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Job Outlook for:
Roofers

SOC: 47-2181        OOH: U272

Roofers
Quick Stats
Total Jobs in 2016 146,200
Expected Growth 11%    (Faster than average)
New Jobs To Be Added
from 2016 to 2026
16,500
Median Pay $35,000 to $54,999

 

 

Employment Outlook for Roofers

Employment of roofers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Replacement and repair of roofs, as well as the installation of new roofs, will create demand for roofers.

Roofs deteriorate more quickly than most other parts of buildings, and as a result, they need to be replaced or repaired more often. Demand for roofers will be driven by the need to repair and replace roofs on existing buildings. In addition to replacement and repair work, the need to install roofs on new buildings is expected to result in job growth. Some demand for roofers may come from the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on building rooftops.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for roofers should be good. Many jobs will stem from the need to replace the many workers who leave the occupation each year, some of whom seek jobs in other construction trades. Jobs are generally easier to find during spring and summer.

Demand for roofers is less vulnerable to downturns than demand for other construction workers, because much roofing work consists of repair and reroofing, in addition to new construction. Still, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of new construction falls, and shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.

 

 


 

Typical Pay for Roofers

The median annual wage for roofers was $37,760 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,040, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $64,630.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for roofers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Roofing contractors $37,740
Construction of buildings 37,480

Like many construction workers, most roofers work full time. In northern states, roofing work is limited during the winter months. During the summer, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs quickly, especially before rainfall.



 

What Roofers Do All Day

Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings, using a variety of materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal.

Duties

Roofers typically do the following:

  • Inspect problem roofs to determine the best way to repair them
  • Measure roofs to calculate the quantities of materials needed
  • Replace damaged or rotting joists or plywood
  • Install vapor barriers or layers of insulation
  • Install ventilation systems
  • Install shingles, asphalt, metal, or other materials to make the roof weatherproof
  • Align roofing materials with edges of the roof
  • Cut roofing materials to fit around walls or vents
  • Cover exposed nail or screw heads with roofing cement or caulk to prevent leakage

Properly installed roofs keep water from leaking into buildings and damaging the interior, equipment, or furnishings. There are two basic types of roofs: low-slope roofs and steep-slope roofs.

Low-slope roofs rise less than 3 inches per horizontal foot and are installed in layers. Most commercial, industrial, and apartment buildings have low-slope roofs, making them the most common roofing type. The complexity of low-slope roof installations varies with the type of building. When installing low-slope roofs, roofers typically install a single-ply membrane of a waterproof rubber or thermoplastic compound.

Steep-slope roofs rise more than 3 inches per horizontal foot and are typically covered with asphalt shingles, which often cost less than other materials. Most single-family homes have roofs with asphalt shingles. Although less common, roofers can also lay tile, solar shingles, metal shingles, or shakes (rough wooden shingles) on steep-slope roofs.

Roofing systems may also incorporate plants and landscape materials. A vegetative roof, for example, is typically a waterproof low-slope roof covered by a root barrier and harboring soil, plants, and landscaping materials.

It is becoming increasingly popular to take advantage of solar energy on rooftops. Roofs may incorporate solar reflective systems, which prevent the absorption of energy; solar thermal systems, which absorb energy to heat water; and solar photovoltaic systems, which convert sunlight into electricity. Roofers install some photovoltaic products, such as solar shingles and solar tiles, but solar photovoltaic (PV) installers typically install PV panels. Plumbers and heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics also may install solar thermal systems.

Roofers use a variety of tools when working on roofs, depending on the type of roof being installed. They may use roofing shovels and pry bars to remove old roofing systems. They may use hammers, nail guns, drills, knives, pavers, tape measures, chalk lines, and framing squares to install new roofing systems. 

 



 

Work Environment for Roofers

Roofers held about 146,200 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of roofers were as follows:

Roofing contractors 71%
Self-employed workers 21
Construction of buildings 3

Roofing work can be physically demanding because it involves heavy lifting, as well as climbing, bending, and kneeling. Roofers work outdoors in very hot or very cold weather, but they do not work when there is precipitation or when it is very windy.

Although some roofers work alone, many work as part of a crew.

Injuries and Illnesses

Roofers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Workers may slip or fall from scaffolds, ladders, or roofs, where they do most of their work. They may also be burned by hot bitumen. Roofs can become extremely hot during the summer, causing heat-related illnesses. Proper safety precautions and equipment can prevent most accidents and fatalities.

Work Schedules

Like many construction workers, most roofers work full time. In northern states, roofing work is limited during the winter months. During the summer, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs quickly, especially before rainfall.

 


 

How To Become a Roofer

Although most roofers learn on the job, some may enter the occupation through an apprenticeship program. There are no specific education requirements for roofers.

Education

There are no specific education requirements for roofers.

Training

Most on-the-job training programs consist of instruction in which experienced workers teach new workers how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials. Trainees begin with tasks such as carrying equipment and material and erecting scaffolds and hoists. Within 2 or 3 months, they are taught to measure, cut, and fit roofing materials. Later they are shown how to lay asphalt or fiberglass shingles. Because some roofing materials, such as solar tiles, are used infrequently, it can take several years to gain experience on all types of roofing. As training progresses, new workers are able to learn more complex roofing techniques.

A few groups, including the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers and some contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs for roofers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

Important Qualities

Balance. Roofers should have excellent balance to avoid falling, because the work is often done on steep slopes at significant heights.

Manual dexterity. Roofers need to be precise when installing roofing materials and handling roofing tools, in order to prevent damage to the roof and building.

Physical stamina. Roofers must have the endurance to perform strenuous duties throughout the day. They may spend hours on their feet, bending and stooping—often in hot temperatures.

Physical strength. Roofers often lift and carry heavy materials. Some roofers, for example, must carry bundles of shingles that weigh 60 pounds or more.

Unafraid of heights. Roofers must not fear working far above the ground, because the work is often done at significant heights.

 

 

 

 

 

"Roofers"   SOC:  47-2181     OOH Code: U272

Thank you BLS.gov.