Houses & Buildings

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs


Practical or MechanicalSkill Level 2Skill Level 3

Roofers cover houses and other structures with roof tiles, slates, shingles or steel sheeting to form waterproof surfaces. Future Growth Strong

Roof Tilers study drawings to determine materials, erect equipment, secure waterproof sheets, underlay and roofing material.

Roof Tilers need to enjoy heights, working in the elements and be able to lift heavy material.

ANZSCO description: 3333: Cover roofs with tiles, sheets and shingles to form a waterproof surface. Registration or licensing may be required.

Alternative names: Roof Tiler

Specialisations: Roof Fixer, Roof Shingler, Roof Slater

Roofers may specialise in tiling or installing new roofs, repairing existing roofs or removing old roofs and replacing them.

Roofers' work involves a lot of bending, climbing and lifting. They work outdoors, at heights, in all weather conditions.


Knowledge, skills and attributes

A Roof Tiler needs:

  •  Manual dexterity and a good sense of balance

  •  Strength and stamina to work with heavy tools and materials

  •  Ability to work at heights

  •  Strength to move heavy ladders or set up scaffolding

  •  Desire to do a precise and thorough job

(Source: Your Career)


Duties and Tasks

Roofers may perform the following tasks:

  • look at drawings, specifications and work sites to determine materials required

  • assess risks

  • erect ladders and tile elevators

  • erect and dismantle restricted height scaffolding

  • place roofing underlays over eaves and secure by nailing or stapling to roofs

  • correctly space and nail wooden strips called battens across the roof rafters on which the tiles or other roofing material will be placed

  • lay aluminium, steel or clay tiles, stone slates, wooden shingles or steel sheeting

  • install metal gutters, downpipes and other rainwater products

  • overlap successive layers of tiles and measure and cut roofing material to fit around vents, chimney edges, and the hips and valleys of the roof

  • fix roof flashings (weatherproof covering)

  • fix the ridge caps and gable ends with cement mortar or tech screws

  • handle waterproofing materials, tools and equipment

  • apply protective paint coating systems

  • clear the roof of debris when the job is finished.

Working conditions

Roof tilers generally work a 40-hour, five-day week, but overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines. Those who work for themselves would normally work longer hours including weekends to complete the job as quoted. You'll work outdoors on roofs of varying heights, sometimes from ladders and scaffolds. You must observe safe working practices to avoid falling and injury when working with hazardous materials. The heat can be intense for those working on roof structure in the summer. You'll routinely be required to lift materials and equipment weighing up to and in excess of 25 kilograms.

A Roof Tiler's work involves a lot of bending, climbing and lifting. They work outdoors in all weather conditions.Some travel may be required to get to various work sites.

Tools and technologies

A Roof Tiler may use: Cable hoists; belt elevators; batten trolleys; tile cutters; trimming trays; chipping hammers; bedding frames; nail guns; clouts; nails; cement; flexible pointing binder; trowels; slaters hammer; slate cutter; English/German ripper; etc.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a roof tiler, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship in roof tiling. The apprenticeship usually takes between 36 to 48 months to complete. This course is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card.

Did You Know?

The History of Roofing in Australia:
"In the early days, suitable roofing materials were scarce, but it was found that shingles could be readily made from cabbage tree palms growing close to the settlement in Sydney.

Cabbage Tree Palms
(Source: Royal Botanic Gardens

While they were easy to work, these shingles were not very durable and soon gave way to thatching with reeds and the use of layers of bark tied down with battens.

Roof thatcher
Roof Thatcher

 Following the discovery of a suitable clay soon after settlement, brickmaking was begun, using equipment brought out with the First Fleet. The skill to use it was supplied by a convict called Bloodsworth, an experienced brickmaker who, in addition to bricks, at the same plant burned clay roof tiles, which gave greatly improved water tightness, durability and dignity to the burgeoning public buildings.

Rusty Old Shed

Corrugated iron appeared on the scene in the early part of the 19th century and while it was a relatively inexpensive and simple way of providing effective protection against the elements, its wide and often careless application and maintenance has left rust-stained and dented scars from one end of Australia to the other."
(Source: Technology in Australia)







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