What Does a Roofer Do?

A Roofer (449A) installs, repairs and replaces roofing systems, including conventional, inverted built-up, single-ply and two-ply modified. They also perform damp, water and weather- proofing along with installing and repairing slate, tile and shingles and resurfacing roofs.

You may find additional information about applicable standards at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website - Construction sector link: www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/construction.

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • reading interpreting drawings, specifications and manuals
  • examining/inspecting roofs and roof surfaces
  • documenting and informing employer/co-workers of roof condition using sketches and diagrams
  • setting up manual and power hoists, determining the weight of the load and using hand signals during lift
  • selecting, setting up, maintaining and operating hand/power tools and equipment
  • being in good physical condition
  • working well with co-workers under deadlines
  • learning and keeping up to date on various materials and regulations

This work is most rewarding for those who enjoy physical exercise, working with their hands, developing special skills, and the security of steady employment.

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

To become a Roofer, you should preferably have a secondary school diploma this is usually required by employers and unions today, but grade 10 is currently the legal minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. Completion of a 4,000 hour apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job and in-school training, before successfully writing an examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification. Related training in High School through co-operative education in construction, or  technical courses is an advantage.

To view the Essential Skills for this particular skilled trade, please click the following link:


What’s Your Future as a Roofer?

Most roofers are employed by roofing contractors on construction or repair jobs. Some roofers are members of unions and work from union halls.

The work is seasonal and workers may expect periods of unemployment due to inclement weather even during the summer months. However, this occupation is less sensitive to economic changes than some other construction trades because there is steady demand for repair work even if new construction is slow. Roof systems require regular replacement every 15 to 20 years depending on the system used.

Roofers may advance to supervisory positions or become contractors themselves. With additional apprenticeship training, they can transfer their skills to other construction occupations such as carpenter or sheet metal worker. Examples of typical employers include:

  • residential building developers
  • building construction firms
  • construction contractors
  • roofing contractors
  • independent contractor

For additional information about this career, check out the construction sector website at: www.CareersInConstruction.ca.

Wage Rate

  • apprentices usually start at a wage rate less than that of a journeyperson
  • this rate increases gradually as you gain competency and skill
  • a fully qualified Roofer can earn anywhere from $13.00/hr to $28.00/hr or more depending on what geographic area they live in, sometimes with opportunities for overtime and benefits


Ask Yourself: Is working as a Roofer for You?

Do you enjoy working with your hands using a variety of tools and equipment?

Yes      No

Would you enjoy working in a job that requires physical stamina, routine lifting of heavy objects in excess of 25 kilograms, working outdoors perhaps during bad weather and often at varying heights?

Yes      No

Are you good at using numbers and performing calculations?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy keeping up with and learning about new technology and materials?

Yes      No

Can you communicate effectively as a member of a team with supervisors and co-workers?

Yes      No

Can you work independently or in a group to get a job done on deadline?

Yes      No

If you answered yes to most of these questions, a career as a Roofer may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Floorcovering Installer
  • Glazier
  • Insulator
  • Bricklayer
  • Painter and Decorator


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