Equipment and Tools

Roofsmart Pad Overview

What are Roofsmart Pads?

Roofsmart Pads were designed by a veteran roofer to both help protect roofing tiles from damage and help keep workers safe.  Roofsmart Pads are constructed with ABS plastic and a 1.5 inch foam pad.  Each Roofsmart Pad measures 24×40 inches and weighs about 14 lbs. Additional accessories including a ladder brace (for ladder stability and gutter protection), steep step, and utility box are also available.
roofsmart pads review
roofsmart pad size

How do Roofsmart Pads work?

The large surface area combined with the thick foam cushion spreads weight evenly over the roof surface to help prevent roof damage. The foam cushion on a Roofsmart Pad grips into rough surfaces to prevent the pad from slipping.  The ABS plastic shell attached to the cushion provides a strong, stable surface for walking, sitting, and storing materials. 

roofsmart pad foam

Who are Roofsmart Pads for?

Roofsmart Pads aren’t just for roofers.  They are ideal for anyone accessing a roof including painters, handymen, solar installers, siding installers, satellite dish installers, pest control, masons, chimney sweeps, general contractors, and more.

What types of roofs do Roofsmart Pads work on?

Roofsmart Pads can be beneficial in protecting from roof damage on most types of roof including tile, slate, shingle, metal, cedar, and flat roof systems. For steeper slopes, use the included tie-off points to help hold the pad in place, especially on metal, tile, or slate roofs with smooth surfaces. 

The Roofsmart Pad can also work as a non-slip base for ladder use on the ground or roof.

Are Roofsmart Pads safe?

Roofsmart Pads are VERY safe, but only if used as intended. The Roofsmart Pad is not intended to replace other safety practices. Fall protection should always be used when accessing a roof.  Tie-off points are integrated into the Roofsmart Pad to be used for additional safety.

Are Roofsmart Pads durable?

The top shell of the Roofsmart Pad is made with durable ABS plastic.  The 1.5 inch foam pad that contacts the roof surface is thick enough to provide long-lasting protection.

Do Roofsmart Pads really work?

Yes!  Roofsmart Pads effectively spread weight evenly over the roof surface to help prevent roof damage.  The Roofsmart Pads are also excellent for holding tools and materials and keeping them from damaging the roof.  When used on rough roof surfaces at a safe pitch, they will help prevent workers and roofing materials/tools from slipping off the roof.

How can I purchase Roofsmart Pads?

Roofsmart Pads are available in contractor packs of various quantities and can be purchased directly from their website.


4 Best Roofing Hammers

Here is a selection of some of the best and most popular hammers for roofers.  This list includes the best roof hammers for shinglers and the best slate roof hammers.

Because these hammers vary in style and use, they are listed in no particular order.  Pro and cons, along with reviews can be found by clicking the link at the bottom of each description.

1. Stiletto Titanium Lathe Axe (hatchet)

best roofing hammers


Although not usually listed as a roofing hammer, the Stiletto Titanium Lathe Axe (also listed as a lather’s hatchet) is popular with shingle roofers because of its light, sleek design (and because it looks like an impressive weapon).

With the combination of titanium and fiberglass, the hammer head weighs in at just 10 ounces.  The total weight is 1.3 pounds.  The lathe axe has the comparable striking force of a 24 ounce steel hammer, while putting less stress on your body.

It has a milled finish head with a rubber coated poly/fiberglass handle. The handle is 13 inches long.  This hammer also features a magnetic nail starter.  READ MORE REVIEWS

2. Picard 0079010 Roofer’s Hammer

The Picard Roofer’s Hammer (0079010) weighs in at about 2 pounds and is great for roofing, especially slate roofing. It has a checked head for better grip on nails, and also a magnetic nail set.  The hammer also has a claw for pulling nails. Its main feature is a pointed tip that is great for punching holes in slate.  The body is solid steel and the handle has a comfortable leather grip.  READ MORE REVIEWS

3. AJC Hatchet MWT-005-MH 

The AJC Roofing Hatchet is popular with shingle roofers. It has a magnetic head that works well for installing cap nails.  The head also features a nail puller.  Other features are a shingle guide and built-in knife for cutting shingles and underlayment.  This model has a solid wood handle and weighs 1.64 pounds. READ MORE REVIEWS

4. Stortz Slate Hammer

The Stortz Slate Hammer is designed specifically for slate roof work.  It weights 28 ounces and has a leather handle grip.  The hammer’s head has a checkered face to help grip nails when hammering.  The hammer has a sharp point to punch holes in slate.  It has a double-sided claw for removing nails.  The shank of the hammer is beveled in order to be used for trimming slate. Often a slate anvil is used in conjunction with the hammer.  FIND OUT MORE

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Types of Roofing Hammers

Even with the innovation of pneumatic roofing nail guns, hammers are still necessary in roofing.  There are many different shapes and sizes of hammers available, each with different specific functions.  For residential roofing, four styles of hammers are mostly used.  What type you use depends on what type of roofing you are doing.  Asphalt shingles, slate, tile, and cedar shingles are the most common roofing material for sloped residential roofs, and installation for these materials usually requires a hammer and fasteners.

curved claw hammer

Some common hammer options include smooth face, milled face (to help grip the nail), magnetic nail holder, steel head, titanium head, wood handle, fiberglass handle, steel handle, rubber handle grip, leather handle grip, replaceable heads, etc.

