What Are Roof Jacks? – Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on March 8, 2021 by

A roof jack is a plank used to create a stable, flat surface for you to stand on while working on the roof. This tool is perfect for all roofing projects since it is easy to set up and remove. Steep slopes and unpredictable circumstances can make roofing work dangerous and risky.

Observing safety precautions is vital so as not to get injuries as you work. Roof jacks make it safer and easier to apply the roof.

What Are Roof Jacks Used For?

Roof jacks help you to complete your job without having any accidents. They help you to maintain your balance and safety when fixing roofs. You can use these tools for various roofing assignments. Roofing jacks have metallic hooks curved in one end and j-shaped in the next end. 

The curved end is joined to a large plank or board while the j-shaped end is fixed to the shingles.  A roof jack enables you to stand and move around effectively without the fear of falling. If your roof is fixed with tough shingles, you can use two to three jacks to move on top of the roof easily.

Steps To Using Roof Jacks

Roof jacks are essential equipment that offers a stable work surface for applying your roof. Follow these steps to use them effectively;

Step1. Attaching The Jack

Identify a rafter below the sheathing and feel the nails driven into rafters through the underlayment. Fix the jack into a rafter using 16d nails but not roofing nails. 

Step 2. Securing The Board

Slip a plank that will fit snugly into the jacks (a 2×8 or 2×10 will be ideal). Make sure the board overhangs the jack by around 6-inches on every side. Attach the plank securely to the jack to prevent it from tipping over.

Step 3. Taking Out The Jack

After you are done using the jack, you need to remove it from your roof. Tap up with a hammer to detach the jack from the nails. Slip a flat pry board under the shingle and on top of the nail-head.  Pound the nails down to drive them so as not to poke through the roofing. You can also lift the tab as you nail if it is flexible. 

How Many Roof Jacks Should I Use?

The number of roof jacks you should use will depend on your roof’s angle. If your roof’s angle is 45-50 degrees, you can use two or three roofing jacks. A roof with a steeper angle needs more jacks to improve your balance. You will also require a straight and flat board for proper balance.

How To Use Roof Jacks 

To use the jacks, you need to find a flat and clean part of your roof. Since most shingles could be worn out and may easily break, you will need to place your jacks in the fourth or fifth shingle course. You can easily and perfectly move onto the roof through the dead area with a jack roof coating.

After picking the part, you need to drive the nails, place the roof jacks to the initial jack’s side, and leave about 4-feet in between jacks. Avoid overlapping the nails and test the jacks once you have fixed the planks or boards. The jacks are safe to use if they can support your weight, but you need to adjust the plank if it is wiggling. 

What Is A Pipe Jack On A Roof?

A pipe jack or boot is a pre-formed flange positioned over a vent pipe to close the roof around the vent pipe’s opening. This tool is made of rubber, metal, or lead and is also referred to as plumbing boot/jack or no-caulk or leads.

How To Safely Get To The Roof 

If you want to get to your roof safely without falling or getting injured, you need a ladder. You can either buy or rent a sturdy extension ladder that is about 3-feet above the roof edge. If you are looking for the lightest ladder, go for aluminum, but fiberglass is perfect for better protection from electrocution.

Place the ladder on firm level ground. But if your ground is not even, put squares of plywood under one foot along with the ladder base level. Secure the tool with a rope or wire tied to stakes and fasten the top with a wire or rope tied to a secure anchoring point. You can use a 20d nail driven into a rafter as an anchoring point to prevent the ladder from slipping while you step into the roof.

Here are some basic steps to follow when using a ladder to and from the roof;

1. Do not carry anything with you up the ladder. You can have someone to help you or hoist supplies and tools with a bucket tied to a rope. 

2. Ensure that the top of the ladder extends at least 3-feet above your roof edge. Doing this provides you with something to hang on to when stepping off the roof. 

3. When stepping onto and off the roof, keep your two hands on your tool’s top rung.

Safety Precautions When Working On Your Roof

When working on your roof, you need to observe all the safety precautions to avoid injuring yourself or others. Here are some tips for your safety on the roof;

1. If your roof is high or steep, don’t work on it unless you are a professional. Working on such roofs could cause death or long-life disability.

2. Work when the day is clear, cool, and calm. Avoid wet roofs since they are slippery and may cause you to fall. Do not work when it is windy as this may pose a danger or when it is excessively hot as this may soften the shingles hence damaging them.

3. Ensure that your shoes have a soft rubber for added traction

4. Mark off the ground beneath your working area with a rope. Doing this will let the people below know that you are working on the roof. Call out or look around before throwing anything down to prevent injuring others.

Avoid slate or tile roofs if you are not experienced to prevent damages.

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