Unsurprisingly, roofers are building workers who specialise in everything to do with roofs, using their skills to erect, clad and waterproof roof structures and install rainwater goods and flashing. They are the guys shimmying up onto the top of your house or block of flats to fix that leaky roof and keep your family toasty, warm and dry.
Roofers tend to work on two types of roofs: sloped roofs, which usually require slating and tiling using roof tiles, or flat roofs, which are covered by spreading a waterproof bitumen layer or fitting felt sheets. Some choose to specialise in more unusual roofing techniques such as thatching or leadwork.
A large part of a roofer’s work will be repairing roofs, by removing and replacing broken tiles measuring, cutting and fitting roofing materials, and finishing off joints to make them watertight. Roofers also check to make sure that roofs are structurally sound.
Salary & benefits
Roofers don’t exactly pull in the riches, but more experienced roofers can earn as much as £32,000 a year.
£15,000 a year is a realistic salary for those starting out and, once qualified, this basic wage will rise to between £16,000 and £24,000 a year.
Most roofers will work a 40-hour week. Summer is prime time for roofers (in the winter bad weather can disrupt roofing work), so they might work for longer hours in the summer months.
Roofers are hardy folk, working outside in all weathers. Not only do they have a healthy tan from all that outdoor work, but they also develop some serious muscles from the physical demands of the job.
There are no academic requirements to become a roofer. Most roofers start out as roofing labourers, training ‘on-the-job’ to pick up roofing techniques. A few might enter the profession through apprenticeships with building or roofing companies.
Roofers need to have a head for heights and be good with their hands. They should be able to understand building plans and have some basic maths skills. This is where having GCSEs in maths and English might come in handy.
Training & progression
Construction Skills and City & Guilds have an approved list of NVQ diplomas for roofers and those in the profession can apply for membership with the Institute of Roofing (IOR).
Another qualification which trainee roofers might need is a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. To get this, workers have to pass a health and safety assessment and have an NVQ or similar qualification.
There isn’t a huge amount of career progression within the roofing industry, although experienced roofers might progress to become site managers, technical salespersons or roofing technicians.
Some even strike out on their own, setting up their own roofing businesses.