Roofing Tools and Equipment List

Setting Up Shop

Some tools are so fundamental to the roofing industry that they should be included in every roof contractor’s inventory. Following is a roofing tools list of basic equipment, commercial roofing tools, and the special items required to perform certain tasks.

General Equipment

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    • Ladder (30’ to 40’) – used for access to the roof. Choose the most stable, heavy-duty model you can find. Do not skimp on safety for you or your employees.
    • Hard hats – head protection generally required when working on new construction. Many industries require that hard hats be worn by crew in all plant manufacturing areas. Ensure the hard hat is OSHA approved.
    • Soft-soled, steel-toed shoes – should be worn to provide maximum traction on the commercial roof, protect your feet, and prevent damage to the newly-installed roofing system.
    • Caulking guns – required to dispense caulk from tubes. A high-quality caulking gun such as one made by COX or Albion will speed your project and add more money to your pocket.
    • Paint brushes – used to apply bulk caulk and coating in detail areas.
    • Electric or cordless drill and assorted drill bits and drivers – used to drill holes in concrete, metal, etc., for securing blockings. May also be used to install screws and fasteners as needed. Mixing attachment is needed to agitate products before application. Helpful hint: Make sure the extra battery for your unit is also charged.
    • Pop-rivet gun – used in the attachment of sheet metal work.
    • Wheelbarrow – used in carting aggregate, debris, roofing materials, etc., across the roof.
    • Scissors – used to cut fabric. Long-bladed fabric shears work best.
    • General tool kit – should include hammers, mallets, hacksaw, screwdrivers, chisels, punches and an assortment of wrenches. A coring tool for taking cores and roof samples, a black sharpie pen, utility knife, gasoline or other cleaner and baggies to keep the samples separated. You should also have a box of baggies for samples that may need to be taken.
    • Roof hoist – extremely helpful in raising and lowering equipment and supplies from roof deck.
    • Bunghole mixer – mixing blade attachment for electric drill.
    Pre-Inspection Tools

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    • Core-cutter – Designed to cut a 2” hold in a built-up roof (BUR) for the purpose of determining the composition of the roof and deck.
    Moisture Detection Tools

    In determining the soundness and dryness of a roof surface and underlying insulation, a device such as a Delmhorst meter is indispensable. These meters measure the moisture content of roofing materials.

    Post-inspection Equipment

    Optical Comparator – The optical comparator is a magnifying eyepiece with a measuring scale on one end, used for determining the thickness of a coating sample. The reticle (measuring scale) is placed against the edge of the sample. The eyepiece is then focused to read the thickness to the nearest mil. It is essential that a very sharp cutting instrument such as a razor blade be used in trimming the sample edge for optimum accuracy. FineScale reticle number 121 is recommended for use with the optical comparator in this procedure.

    Roof Cleaning Equipment

    The commercial roofing tools and equipment listed below are needed for proper preparation:

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    • Stiff bristled hand broom – used for sweeping gravel and loose debris from the roof surface.
    • Power broom – large motorized rotary brush used for thorough sweeping of large commercial roof areas. It weighs 400 to 500 pounds and requires use of a roof hoist.
    • Spud bar (hand) – a long-handled, flat-bladed device used in much the same manner as an ice scraper for chipping and loosening embedded gravel.
    • Power spudder – a motorized device which looks like a rotary lawn mower with steel blades. It removes embedded gravel quickly and completely. It weighs 300 to 400 pounds and requires use of a roof hoist.
    • Garden hose with nozzle – used in conjunction with a hand or power broom for washing and scrubbing the substrate to remove all adhered or embedded dirt and contaminants.
    • Shovel – used for removing aggregate and debris from the roof surface. Choose a sturdy industrial model.
    • High pressure washer – machine to disperse water at very high pressure; used for water-blasting embedded dirt and poorly-adhered material from the roof surface.
    • Vacuum/Hydrovac – Vacuum is a large truck or trailer mounted vacuum cleaner utilizing long, flexible hoses to vacuum loose aggregate from the roof surface. Note: Due to high equipment cost, this procedure is usually subcontracted. Hydrovac is an advanced vacuum which simultaneously vacuums loose material while washing and scrubbing the commercial roof with a rotating steel power broom and water spray attachment. The power broom and water serve to scrub the surface and flush out embedded dirt, which is then vacuumed away. This is a superior cleaning system, which does not introduce an excessive amount of water onto the roof, thereby avoiding delays due to a damp substrate.
    • Backpack blower – a lightweight, motorized air blower which is strapped to the worker’s back, freeing the hands to use the flexible hose to blow loose debris from the roof surface.
    • Air compressor – a large air compressor usually powered by a gasoline/diesel engine capable of producing a minimum air pressure of 100 psi with a minimum volume of 100 cfm. This high air pressure is used to blast loose material and debris from the roof surface.
    • Trash chute – can be purchased or constructed from plywood and 2”x4” lumber. It is used to safely lower trash and debris from the rooftop to the truck or dumpster.
    • Dumpster or truck – a dumpster, which can be rented, or a truck, which can be rented or purchased, is required when removing a significant amount of material from a roof.
    Application Equipment
    • Paint type roller – 9” or 18” paint roller frame utilizing 1” or 1 ¼” nap rollers. These may be used to apply Conklin Roofing Systems.
    • Large paint pan – for use with rollers.
    • Airless sprayer – used for applying liquid coating to the roof surface. It can be used for application of all Conklin liquid-applied roof coatings. The specifications for this sprayer are:

    Capacity Interior paints – minimum of one gallon per minute (1 gpm)
    Roof Coatings – minimum of two gallons per minute (2 gpm)

    Pressure – Interior paints – minimum pressure 2,000 psi
    Roof Coatings – minimum pressure 3,000-5,000 psi

    Nozzle or tip size – commonly .031 to .034
    Set-up and use of this equipment should be accomplished in accordance with manufacturer’s directions.

    • Seam roller – a small hand-held roller, usually silicone free, used to press or roll the Hy-Crown seams together during the welding process.
    • Hot air gun – the electric hot air gun is used to heat weld single ply systems:


    Voltage:                      120 V
    Output:                        1750 W
    Max Temp:                  1250 degrees F/700 degrees C
    Max Air Flow:            15.4 cfm
    Air Pressure:                3,000 Pa

    Motor:                         Brushless/5,000 hours +

    Roof Removal Equipment
    • Spud bar (hand) – a long-handled, flat-bladed device used in much the same manner as an ice scraper for chipping and loosening embedded aggregate and for cutting built-up roof into sections for removal
    • Power roof cutter – a gasoline engine-powered cutter, which is used for cutting existing roofing material into small sections for easier removal. Weighs 100 to 400 pounds and requires use of a roof hoist or an Enforcer that is a walk-behind power machine that will essentially remove the top part of the coating or system.
    • Pry-bar – a long-handled metal bar used for prying up sections of a built-up roof. A spud bar may also be used for this purpose.
    • Shovels – used for removing loose debris from the roof.
    • Roof hatchet – used for cutting existing roofing materials such as built-up roofs into small sections for easier removal.
    • Hand broom – used for sweeping gravel and loose debris from the roof surface.
    • Linoleum-type knife – a stiff, short-bladed knife for cutting asphalt material such as built-up roofs, rolled roofing, etc.

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      Written by: Jonathan Keim
      Jonathan Keim
      Jonathan founded the group 10+ years ago. He brings a wealth of experience in commercial roofing that spans from marketing, sales, product support and much more. In addition to connecting building owners to reputable service providers throughout the nation, he has helped more than 300 contractors expand in the commercial roofing industry.