Double-claw Hammer

The double-claw hammer is the most common all-around hammer used in general roofing applications.  straight claw hammer The claw is for pulling nails, or to pry wood or other materials, and can either be straight or curved.  A straight claw may also be used for light demolition.  A framing hammer is usually too large and unnecessary for most residential roofing work.

Roofing Hatchet

A roofing hatchet (small axe) is primarily used for asphalt shingle installation.  The hatchet can be used for demolition.

shingle roofing hatchet

Other features roofing hatchets may have are shingle guides, built-in knife for cutting shingles, magnetic nail holder, and nail pullers.

Roofing Pick Hammer

The pick hammer includes the ability to pull nails, but has a sharpened pick instead of a double claw. roofing pick hammer The pick can be used to punch holes in slate and other materials.

Slate Hammer

While not essential to slate repair and installation, the slate hammer makes working with slate more efficient.  Features include a sharpened pick to punch nail holes, nail puller, beveled shaft to cut slates.  There are different versions for left and right-handed users. A slate anvil is an accessory often used when trimming slate.slate anvil

Slate Roofing Calculator – Slate per Square / Slate Weight

Need to find out how many slate per square?  (A square is the equivalent of 100 square feet) Use the calculator below.  The answer depends on the length and width of the slate, and also the headlap that is used when installing.  The normal headlap is 3 inches, but this may need to be increased when installing on a lower slope roof.  When calculating how much slate you’ll need for a project, don’t forget to add additional slates for waste!

How much does slate weigh per square?  It depends on the size of the slate.  On average, slate (measured at approximately 1/4 inch thick) weighs between 700 and 800 pounds per square.

slate roof weight

Per square, smaller roofing slates actually weigh more than larger slates and come in at around 800lbs/square, while larger slates (12×24 inches) weigh about 700lbs/square.

Slate sizes can start as small as 6×12 inches and be as large as 16×24.  (Some thicker slates can be much larger—and heavier!)

Slate Per Square Calculator

Two columns

Slate Per Square Calculator

Total Summary

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OSHA Roofing Contractor Safety Standards Compliance Summary

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a US government agency regulating workplace safety.  If you are a roofing contractor in the United States, with at least one employee, you are required to abide by OSHA safety standards.  If you work alone, you are not required to abide by OSHA standards.  If you have no employees, but use other roofers  as sub-contractors or independent contractors, you are not required to comply to OSHA standards.  OSHA only regulates safety standards for companies with paid employees.

Roofing business owners who fail to comply with OSHA safety standards could face stiff fines.  Fines may increase with continued failure to comply.

Here is a basic summary of some OSHA standards roofing company owners need to be aware of. *Note: This is only a summary, not a complete guide.

Fall Protection

Fall protection must be provided for any employees working at a height of 6 feet or more from a lower level.  Workers must be trained in fall protection by a competent person.  Employers need to certify that workers have been trained.

Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)

A fall arrest system prevents a worker who falls from contacting a lower level.  The system must be set to prevent a worker from falling more than 6 feet.  The system must be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs. per worker and be installed by a qualified individual.

Fall Restraint System

A fall restraint system is designed to prevent a worker from reaching the edge of a work area.  It must be capable of supporting at least 3,000 lbs.

Guardrail System

A guardrail system can be set up around the perimeter of the work area and around roof openings.  The top rail must be 39 to 45 inches above the roof surface.  The guardrail must be able to withstand 200 lbs of downward or outward force.

Other Protective Measures

Safety Monitor

On roofs that are 50 ft. wide or less, a competent person may be used as a safety monitor.

Warning Lines

Warning lines can consist of ropes, wires, or chains at least 6 feet from the roof edge, and must be flagged at least every 6 feet.


Protective covers may be used over skylights and other roof openings.  The cover must be capable of supporting at least twice the weight of employees and equipment and marked with the word “HOLE” or “COVER” as a warning.

Ladders, Scaffolding, Lifts


Ladders must be regularly inspected for physical defects.  Ladders must only be used on stable, level surfaces.  A stable, level surface may need to be created to prevent sliding or shifting.  The areas around the top and bottom of the ladder must be kept clear.  The ladder should not be set up in a high traffic area unless secured and/or protected by a barrier.

Ladders must be set at a proper angle, and workers must not carry anything that may cause them to lose their balance.

Stepladder may only be used in the fully open position.  Workers may not use the top or the top step as a step.

More on ladders here:


Only trained workers may install, alter, or dismantle scaffolding.  Safe access must be provided.  Each platform must be fully decked.  Workers on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level must be protected from falls.  A guardrail is acceptable.

Workers must be protected from falling objects such as tools and materials.  The area below the scaffold should be barricaded and toeboards should be installed on the platform at heights above 10 feet.


