Duties and responsibilities
A residential roofer is a roofer who works solely on building, maintaining, replacing, repairing and restoring the roofs commercial properties. These are typically larger scale buildings, used for businesses. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Building roofs for commercial buildings using various materials
- Smoothening finished roof surfaces and filling in edges with cement
- Ensuring all projects are completed within a timeline
- Working as part of a team with other construction professionals
- Inspecting damages to roofs and estimating the costs of repair
- Ensuring the roof is suitable for all weather conditions (e.g, rain or snow)
- Using hand tools and other equipment (e.g. scaffold, ladder)
- Setting up vapor barriers, vents, insulation and solar energy systems
To become a commercial roofer, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. You will then need to complete an apprenticeship program, during which you will ‘shadow’ experienced commercial roofer and copy them.
Skills and relevant work experience
In order to have the best possible employment opportunities, commercial roofers should aim to get as much experience in the construction industry, and on smaller roofing projects, as possible. Commercial roofers also need skills such as:
- Physical fitness and stamina, roofers will have to carry heavy material to heights. They will also have to kneel down and stand up for long periods of time
- Communication skills are key as commercial roofers need to be able to communicate with clients and other construction workers (e.g., roofers)
- Detail orientation, as commercial roofers need to ensure that they measure and fit material to the the exact millimetre
- Dexterity, as commercial roofers must be able to fit safe and high quality roofs
- Critical thinking, as commercial roofers must be able to problem-solve when issues arise in a project. Such issues may include a project running on for longer than expected or the materials ordered being the wrong size
Commercial roofers tend to work full time. Due to weather conditions, such as rain, residential roofers may have to work extra hours to ensure a roof is watertight in time. In winter, roofers hours may drop. However, in summer roofers can expect to be able to work longer days, due to more daylight hours.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for roofers was $42,100 in2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,540, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,920. The top paying industries were roofing contractors, where the median annual salary was $42,320 and construction of buildings, where the average annual salary was $39,160.
It is important to note that although roofers work full time, their hours and thus their earning may vary by season. For example, in winter roofers may earn less due to cold and wet weather and less daylight hours. Whereas in the summer, roofers may work overtime.
The overall employment of roofers is set to increase over the coming years. Commercial roofers can progress easily into supervisor, superintendent, or other construction management positions. Experienced commercial roofers may even choose to become independent contractors.