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What Kinds of Tools Do Roofing Companies in Vancouver WA Use?

As you can imagine, maintaining rooftops is a big job. It requires a great deal of training, not to mention experience, to perform the tasks required of you effectively. Safety is also an obvious priority, with professional roofers requiring plenty of time and equipment to ensure the job is performed in a safe manner. When you hire a professional contractor from one of the top roofing companies Vancouver, WA, has to offer, such as Interstate Roofing, they’ll arrive with a veritable arsenal of tools for the task. Here, we’ll break down what those tools are and why they’re necessary for roof maintenance and repair:

The Right Ladder

Since a roofer can’t do their job without being able to access the roof easily, the right ladder is an absolute must. Because they often have to access very high areas, it’s common for roofers to bring extension ladders that can reach lengths of 40 feet when fully extended.

Most professional roofers utilize non-self-supporting ladders, of the type that lean up against the roof. However, when it’s used for roofing, the roofer will secure the ladder, generally with straps, to ensure the workers’ safety as they come and go from the roof.

Fall Protection

Working high up is always a risk, even on nearly flat and seemingly safe roofs. That’s why most roofing workers will utilize some sort of fall protection while they’re on the job. Often, this is a simple harness and lanyard, although other fall protection is more sophisticated. Lanyards are connected to rings that are then mounted in a secure area, helping to prevent roofers from falling as they perform jobs that require the use of both hands.

There are several other methods roofers utilize to increase their safety while they work on rooftops. Toeboards give them temporary footholds. These are simply long boards nailed down and removed after the job has been completed. They may set up scaffolds as well, connected to brackets, which are also temporarily nailed into place on the roof. Roofers may also set up rope grabs to hold on to as they navigate their various tasks.

Tool Belt

A roofer is always on the move. They’re darting up and down ladders and from one side of the roof to the other. That’s why roofing companies in Vancouver, WA, supply their professionals with tool belts capable of holding all of the smaller tools they might need to perform the job. This might mean a bag of readily accessible roofing nails, or it may mean a hammer, tape measure, hook blade, or any other small tool the roofer needs fast access to.

The tool belt itself is a specialty item because it has to carry a large number of other tools, often rendering it quite heavy. This means that tool belts should be made of a heavy-duty material as well as properly padded so they aren’t uncomfortable to wear and designed not to interfere with fall protection gear. They need to be designed in such a way that they won’t snag either, as this can pose a large safety hazard for people climbing around on the roof.

Tear-Off Shovel

Most roofs are covered with shingles, which are excellent for protecting the home from wind, water, and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Precisely because they have such a big job, shingles tend to take a beating and occasionally need to be removed and replaced. Sometimes, these shingles need to be removed in large numbers. This is where a tear-off shovel comes in handy.

An item with a long handle and teeth at the end for gripping the shingles, the tear-off shovel can pull out shingles quickly without forcing the roofer to get down on their hands and knees to perform the task. This saves a great deal of time while also having a beneficial ergonomic impact on the task at hand.

Nail Gun

After shingles have been removed from the roof, they must be replaced fairly quickly in order to prevent any water or other damaging environmental factors from seeping in. While it’s certainly possible to nail shingles down by hand, a professional roofer will likely bring a pneumatic nail gun with them in order to make the task go that much faster.

Because the nail gun is pneumatic—that is, powered by air pressure—it must be connected to an air compressor and set to the PSI that the nail gun’s specifications require. The nail gun itself usually weighs only a few pounds and can drive nails in quickly. This makes it perfect for applying shingles in a fast and efficient manner.

Hammer Tacker

One of the biggest parts of the job of a professional roofer is laying down felt. Felt is rolled out and placed underneath the shingles so that it can offer an extra layer of protection. While the shingles themselves are secured into place with roofing nails, the roofing felt is actually held on with staples or plastic caps, depending on if synthetic or traditional felt is used. The felt needs to cover a lot of surface area, being as it is essentially spread over the entire roof, but with the right tools, it won’t necessarily take a roofer a long time to lay it across the roof. A hammer tacker is a heavy-duty instrument that can staple roofing felt down extremely quickly while being held in the tool belt for ease of access and convenience.