Only authorized and trained workers should operate aerial lifts and forklifts.

Electrical Safety

Workers should be trained in the area of electrical safety.  Overhead electrical lines pose a common risk for roofers.

Building Integrity

An employer is responsible to ensure that the building and roof structure will maintain the weight of all workers and equipment.

Tool Safety

Workers must be trained in the proper used of tools.  Tools should include all necessary guards, shields, and safety attachments.

The following protective equipment should be used when operating certain tools and working under certain conditions:

Eye and Ear Protection, Gloves, Hard Hats, Work Boots, Highly Visible Clothing

Roofing Operations

Proper training and precautions are required when working with hot tar, open flames, torches, propane tanks, and flammable materials such as adhesives.  Fire extinguishers should be within 50 feet.

Hazardous Substances

Employers must be aware of, and protect their workers from the dangers of these and other hazardous substances:


Asbestos may be found in insulation, and roofing and siding product on older homes.


Lead-based paints may be found on wood and metal on older structures.


Silica may be found in concrete and cement roofing tiles.

Vapors and Fumes

Other contaminants may be released during demolition or come from work materials such as adhesives.

Weather Conditions

Employers are responsible to protect their employees from the hazards created by weather.  This includes trauma related to heat and cold, and the dangers of inclement weather such as high winds, rain, snow, and ice.

Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

Worker must be trained in proper procedure in the event of an emergency.  If no hospital or other medical assistance is available within reasonable distance from a jobsite, a person trained in first aid must be available, along with accessible first aid supplies.

More reference materials here: and



Roofing Equipment

Roofing Tools and Equipment

Good, reliable roofing tools and equipment are critical for any roofing contractor.  Some tools end up collecting dust or costing more time or money than they are worth.  It is important to research the equipment and tools you want to purchase to make sure they are safe, reliable, and worth the investment.  Here is a list of various articles, reviews, and links to roofing-related tools and equipment:


Tools Needed For Roof Repairstools needed for roofing

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Equipment & Accessories


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Choosing a Roofing Vehicle

Ladder Racks


Bostitch vs. Makita – The Best Roofing Nail Guns

If you have ever hand-nailed a shingle roof, and then used a nail gun, you will know the huge difference this tool will make in production time when used properly.  Roofing nail guns are pretty much essential to any roofing trying to compete in the asphalt shingle market.

Here is a comparison of two of the top roofing nail guns on the market.  Roofing nailers take a lot of abuse, so it pays to invest in a quality roofing nail gun.  Both Bostitch and Makita make durable, high performing roofing nailers that will help you get a shingle roof installed fast!

BOSTITCH RN46-1 3/4-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Coil Roofing Nailer

The Bostitch RN 46 boasts the ability to drive up to 100 nails a minute.  It is constructed with magnesium for maximum durability.  The Bostitch allows for 2 firing methods, and has drive depth adjustments.  The nailer weighs in at 4.8 lbs and comes with a 7 year warranty.



Hitachi NV45AB2 7/8-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Coil Roofing Nailer

At 5.5 lbs, the Hitachi is light, but still slightly heaving than the Bostich.  The Hitachi has a nice side-loading feature, and also includes a quick-drive feature, allowing faster installation of roofing nails.  The Hitachi comes with a 5 year limited warranty.


The Best Roofing Tools

Here is a small list of some of what The Roofer’s Helper’s considers the best roofing tools:

The Stortz Medium Duty Slate Ripper

Slate Ripper

My Stortz slate ripper has lasted over twenty years.  It is a great tool not only for slate repair, but also for shingle repair and tile repair.  I can’t see any roofer effectively removing slate without one of these.  I have also used the heavy duty version, but I prefer the medium duty.

The Stortz Slate Cutter

slate cutter

This Stortz slate cutter is very well built and makes cutting slate a breeze.  It also has a built in punch that works great even for thicker slates.


Bostitch Twin Blade Utility Knife

bostitch dual blade knife

I love being able to to have both a straight blade and a hook blade available for instant use in the same knife.  My knife has lasted almost 5 years so far with no issues.

Malco A1 Scratch Awl


This scratch awl by Malco is very sturdy, and perfect for punching holes in slate.  I also use it to pre-punch a hole in roof deck when the wood is so hard, the nails are bending.  The bright orange color is helpful when I drop the awl off of the roof and have to find it in the bushes.

The Shingle Eater


I am not a fan of asphalt shingle roof tear-offs, but when I have to do one, I really prefer The Shingle Eater.  I have tried a number of other shingle removal tools, but I like the strength and leverage I get with The Shingle Eater.

Foam Cushion (any brand)


A foam cushion, either purchased new, or recycled out of an old couch, is a great “tool” for roof repairs.  It is especially helpful on steeper sloped asphalt shingle roofs.  It is amazing how well the foam grips into the shingles.  Foam cushions have allowed me to safely work on slopes I would not normally be able to work on.  A few added benefits are the cushion protecting the roof from scuffing, and providing extra comfort.