Anyone who’s spent even a day working in the roofing industry knows it can be a grueling and exhausting job. Without the proper training and tools, it can be even more difficult than it needs to be. As with any labor-intensive job, you want to be able to make things as simple as possible without having to do more than you have to.

This mostly comes down to the quality and size of the tools you’re bringing to the job site. No one wants a pair of metal snips breaking on them mid-job and they definitely don’t want to be messing up cuts that will have to be re-done. That’s a waste of time and effort. Size matters quite a bit when it comes to roofing tools as well because you don’t want to be carrying unnecessary equipment up and down a ladder when there are more compact options available at the same or higher quality.

Obviously, you’re looking for the best possible tools for the best price, but when it comes down to what tools you need that depends on the type of roofing job you’ll be doing. There are two very popular roofing styles. Those are sheet metal roofing and slate roofing. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Sheet Metal Roofing vs Slate Roofing

What’s better, a sheet metal roof or a slate roof? That is a question that is asked by home and building owners across the country and even up for discussion by members of the roofing industry. The short answer is that neither is better than the other. They each have benefits that make them unique. Which one is the better choice depends on the location and what type of building the roof is going on. It’s also just a simple matter of preference. If you like the way one looks over the other, that may be the deciding factor for you.

Benefits of Sheet Metal Roofing

When it comes to sheet metal, it is widely regarded as one of the strongest and most durable materials when it comes to roofing. Sheet metal is sturdy and it won’t crack or chip like other materials like slate. At least, not nearly as easily.  Out of all the popular roofing materials, sheet metal is among the most trustworthy.

Another aspect that goes hand in hand with the durability of the roof is the geographic location that this roof is being placed. Even in the most extreme weather conditions, a metal roof’s longevity is what makes it a next-level roofing material. These roofs can certainly hold their own. They’ve been known to last up to half a century. So if you live in an area known for bad weather or extreme conditions, you may want to consider a sheet metal roof, just for its strength alone.


There are plenty of common roofing problems that may arise with many different roof materials. Things like termites or mildew can really do a number to your roof and cost you a pretty penny in the meantime. Luckily sheet metal roofs don’t allow things like this to pass through. You don’t have to worry about termites eating away at your roof or mildew and mold building up to create a disgusting and potentially dangerous atmosphere. Not to mention, you’ll save money in the long run by knowing that your roof is safe and secure.

The money you’ll be saving doesn’t end there, however. The cost of the materials alone is cheaper than buying slate. Slate roofing is one of the most expensive materials you can buy, so saving money with sheet metal is obviously a huge benefit. Depending on the kind of steel sheet metal could get into borderline expensive territory, but it still shouldn’t be nearly as much as steel

Though all roofing jobs require hard work and physical labor, many believe that sheet metal roofing is a much simpler process than working with slate. Slate roofing can be highly technical and requires someone with a lot of experience and knowledge of the industry to get the job done right.

Lastly, using sheet metal is also a great way to be environmentally responsible. Sheet metal roofing is environmentally friendly because most materials used are completely recyclable. When it comes time to replace your roof (if you ever even have to) you won’t have to worry about any materials going to waste. So you can use cheap, durable materials, and still, keep an environmentally clean conscience.

Benefits of Slate Roofing

Like sheet metal, Slate is also extremely durable. Depending on where you get your material from you may have some slate that can last up to a century. It is strong and may outlast the fasteners that were used to assemble it. A slate roof is a classic choice and has long been known to be one of the sturdiest roofing materials.

Slate roofing is an extremely difficult trade to master. So for the one assembling a roof, hearing you’re working with a slate roof may not be a pleasant sound for your ears. However, for the buyer, it’s always reassuring to know that you’re working with a professional roofing expert. Usually, only those that are knowledgeable about the craft are able to efficiently install a slate roof.

Slate roofs are made of completely natural materials. The natural slate rock that they’re made from are metamorphic rocks that are cut up to assemble many different shapes and sizes. The best part about an all-natural slate roof is that it’s completely safe for the environment. It is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly roofing option.

Slate roofs are known to be long-lasting. Once a slate roof is installed on your own it will likely not need to be replaced in your entire lifetime. This is not the case with some other cheaper materials. A slate roof can last years while maintaining the same appearance that it had when it was installed.

