Author Topic: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?  (Read 1218 times)

jonsuse3129

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Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« on: April 15, 2020, 12:54:28 PM »
Hey all,

Long time lurker, first time poster.

My wife and I recently bought a house that needs some work. One of the primary projects within the next 2-3 years will be a new roof on our garage/gym/workshop. I'd like to do the work myself.

I'm wondering whether it's a good idea to look for work as a part time roofer this summer. The extra income could pay for home repairs and extra savings.

I currently work full time in manufacturing IT. No real risk of a lay off, but diversifying income would definitely help us sleep at night. My wife is currently between jobs.

Our nest-egg is smallish, but our savings rate is currently 60% (not including mortgage principle). I'm 25 years old. We have no kids. Weekly take home pay (after 401k, taxes, and HSA/healthcare) is about $1000/week.

Does anyone think this might be a good idea? I have no experience in construction, but I thought it might be a good opportunity to make some extra cash while learning a skill that doesn't require me to sit in a chair.

Cranky

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2020, 04:59:08 PM »
I think that roofing is not a job Iíd want, and it is extremely hot in the summer. Do roofing companies hire part time workers in the summer, which is their busy season.

If you are interested in doing it, it doesnít hurt to give it a try, I guess. Itís hazardous work.

Fishindude

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2020, 07:44:03 AM »
I think this is a pretty cool idea.   You are young and likely in good health, so why not try something like this, you should have no problem finding such a job.
Might be a nice reprieve to work with your hands and back for a while, and give the mind a rest, get outdoors, away from the office environment, etc.

Dicey

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2020, 08:10:40 AM »
My brother thought so, too. His friend was a roofer and needed help. He swore to my brother that he was fully insured.  Alas, my brother discovered otherwise when he slid off a roof and broke his pelvis.

If you're not going to be dissuaded, know that there is special footwear that has grippy soles to give you improved traction. They don't completely prevent falls, but I wouldn't get up on a roof without them or a harness,, especially with no experience.. DH is frequently on top of other tall structures and wears them every day. His come from Red Wing and his employer pays for them, but I'm sure there are other sources.

Finally, there are so many construction workers out of work right now that I would personally stay out of their way and let them have the work when the SIP orders get lifted.

jonsuse3129

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2020, 08:55:40 AM »
My brother thought so, too. His friend was a roofer and needed help. He swore to my brother that he was fully insured.  Alas, my brother discovered otherwise when he slid off a roof and broke his pelvis.

If you're not going to be dissuaded, know that there is special footwear that has grippy soles to give you improved traction. They don't completely prevent falls, but I wouldn't get up on a roof without them or a harness,, especially with no experience.. DH is frequently on top of other tall structures and wears them every day. His come from Red Wing and his employer pays for them, but I'm sure there are other sources.

Finally, there are so many construction workers out of work right now that I would personally stay out of their way and let them have the work when the SIP orders get lifted.

Yeah, I recognize this is all contingent on economics and how things play out over the next few months. My state currently isn't under a shelter-in-place order. One might come into place at the city level, but at the moment, it considers construction workers (including residential) as essential.

Definitely plan to do all due diligence to make sure the company is bonded/insured. Thanks for the tip on the shoes, too. I figured something like that had to exist.

jonsuse3129

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2020, 08:59:50 AM »
I think this is a pretty cool idea.   You are young and likely in good health, so why not try something like this, you should have no problem finding such a job.
Might be a nice reprieve to work with your hands and back for a while, and give the mind a rest, get outdoors, away from the office environment, etc.

Exactly my line of thinking. Learning a new skill + working with my hands + extra cash sounds like a win-win-win to me.

I don't know much about the industry, though. Does anyone have tips on finding a gig? Are part-time positions available in this line of work?

mozar

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2020, 10:19:26 AM »
Are you thinking you can work on weekends? That's unlikely as the trades are usually 7 to 3pm Monday to Friday.  I also doubt they will want to hire some soft bellied IT guy. But if you insist one place to find these kinds of jobs is on craigslist.
If the only reason you are doing this is to learn you can watch youtube videos.

