What is a Roofer?

A roofer is a skilled tradesperson who specializes in working on roofs, whether it’s repairing, replacing, or installing new roofs. Roofers play a crucial role in ensuring that buildings and homes have durable and watertight roofs to protect them from the elements.

What does a Roofer do?

Roofers perform a variety of tasks related to roofing systems. Their main responsibilities include:

Roof Installation

Roofers install new roofing systems on buildings, ensuring that they are constructed according to design specifications and local building codes. This involves working with different roofing materials such as tiles, shingles, felt, thatch, and sheet materials.

Roof Repairs

Roofers are skilled at identifying and repairing roof damage, whether it’s caused by weather conditions, wear and tear, or other factors. They patch leaks, replace damaged shingles or tiles, and reinforce weakened roof structures.

Roof Maintenance

Regular roof maintenance is essential to extend the lifespan of a roof. Roofers perform inspections and maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters, removing debris, and checking for signs of damage to prevent more significant issues.

Roof Replacement

When a roof reaches the end of its useful life, roofers are responsible for removing the old roofing materials and replacing them with new ones. This ensures that the building remains structurally sound and protected.

How to become a Roofer

Entry Requirements

To pursue a career as a roofer, you should ideally have some GCSE or National 5 passes in subjects like Maths, English, craft, Design and Technology. These foundational qualifications can be beneficial as they provide a strong educational background for the trade. Alternatively, vocational qualifications, such as a BTEC Certificate/Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment or a City & Guilds Certificate in Basic Construction Skills, can serve as a starting point.

Entry-Level Positions

Some individuals start their roofing careers as entry-level roofing labourers after completing secondary school. This provides them with valuable on-site experience and opportunities for further training in roofing techniques. Working as a labourer allows individuals to gain practical knowledge of the trade.


Another common entry path is through apprenticeships with building or roofing companies. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) offers a range of construction apprenticeships, including specialized ones in roofing. During an apprenticeship, you’ll receive on-the-job training while earning a wage. Apprentices also attend a college or training center to obtain qualifications like NVQs/SVQs in Roofing Occupations and Mastic Asphalting.

Certification and Training

To work on construction sites, roofers must obtain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, which demonstrates their health and safety training and professional competency. Additionally, most employers require roofers to complete industry-recognized qualifications as proof of their capability. These qualifications may be acquired through a combination of apprenticeships and additional coursework.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

As a roofer, it’s crucial to continually update your skills throughout your career. The Institute of Roofing (IOR) offers numerous CPD schemes that can help you stay current with industry trends and best practices.

Working Conditions

Outdoor Work

Roofers typically work outdoors on various types of roofs, from residential homes to historic cathedrals and construction sites. The work environment can be dusty and dirty, so proper protective gear, including safety helmets and boots, is essential.

Heights and Safety

Roofers often work at heights, which can be challenging for some individuals. Safety procedures, including the proper use of ladders, scaffolding, and safety equipment, are crucial to prevent accidents.

Working Hours

Most roofers follow a standard 40-hour workweek, primarily from Monday to Friday. However, additional work may be available on weekends, depending on the project and employer.

Roofer Salary

Salaries for roofers can vary based on experience, qualifications, and location. Here is a general salary guide:

  • Trainees: Trainee roofers can earn around £13,500 to £15,000 per year.
  • Experienced Roofers: With experience, earnings can increase to between £16,000 and £25,000 annually.
  • Self-Employed Roofers: Self-employed roofers negotiate their own rates and may earn more based on the projects they take on. Overtime and bonuses are often available.

Career Prospects and Progression

The roofing industry in the UK has a strong demand for qualified professionals, providing several opportunities for career progression:

  • Specialization: Roofers can choose to specialize in specific roofing materials or techniques, such as slate roofing or flat roofing.
  • Technical Roles: Experienced roofers can move into technical roles, supervisory positions, and eventually managerial positions.
  • Entrepreneurship: Roofers with significant experience and knowledge of the industry may start their roofing companies or work as freelance contractors.
  • Overseas Opportunities: Skilled roofers can seek contract work abroad, expanding their horizons and gaining international experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Diverse Projects: Roofers have the opportunity to work on various projects, including residential homes and significant construction projects like stadiums.
  • Job Satisfaction: There’s a sense of accomplishment in producing durable and functional roofing structures.
  • Skill Development: Roofers gain an understanding of other construction work, such as joinery, which enhances their skill set.


  • Working at Heights: Some individuals may find working at heights challenging.
  • Legal Processes: Roofing work may become part of compensation claims, which can involve lengthy legal processes.
  • Irregular Hours: Property viewings and auctions may sometimes take place in the evenings and on weekends.

Related Opportunities

If you’re interested in construction and related fields, several career opportunities may align with roofing:

  • Ceiling Fixer: Specializes in installing and repairing ceilings.
  • Mastic Asphalter: Works with asphalt-based materials for waterproofing and surfacing.
  • Scaffolder: Constructs and dismantles scaffolding structures.

Further Information

For more information on pursuing a career in roofing, you can refer to the following resources:

These organizations provide valuable insights, training opportunities, and support for individuals interested in the roofing profession.

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