You can increase your home’s resale value with a slate roof. Slate is generally considered to be a natural and beautiful material. It can increase the beauty of your home and the resale value overall based on the natural look alone. The other benefits of slate roofing like the durability or resistance to fire and mold will also aid the high resale value you should be able to get for a slate roof home. It also is resistant to water absorption and frost damage as well.


Must-Have Roofing Tools

The tools for a roofing job should be quality products that won’t break, fall apart, or perform poorly when you need them. Work smarter, not harder, and get some efficient equipment that can make your life a little easier. Obviously, the tools needed will differ depending on whether you’re installing a slate roof or a sheet metal roof. Here are some tools that every roofer should have based on the material they’re working with.

Sheet Metal Roofing Tools

Metal Snips

Metal snips, also known as tin snips, are an extremely important tool when it comes to sheet metal roofing. They are specifically designed to cut sheet metal, but they come in many different shapes and sizes depending on what type of cut you are trying to make. There are circular snips, pelican snips, combination snips, and more. To make a proper cut with precision you’ll need the proper snips for the job so make sure you know what you’ll be doing before buying a generic pair of snips.

Tinner’s Hammer

A tinner’s hammer is in pretty much every sheet metal roofer’s arsenal. It is a multi-use tool that is extremely versatile. One popular kind of tinner’s hammer is the PVC tinner’s hammer. These come in various different sizes for different purposes, but the PVC material is durable won’t marr the panels you’re working with. There are also setting hammers, polishing hammers, and stretching hammers. You need a hammer that is lightweight but can still pack a punch. It should have a comfortable hand that can conform to your hand and feel right when you’re working.

Sheet Metal Benders

Portable metal benders are also extremely important for those that don’t want to be dragged to a shop. The verbiage of a roofer may get lost on some that aren’t in the know of the roofing industry. For those that are skilled roofers, you likely already know that there are single and double locks and you’ll need different metal benders depending on the degree of bend you’re looking to achieve.

Mechanical Lock Seamers

Clearly these tools only apply to those installing a mechanical lock style roof. There are hand seamers and power seamers with plenty of options for both depending on what you’re looking for. Tools like the Stortz Accuseamer, a lightweight drill powered seamer, can make all the difference when working on a sheet metal roof with mechanically locked panels.


Slate Roofing Tools

Slate Hammer

Like with sheet metal, a hammer is also needed when working with slate roofing. However, slate hammers are a bit different from tinner’s hammers. A quality slate hammer should be built with precision striking in mind. It can be used with a stake to cut slate, and usually has a pointed end to punch holes for nails as well. As long as it’s a durable and sturdy hammer that has these features it should be perfect for use.

Slate Cutter

Obviously, you are going to need something that can cut through the natural slate. There are plenty of options for this. They include a mounted cutter, a handheld cutter, or a power cutter. Depending on your preference or what you need to do, each can be extremely helpful. In most of our slate roofing starter kits, we recommend the Stortz 95-A Slate Cutter. It’s the perfect,  lightweight cutter for making straight cuts on slate tiles.

Slate Ripper

On our site, we also have three different options of slate rippers. We have our Stortz heavy-duty rippers, our Stortz standard rippers, and other rippers. Our heavy-duty ripper is the strongest on the market. It features a reinforced handle that makes it that much easier to strike down with your hammer and remove slate nails.

Slate ripper in use

Slate Hook

Slate hooks come in different materials. You can get a copper, stainless steel, or black anodized slate hook. The black anodized hooks come in the regular size and a slightly larger size. Slate hooks are used when repairing a slate roof. Essentially you’ll need one to install replacement tiles. These are not very expensive items, but they are necessary if you’re used to doing repairs.

There are plenty of benefits to each material of roofing and there are specific tools for each that are highly recommended for each job. Hopefully, after reading this you’ll know what you need to get your specific roofing job done quickly and efficiently. If you are looking for roofing tools of any kind, from metal snips to slate hooks, you can find them right here on our website.

Our site is a convenient one-stop shop for all roofing professionals that are looking to buy some equipment that can help make their lives just a little bit easier. Whether it be switching over to a power tool and away from more traditional roofing methods, or just upgrading that old hammer that’s been rusting away in your toolbox for a decade, you can find all your roofing material needs here at Stortz.