Jon Bon

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2020, 10:21:57 AM »
I think you would be a lot better off working for a plumber or an electrician for the summer. You would learn a ton on a skill that is much more valuable and applicable.

Roofing is one of those projects that I can do but is just not worth doing. It Its hot as hell, dangerous as hell, and really does not save you that much money. Professional roofers are so fast and efficient it is a hell of a value IMO.

But I have heard worse ideas. If your goal is to learn to do your own home its not a terrible idea. My guess is you will be doing a bunch of tear off and bundle carrying very little of nailing shingles to the roof.




former player

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2020, 11:50:02 AM »
If your wife is between jobs why isn't she the one thinking of working as a roofer this summer?

Fishindude

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2020, 12:27:23 PM »
I don't know much about the industry, though. Does anyone have tips on finding a gig? Are part-time positions available in this line of work?

All the trades are starving for help and roofers pretty much work daylight to dark every day they can during good weather, because they are forced to sit home during the bad weather.
If you're reliable, I'm guessing you could pick up work with a reputable roofer whatever hours you can be available.   New guy will get the crummy work; tear off, toting bundles, clean-up, etc. but that won't hurt you.
The good roofers follow OSHA regs and tie off when they are on the roof.  I'd look for one of these outfits.

Dee18

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2020, 12:46:11 PM »
I had a roommate who was getting a Phd in epidemiology.  He came home from a seminar one day and informed me that being a roofer was one of the most unhealthy occupations in the world.  Aside from the obvious problem of trauma from a fall, he said the chemicals roofing materials are made of and the particulates you inevitably breathe are bad for your lungs.

former player

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2020, 01:10:50 PM »
I had a roommate who was getting a Phd in epidemiology.  He came home from a seminar one day and informed me that being a roofer was one of the most unhealthy occupations in the world.  Aside from the obvious problem of trauma from a fall, he said the chemicals roofing materials are made of and the particulates you inevitably breathe are bad for your lungs.
Is that in the world or in the USA?  It fascinates me that houses in the the USA has these lightweight roofs that have to be recovered every so often.  In Europe there are some flat roofs (typically on small domestic extensions or large commercial buildings) that use ashphalt and need regular replacing, but most main domestic roofs are tile or slate and built to last - and apparently avoid poisoning roofers at the same time.  (There was a trend in the 1930s of using artificial tiles with asbestos in them.  A local roofer told me that even these were not particularly dangerous to roofers, who are working outside with materials below them - asbestos risks are higher for trades working indoors and drilling overhead.)

jonsuse3129

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2020, 03:41:10 PM »
I think you would be a lot better off working for a plumber or an electrician for the summer. You would learn a ton on a skill that is much more valuable and applicable.


Thanks for the tip. I have been working under the (perhaps false) assumption that there would be more hoops to jump through to work with a plumber or electrician. Do you think that's true? Or, would it be about as plausible as finding something roofing?

jonsuse3129

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2020, 04:03:35 PM »
Are you thinking you can work on weekends? That's unlikely as the trades are usually 7 to 3pm Monday to Friday.  I also doubt they will want to hire some soft bellied IT guy. But if you insist one place to find these kinds of jobs is on craigslist.
If the only reason you are doing this is to learn you can watch youtube videos.

My desk job is Asian-adjusted hours (4pm - midnight, Sunday through Thursday), so I'm thinking I could put in morning hours and/or full days Fridays and Saturdays. I can say from experience that the roofers in my area don't stop working at 3 pm on Friday.

Also, who are you calling soft-bellied? :P

If your wife is between jobs why isn't she the one thinking of working as a roofer this summer?

My wife works in healthcare, so it's a good bet she'll be gainfully employed (and unfortunately, likely working overtime) for the majority of the summer.

Fishindude

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2020, 07:42:50 AM »
I had a roommate who was getting a Phd in epidemiology.  He came home from a seminar one day and informed me that being a roofer was one of the most unhealthy occupations in the world.  Aside from the obvious problem of trauma from a fall, he said the chemicals roofing materials are made of and the particulates you inevitably breathe are bad for your lungs.

