roofs undergo similar problems and need to be replaced from time to time.
People who want to take up roofing as a career will have to pursue a specialized apprentice training curriculum, which is a basic educational qualification required for the job. The apprentice training program is a combination of theoretical and practical courses covering various aspects of construction including quality management, material selection, roof installation techniques, roof installation skills, and diagnostic skills.
A fully licensed roofer who has successfully completed this type of program is well trained on handling different types and sizes of roofing projects in various settings. Residential roofers primarily specialize in shingle installation on homes. They may also carry out roof inspection services for hail, wind and water damage. Commercial roofers mostly work on bigger commercial and industrial buildings.
The roofer apprentice programs in most countries take three years to complete. The trainee has to complete a minimum of 4,000 hours of extensive training to get recognized and licensed to handle roofing-related jobs independently. The curriculum includes both on-the-job training and classroom instruction. In practical training sessions, trainees work on demo projects and their work is strictly supervised by a well experienced roofer.
The essential technical skills that every roofer should have include the ability to read and understand plans, average carpentry skills and good verbal communication skills. At times, the job will involve lifting and delivering heavy materials onto the tops of buildings and homes, so fitness and agility are important traits. The ability to work as part of a team is also a basic skill that is required of a roofer.
Some of the most common jobs performed by roofers are:
*Rubber roof installation
Of all the above tasks, one of the most important is job estimating. The responsibility of the roofing job estimator is to meet with clients and provide an estimate on the anticipated expenses involved in the installation of a new roof. The roofer's ability to formulate an accurate and realistic estimate is extremely important for both parties, because if the estimate is too high, the roofing company may lose the contract to a competitor who makes a lower bid. On the other hand, if the quote is too low, the roofing company may not be able to make a profit. This makes the role of estimator a vital one for roofing companies.
Apart from job estimating, most of the work performed by roofers is field based. Most roofing jobs demand a lot of physical labor, and, depending on the geographic location, the ability to work in extreme conditions is often required. Roofers can work privately as freelancers, start their own roofing business, or work full time or on a contractual basis for a construction company.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US employment prospects for roofers are expected to grow by 18% from 2010 to 2020. The 2010 median pay for roofers stood at $16.45 per hour, which amounts to $34,220 per year. In the US, the number of roofers employed in 2010 was 136,700.