roofing tools on asphalt shingle roof
Posted on: July 15, 2021

Nails, a hammer, and some asphalt shingles, that’s all you need to slap a new roof on your house, right? Wrong! Although that’s a good start, there are quite a few roofing tools you need to tear off your old roof and replace it. One of the reasons most people choose to hire a pro instead of DIY’ing their roof replacement (besides the lack of skill, training, and experience) is because of all the different tools and materials you’d need to purchase to get it done by yourself.

Most roofing tools and materials can be found at various home improvement or hardware stores, and like everything in the modern world, there are endless different websites you can order from as well. We’ll cover the 17 most essential tools you need to replace your roof as well as where you can buy them in the list below.

Roofing Tools – The Basics

First, let’s look at the basic roofing tools that any local hardware or home improvement store will have. Most of these basic tools can be used for various projects outside of roofing, so you may already have some of them.


You won’t get very far without this! The length of the ladder you require will, of course, depend on the height of your roof. Any basic ladder or extension ladder that reaches above the roof of your house will do, but there are roofing ladders that have hooks on the end to attach to the edge or peak of your roof. Amazon has a solid selection of roofing and extension ladders to choose from, including the ladder in the image below.

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Most of us should have a hammer lying around somewhere. Farther down the list, we’ll go over nail guns and roofing hammers, but your basic everyday hammer will be used for nailing down single nails or prying them up as you’re taking off the old roof.

Pry Bar

You will need a pry bar for almost any roofing job, but it’s essential for a full roof replacement. Pry bars are used to tear up the old shingles and also to pry up nails.

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Staple Gun or Hammer Tacker

A standard construction-grade staple gun can be found at your local hardware store. A staple gun is an important tool for keeping your underlayment and tar paper in place.

Utility Knife

A utility knife will come in handy for cutting asphalt shingles and other materials. Utility knives are a common tool that can be found pretty much anywhere but if you need a new one, check out this affordable knife on Amazon!

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Tape Measurer

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you’ll need it to measure all sorts of things, from your overall roof size to individual materials.


A regular shovel will do, but you should get your hands on a scoop shovel, AKA a roofing shovel if you can. Once you’re up on your roof, you can use a scoop shovel to push all your old shingles, nails, and debris. This is another fairly standard item, head over to a Home Depot or check out their website here for a great scoop shovel.

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Most of us have one of these lying around. You’ll need a broom to clean off all the debris from your roof after tearing the old one up.

Tin Snips

An essential tool for cutting metal materials like flashing, drip edges, and gutters. Any set of tin snips will do, but Home Depot carries a nice selection at an affordable price if you need a new pair.

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Safety Equipment

Although these are technically not tools, it’s important to mention that you will need steel-toed shoes, safety harnesses, and a hard hat to protect yourself.

Roofing Specific Tools

There are a couple of tools and materials you’ll need that are specific to the roofing industry. You probably won’t have these tools just lying around, but you should be able to find them at home improvement stores in your area.

Galvanized Roofing Nails

You’ll load these puppies into a nail gun and use them to nail down your shingles and underlayment. Galvanized roofing nails are specifically designed for holding shingles down in place. You can order a pack from Lowes here!

Roofing Hammer/Hatchet

A roofing hammer is a specially shaped hammer with roofers in mind. Some call it a roofing hatchet due to its shape, but the flat edge is helpful for prying up shingles and nails. Amazon is a good place to look for a roofing hammer as they may be slightly less common in local stores.

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Chalk Lines

Chalk lines are used in construction and other trades, but most people outside of the trades have never used them. They are used for drawing straight lines across long distances. You stretch the chalk line across your roof, create tension, then snap the string against the underlayment to create a nice even line. Chalk lines are essential for a roofing job. You can find some different options for chalk lines on the Home Depot website.

Magnetic Sweeper

Magnetic sweepers are a larger investment but can be worth the cost if you have lots of materials and debris falling into your lawn. A magnetic sweeper is like a small lawnmower that picks up nails and other metal materials. You can buy a sweeper on Amazon or a home improvement store.

Power Tools/Machinery

Nail Gun

A nail gun will speed up your roof replacement immensely. This is one of the most essential tools for getting the job done right. You’ll primarily use a nail gun as you’re installing rows of shingles. This is also where you load your galvanized roofing nails into. Nail guns can be pretty spendy, but it really isn’t practical to replace your roof without one. You can take a look at some different options on the Home Depot website.

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Air Compressor

We recommend using a pneumatic nail gun which requires an air compressor to regulate the pressure. An air compressor from your local hardware store should do the trick.

Circular Saw

If you run into damaged decking on your roof, you will need a circular saw to cut new decking into the proper shape. It’s relatively common for old roofs to have rotting or damaged decking, and fixing that damage is a must to ensure a quality roof. If you don’t want to spend the money on a circular saw, you can use a regular hand saw at the expense of the time it will take to cut decking by hand.

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New home constructiion project building contractor worker using hand held worm drive circular saw to cut boards

Clearly, re-roofing your house on your own is a giant project that requires tons of tools, materials, and time. If you don’t feel confident about purchasing or using all these tools yourself, give the pros at WISA a call! We’ve owned and operated all these tools for years and have re-roofed hundreds of houses. We’ll give you a free quote and have a new roof on your house in no time!