Calgary Roofers: A lifestyle

The Team at the Roof HospitalSo what’s it like to be a Calgary Roofer?  And what does it take to become one?  Quite frankly, it takes a lot. Let’s start by describing the typical day on the job for the average roofer in Calgary, perhaps this will give you a good glimpse of the working lifestyle for the people up there working.

We will start early in the morning, just like every other hard working Calgary individual.  A nice crisp morning with a drive to Tim Horton’s and then off to the job site.  The temperature changes quickly for Calgary Roofers while up on a roof top, so be sure to bring lots of layers.  As the day proceeds, you are likely to take off and put on your sweater, jacket or shirt at least once or twice.  And since Calgary’s Chinook winds can bring in strong rains and hail without a moments notice, remember to bring your rain coat and extra gloves so you can change them out once they become wet.  Now that you have arrived at the job site, which changes seemingly every day, you put on your gloves and get to work.

Your first task is to set up all your gear.  Roof forks for removing old shingles, tarps for protecting gardens below, safety gear as needed, tool belt, compressor, nail guns, air hoses and other miscellaneous items you know will be needed throughout the course of the day.  Then up the ladder you go, one story, two story, three stories, as high as you need to go in order to reach the roof area you are working on.  And then time to start tearing off all the old shingles.

The average roof has roughly 5000 – 10,000 nails installed and 7,000 pounds of shingles installed that all need to be torn out by roofers in Calgary one at a time.  So you start tearing, and lifting, and carrying, and pulling until you work up a sweat under the morning sun.  Your muscles begin to flare that old familiar burn, which comes after hours of strenuous use.  You carry load after load after load of old, torn and messy asphalt shingles over your shoulders, back and forth across the inclined walking surface to the recycle bin and your working area.  You slip a few times as the weight of old shingles pushes you and other roofers down the deck inclination towards the roof edge.  The morning passes by, you know this because the sun seems hotter than a moment ago.  Its beams travel across space deep into your pores on the back of your neck at a blazing pace, and it’s time to remove that sweater to reveal the browned and scarred skin of your roofer arms.

After a good lunch break with some fresh water to cool down the body system, it’s time to start installing those products.  The roof deck is cleaned, all nails pulled, eaves troughs cleared out, debris swept off the roof deck, so it’s now time to be off to the races.

It’s a repetitive job, installing shingles with all the underlayers and vents.  The muscles in your forearms are formed and defined to meet the task of placing hundreds of thousands of nails into shingles over the course of the year.  It’s a scorching 25 degrees Celsius on the ground right now, which means it’s at least 30 degrees or more on the roof top.  Asphalt shingles absorb heat and you feel like a sandwich as shingles blow warmth from down up and the sun blares from up down.

You wrap up the final area of open roof deck, and your helpers have finished cleaning up on the ground.  Time to go home, eat, rest and let your body prepare for tomorrow.

The life of a Calgary roofer is a good one.  It brings pride, satisfaction and fulfillment to thousands of people each day.  And it’s not meant for everyone.

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