What Do Residential Roofers Do?

Residential roofers install new and repair existing roofing on single-family homes and multi-unit owner-occupied residences. They need to have high-quality insurance policies, including workers’ compensation and liability coverage.


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Residential roofers install or repair roofing systems on single- and multi-family homes. They must be able to identify and correct problems that could lead to structural damage or leaks in the home. They should also be able to provide a detailed estimate for each roofing job, including labor and materials needed. They may also be responsible for removing safety hazards from roofs and gutters, installing barricades and warning lines, and performing any other tasks required for maintenance of residential roofing systems.

Commercial roofers focus on large-scale roofing projects for commercial and industrial buildings. They may work on low-sloped or flat roofing systems, which require different materials and techniques than residential roofs. They must be familiar with a variety of roofing materials, including asphalt shingles, EPDM, TPO, PVC, and metal. Commercial roofers also need to understand the specific needs of each roofing system and the regulations that apply to it.

Shinglers specialize in installing and repairing asphalt or fiberglass shingle roofing systems. They are skilled in properly aligning and attaching shingles to create a watertight and aesthetically appealing roof. They also perform repairs on fascia, soffit, and gutter systems. These professionals often work with customers to address questions and concerns and explain roofing materials, methods, and maintenance. They should have excellent customer service skills and be able to answer questions clearly and accurately.

Skujins says the best candidates are those who enjoy working outdoors and have a strong desire to succeed in their field. They should be comfortable working on ladders or scaffolding and have an eye for detail when it comes to completing each roofing task. The ability to collaborate with other construction professionals and follow direction is another important skill for roofers. They should also be able to work under pressure and remain focused on their task at hand, despite weather conditions or other challenges.


The specific licensing requirements vary by state, but generally roofers need to pass a trade exam and provide proof of insurance. They might also need to meet other local requirements, such as passing a background check or meeting age or education criteria. It’s illegal in many areas to perform roofing services without a license, and hiring an unlicensed contractor could have legal or insurance consequences.

Licensed residential roofers often have additional training that allows them to understand the technical details of roofing, as well as how to work safely on rooftops. They may also offer services that include roofing inspections and guidance on selecting the best roofing materials for a home. Some also have customer service skills that allow them to explain the process and answer questions.

Residential roofers are required to have a roofing license in New York state, which requires passing a trade exam and having proof of insurance. They can choose to get a limited license that applies only to residential roofing or an unlimited license that covers both commercial and residential roofing. They must also pay a fee and provide a workers’ compensation policy if they have employees.

Some states don’t require a license for residential roofers, but those that do typically have strict requirements. In Massachusetts, for example, roofers must register with the secretary of state’s office, submit an application, pass a roofing exam and provide proof of insurance. In addition, they must have three years of experience and submit letters of recommendation.

Other states have less stringent licensing requirements, but they still have requirements that need to be met. For instance, in Alaska, roofers must pass a law and business management exam and provide insurance coverage, including workers’ compensation. They must also register their business and submit a security deposit.


Most roof installation or replacement projects are guaranteed, at least partially, by manufacturers’ material warranties. These typically cover products against defects or failure for a specific time period, which will vary by manufacturer and product type. Some companies also offer workmanship warranties, which protect the homeowner against problems caused by improper installation techniques or worker error. Look for warranties with lengthy coverage periods, as these will likely provide the best value for your money.

If a residential roofer’s employees are injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance will pay for medical expenses and disability benefits. In some cases, this type of insurance will even cover death benefits. It’s important to choose a roofing contractor with this type of coverage for the safety and security of its workers.

General liability insurance is another key form of protection for a roofing company. It will pay for damages resulting from accidents on a job site, such as when a power tool malfunctions or someone trips over equipment. This type of insurance will also pay for legal defense costs if a client sues over an alleged shoddy repair or unfinished work.

Roofers should also consider getting business owner’s policy and surety bonds as part of their small business insurance package. These policies offer broad protection for the company, including property damage that could occur at the facility where shingles, ladders, and other tools are stored. A good commercial auto insurance policy is also necessary if the roofing company uses cars, trucks, or vans for work. The standard personal auto policy won’t provide this coverage, so a separate commercial plan is required. In addition, roofers should consider obtaining builders risk insurance for ongoing construction jobs.

Warranty or Guarantee

Residential roofers work exclusively on homes, installing new roofs or repairing existing ones. They follow safety guidelines and set up scaffolding to access rooftops, and they transport equipment and materials like shingles to job sites. They also cut strips of flashing to fit into angles and apply different types of roofing products. Roofers may be trained in installing sloped or flat residential roofing systems made of materials from companies like Firestone and GAF. They may also work on commercial low-sloped systems made of TPO and modified bitumen components from manufacturers such as Johns Manville.

A warranty or guarantee is a promise from the seller of goods or services to protect the consumer against defects or malfunctions. These agreements typically have a limited duration and offer a range of remedies, including repair, replacement, or refund. A warranty is not to be confused with a money-back policy, which is a condition of sale that requires the purchase of a product and is usually sold separately.

When choosing a home roofing contractor, consider the length of time they have been in business and their reputation. Ask for references from previous clients and review online reviews to gauge their reputation and expertise. Look for testimonials that highlight their quality of work and customer support practices. Finally, remember that price isn’t the only consideration, as low prices could signal subpar workmanship or materials.

The right residential roofer can ensure that your home is safe and sound for years to come. Choose a qualified professional by conducting thorough research, evaluating their qualifications, and carefully considering estimates and warranties. The tips above will help you select your ultimate residential roofer with confidence.