I would bet a guy on a roof out in the open air nailing down shingles is breathing fresher / cleaner air than your buddy in a lab somewhere.
The type of roofing that stinks and puts out fumes is the old hot mopped coal tar type they used on flat roofs, and very little of that is used anymore.

Greystache

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2020, 08:59:59 AM »
It's hard to imagine a less desirable way to earn some extra cash.  I have worked some really crappy jobs in my life ( farm labor, sanding wood floors, painting houses and roofing). Without a doubt, roofing was the worst. Not only is it hot, physically demanding work (don't forget, roofing is not just nailing down new shingles, it also includes tearing off old roofs) you get the added opportunity to fall to your death. 

Dee18

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2020, 09:45:40 AM »
The epidemiology studies were, I believe, all done in the U.S.

MayDay

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2020, 06:38:25 AM »
I don't know much about the industry, though. Does anyone have tips on finding a gig? Are part-time positions available in this line of work?

All the trades are starving for help and roofers pretty much work daylight to dark every day they can during good weather, because they are forced to sit home during the bad weather.
If you're reliable, I'm guessing you could pick up work with a reputable roofer whatever hours you can be available.   New guy will get the crummy work; tear off, toting bundles, clean-up, etc. but that won't hurt you.
The good roofers follow OSHA regs and tie off when they are on the roof.  I'd look for one of these outfits.

Agreed. Go to one of the main shingle manufacturing websites (Owens Corning is the one I am familiar with) and look for certified roofers in your area. They are required to follow the safety precautions to be listed. You don't want to work for someone who isn't following safety precautions.

Based on my parent's experience, people will pay almost twice as much for their roof from the legit companies compared to the ones who aren't following safety procedures and probably don't have insurance. I was surprised it was that big of a difference but maybe I shouldn't be. (My parents paid the premium but many of their neighbors did not).

Dicey

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2020, 10:26:22 AM »
Just asked DH about his shoes. He said to look for Slip Resistant Soles and to get steel toes. They are a lot heavier, but you do get used to them. I have to add that another consideration is how well your body handles heat and if you have skin that's more prone to skin cancers, i.e. very fair or freckled. You are going to be doing heavy, dirty, sweaty work under a relentlessly hot sun. Long sleeved cotton shirts, brimmed hats and sunscreen are also going to take on "Essential" status.

Physicsteacher

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2020, 10:57:50 AM »
I think you would be a lot better off working for a plumber or an electrician for the summer. You would learn a ton on a skill that is much more valuable and applicable.


Thanks for the tip. I have been working under the (perhaps false) assumption that there would be more hoops to jump through to work with a plumber or electrician. Do you think that's true? Or, would it be about as plausible as finding something roofing?

You are correct that there are far more hoops for getting into working with an electrician. My husband is a journeyman electrician. While licensing varies by state, here you might be able to get hired as a part time temp hand, but you would not legally be allowed to do any wiring or use tools. You would be grunt labor carrying heavy things, and that's about it. In order to actually gain the experience you seek, you would need to be hired as an apprentice, often after a probationary period as a temp hand, and attend classes one night a week while working full time in the trade.

Car Jack

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Re: Worth looking for work as a roofer this summer?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2020, 05:05:01 PM »
I haven't worked for someone else as a roofer, but re-roofed my first house and did the shingles on my stand alone garage.  It ain't easy.  A tarp can blow off the roof in a rainstorm when you're visiting friends a state away and that dripping from the ceiling is indeed a bad thing.  Have roof jacks at a minimum (keeps you from falling completely off the roof) or the harness and a way to secure lines.  Shingles are freaking heavy.

We had our own house roofed over the end of the summer.  The crew was really good.  The entire job was video'd start to finish from multiple angles.  The crew had an electric jack to bring shingles from the ground up to the roof.  The workers did work from sun rise to sun set.  It's work that I'm no longer interested in doing myself.  Really, really not interested.