A roofer's work ranges from re-slating a roof, to restoring lead sheets on an old building.

What does a roofer do?

You would mainly work on either flat or pitched (sloped) roofs using the following methods:

  • sloped roof - slating and tiling, using traditional or synthetic slates or roof tiles
  • flat roof – fitting felt sheets or spreading a waterproof bitumen layer (known as built-up felt roofing)

Typical tasks include:

  • removing or repairing broken tiles or slates (stripping)
  • checking the roof timbers are sound
  • measuring and cutting materials to the correct size and shape
  • recovering the roof - laying strips of felt onto timbers, then refitting rows of tiles or slates
  • cutting and fitting lead flashings around chimney stacks and adjoining walls
  • sealing roof joints with mortar, for example on ridges and hips to make jobs watertight

You might also be trained in more specialist roofing techniques such as leadwork, which involves covering a roof using lead rolls (often seen on churches) and thatching, where you would use natural materials to cover a roof.

You usually work on jobs with other craftspeople, such as joiners and plumbers.

What do I need to do to become a roofer?

Working as a roofing labourer is a common way into this career, as it will give you the on-site experience employers often ask for. Once you’re working, your employer may be willing to give you further training in roofing techniques.

You may be able to get into this career by completing an apprenticeship with a building or roofing company.

Another option is to take a college course in general construction skills or more specific training, such as the Level 2 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling. These would teach you some of the skills needed. Employers may still ask for some site experience

Related skills

  • Ability to understand technical plans
  • Numeracy
  • Physical fitness
  • Teamwork

Vocational route

  • Apprenticeship with a building or roofing company
  • College course such as Level 2 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You would work at heights, using ladders, scaffolding and safety equipment. You would travel from site to site, and some jobs may require overnight stays away from home.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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