 

5 Guidelines for Roof Work Safety

Roofing work isn’t a task for untrained individuals. The risks associated with this work can be grave, and those risks increase when you don’t have proper training. Even when professionals are completing these difficult duties, falls remain the leading cause of death, accounting for over 3,500 fatalities between 2003 and 2013. With so much at stake, it’s imperative that certain precautions are in place to ensure that roof work safety is a top priority.

Interstate Roofing has been in the industry for over 30 years, practicing safe roofing techniques to ensure that both staff and the property they’re working on are as safe as possible. Maintaining that safety takes education, patience, and concrete planning. Here are some of the guidelines that contribute to roof work safety.

1. Assess Potential Hazards

Before performing any kind of roofing work, a professional should assess the roof itself and the area around it for any potential hazards. No matter how much experience you have completing the roof work itself, outside hazards still have the potential of disrupting that work and creating unknown dangers. Things like weak spots on the roof, tree branches, rocks, and other large objects can all be considered hazards. Assessing the area where the work will be done properly beforehand gives the roof worker a better chance at performing their job safely.

It also gives them the opportunity to identify and remove those hazards if possible. They can decide if the hazards are significant enough to affect the work environment, document them in a work plan, and control them as necessary. Environmental hazards aren’t the only thing to be cautious of when performing this preliminary work. Other hazards, such as rusting and faulty equipment, should be assessed beforehand as well.

2. Create a Work Plan

After assessing potential hazards, a work plan should be created. This is another way to ensure roof work safety and avoid the possibility of injury. The information in a work plan will give workers more confidence and direction in the jobs they complete.

This can include tasks such as finding the safest access to the roof area, assessing the materials needed, and confirming that said material is on-site. A plan can also include establishing where any weak spots in the roof are, based on roof owners’ description of damage, and making all workers aware of them.

Because roof work is rarely a one-person job, each staff member’s position for the job should be established before the work begins. Figuring out who will be supervising the work, which steps need to be done, and who will be carrying them out can help to create a more concrete work plan.

3. Complete Fall Protection Training

It’s up to employers to ensure that their workers are prepared for the jobs they take on, and any job that requires workers to work six feet or more above ground level should also require fall protection training. During this training, workers learn information that will minimize their chances of falling. This can be done by using special techniques and equipment, and having the knowledge to know what to avoid. OSHA provides online courses for this subject, which can be beneficial to roof workers to help them become more educated on how to reduce their risk of falling on the job.

4. Check the Weather

There is no worse time to find out that a storm is coming than when you’re on top of the roof. For this reason, it’s important for roof workers to check out the weather before they plan to take action. Skipping this imperative step could lead to danger that might have easily been avoided.

Though big storms can be an issue, they’re not the only weather pattern roof workers should stay clear of. Mild rain conditions can also make the surfaces roofers work on less stable, giving them more opportunities to slip and fall. This is a situation that we are well aware of here at Interstate Roofing since we’re located in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

What may seem like stable conditions on the wet ground can become much less stable on a roof, which is why it can be such a dangerous task for people who aren’t trained properly. One slip could lead to a life-changing or life-ending injury. Dry conditions are the best weather for roof work to be completed, unless you have the proper equipment and materials to make wet conditions safer.

5. Know the Categories of Fall Protection

Since falling is the biggest concern for roof workers, being well-versed in fall protection techniques is important. Fall protection typically slots into one of four major categories: fall arrest, positioning, retrieval, and suspension. Having a basic understanding of these categories is an important aspect of being a professional roofer, and it’s one of the many ways to avoid unnecessary injuries. Here is some more information on those categories:

  • Fall arrest. A personal fall arrest system (PFAS) consists of an anchor point, a body harness, and a lifeline or lanyard. When used correctly, this system can prevent roof workers from free-falling more than six feet, giving them time to regain stability and avoid a life-threatening injury. It’s often used in conjunction with one of the other categories of fall protection.
  • Retrieval. The retrieval category refers to workers having a plan for if a fall occurs. Knowing what the plan is to address this problem beforehand can allow workers to save time in getting the necessary medical assistance to a fellow worker.