16 Common Roof Repairing Materials and Tools Every Roofer Uses

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated December 22, 2021
Luxury house with nice landscape
Photo: karamysh / Adobe Stock

A pro should always handle roofing work, but you may be curious what tools they're using

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If you’ve noticed that your roof is looking a little worse for wear, you may be considering clambering up there to conduct some repairs yourself. You should quash that impulse—roof repair or replacement are jobs best left to roofing professionals. Each roof repair project takes skill, as well as particular materials and tools. 

However, if you’re curious about the tools of the trade or want to be able to talk shop with your local roofer, you’re in luck. Below, we’ll break down all of the roof repairing materials roofers use, as well as what you need to know before embarking on a roof repair project.

1. Ladder, Scaffold, or Shingle Lift

One of the most important pieces of equipment for roofers is pretty simple: a way to get up and down off of the roof. Roofers often use ladders, scaffolds, or shingle lifts to safely and efficiently access your home’s roof.

2. Fall Protection Kit

Roofing can be very dangerous if you’re not properly protected—but a good fall protection kit can go a long way towards ensuring that roofers are safe and prepared for their job. Fall protection systems usually include a reusable roof anchor, safety harness, rope lifeline, and shock-absorbing lanyard. If you have a steep roof, you might ask your roofer to leave a roof anchor in place for future repairs.

3. Toe Boards

Aside from a safety harness, ensuring comfortable footing on the roof is another important safety consideration. Roofers often use toe boards, which have roof jacks that slide in and attach under shingles, to travel safely along the roof.

4. Chalk Line

Roofers use chalk lines to make sure that shingles are straight and symmetrical. This step helps to ensure a snug fit between shingles without any unexpected gaps or holes.

5. Crowbar or Utility Bar

Removing old shingles and nails sometimes requires more than a little elbow grease. Roofers carry crowbars or utility bars in order to dislodge stubborn nails.

6. Flat Head Shovel

Roofers use flat head shovels to remove existing roof shingles. In order to be eligible for the roof warranty and to make sure your roof looks neat and tidy, roofers should remove all existing shingles when replacing shingles on your roof. A flat head shovel makes the job of removing these shingles go more quickly.

7. Hammer or Roofing Nailer

A worker using a nail gun
Photo: nd700 / Adobe Stock

If you’re only replacing a few shingles, roofers can use a hammer to attach them. But if you plan on replacing your whole roof, roofers typically use a power nailer to speed installation.

8. Roofing Nails

It’s important to use the proper nails for your roof for it to perform as expected. Roofers should follow the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association guidelines when selecting nails for roof repair or replacement.

“Generally we use 1.25-inch coil nails on an asphalt roof installation,” says Ami Feller of Feller Roofing. “If you have exposed soffit, especially common on older homes, make sure that the nail won't ruin the soffit. Code requires that nails go completely through the roof deck in order to hold. If you are worried, you should bring this to the attention of your roofing contractor before they start the project.”

9. Sealant

Nobody likes a leaky roof. Leaks from above are more than just unpleasant—they can also cause water damage and pose a safety issue for your home. Roofers apply sealant around areas where water can penetrate the roof, such as the flashing, roof vents, chimney, and skylight, to help prevent leaks in your roof. It’s important to note that sealant is not a permanent solution for a leaky roof, as it breaks down under UV light in about three years. 

10. Tarp

Rainy weather isn’t ideal for roof repair, but sometimes you just can’t control Mother Nature. That’s why roofers typically include a tarp among their supplies. They use the tarp to cover the roof to keep the deck from soaking up water and delaying your project since you can’t lay shingles on wet OSB or plywood.

11. Utility Knife

A handy utility knife is another staple in a roofer’s toolbelt. Roofers use these knives to cut or trim shingles to the correct shape and size. Most roofers who install shingles use a hook blade in their utility knife, which cuts through the face of a shingle with ease.

12. Aluminum Drip Edge

An aluminum drip edge allows water to flow freely off the roof’s edge without damaging the fascia board.

13. Flashing

When repairing or replacing a roof, roofers install flashing to help protect against water damage. Flashing is a piece of metal installed underneath the siding and shingles where the vertical part of the home meets the horizontal, or sloped, part of a roof. It helps the water move freely toward the edge and off of the roof. Without flashing, water will penetrate the shingles and, over time, rot the wood beneath. Most roof leaks are caused by improper flashing.

14. Plywood or OSB

Roofers will examine the deck from the attic and check for soft spots to determine whether they need to replace any rotting or damaged wood. If so, they’ll use plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) for the task.

15. Underlayment

Underlayment is a thin sheet of material that helps to protect your roof against the elements. Felt paper, ice shields, and water shields are all common forms of underlayment. Underlayment acts as a second layer of defense, protecting your home from potential water damage.

16. An Experienced Team

Roofing isn’t a project you should complete by yourself. Professional roofers come prepared with training and all of the equipment they need to do a good job. If your roof is damaged or needs repair, you should contact a roof repair company near you.

FAQs about Roof Repair

How much does a new roof cost?

A new roof costs between $5,000 and $45,000, with an average of $25,000. How much you’ll pay depends on the size of your roof, the materials, and what type of home you own.

How much do roof repairs cost?

If you just need to make a few fixes to your roof, roof repair costs around $940. Common roof repairs include gutter cleaning and repair, cracked flashing, and broken or missing shingles.

How much does roof replacement cost?

Roof replacement costs $8,700 to $22,000. You may need to replace your whole roof, especially if it’s a few decades old. This process includes removing the old roof, inspecting and repairing any damage, and installing the new roof in its place.

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