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What Is A Roof Jack?

What Is A Roof Jack?

Roofing can be dangerous, but there are many tricks and tools you can use to stay safe on a roof, including roof jacks. But just what are roof jacks? 

Roof jacks are metal hooks that hold a wooden plank in place. You can then put your feet on the wooden plank to work on a roof safely. To attach roof jacks, you nail the metal pieces to your rafters to make them secure.

You should use roof jacks unless the roof is so shallow that they are not necessary. 

When Should You Use Roof Jacks?

Roofing can be dangerous, but you can minimize the risks by using the right safety techniques and safety equipment. The steeper the slope, the more crucial safety is. Roof jacks are great because they are easy to use and effective. 

Roofing jacks are useful when you are on a somewhat steep roof with shingles. 

The steeper your roof is, the more jacks and wooden planks you need. If it is a 45-degree angle, you might only need two or three, but if it’s steeper, you will need may need anywhere from four to six. 

Do Roof Jacks Work On Metal Roofs?

It depends on what roof jack you use and how thick your metal roof is. Don’t push your luck if you aren’t sure. 

Use the Right Board

Remember that you always need a straight and sturdy board to stand or kneel on. Using the wrong board can be as dangerous as putting the jacks in the wrong way. Never use a weak old board that might break. 

How to Use or Attach Roof Jacks

You use nails to attach roof jacks. First, find a clean and flat area to place the jacks. Remember that old shingles are weak and can easily break.

Find where the rafters are under the shingles. Then, use the nails to secure the roof jack. Use 16d nails as opposed to roofing nails and don't overlap the nails.

Place each jack at least four feet to the side of the last one. Make sure they are at the same height so that the board can be straight. 

How to Place the Board

The board has to be the right size, or it won’t fit securely. A 2×8 or 2×10 should work.

Make sure the board is longer than the distance between the two farthest jacks. It should extend beyond the jacks by at least 6 inches on each side or it isn’t safe. 

Finally, make sure the jacks are attached to the plank securely. Otherwise, the jack could tip over and severely injure you. 

How to Remove Roof Jacks

First, pull up with a hammer to remove the jack. Then, put a pry board under the shingle and pound the nails down flat. 

The nails should not poke through the roofing. Put safety first when you are putting the jacks in place, working on the roof, and removing the roof jacks. 

Types of Roof Jacks

The angle of the roof jack needs to match the slope of your roof. Some roof jacks are adjustable and can be made to fit many different roofs, others have a fixed angle. 

Fixed-angle roof jacks can be for 45, 60, or 90 degree roofs. Some roof jacks are entirely made of steel, and others are a mix of wood and steel. 

Are Roof Jacks Expensive? 

Roof jacks are inexpensive and only cost $10 to $40. 

Roofing Safety Tips

First off, leave difficult jobs to professionals. You might be able to do a reasonably safe job yourself, but don’t work on a high and steep roof yourself without a lot of experience. You could end up injured if you attempt a dangerous job without the right skills.

Don’t Carry Things Up Ladders

When you go up a ladder, carry little or nothing with you. You are more likely to fall if you carry anything. 

Hoist stuff up to the roof using a bucket and a rope. If getting everything on the roof yourself is too difficult, have someone work with you. Don’t attempt a two-person job yourself. 

Don’t Work in Bad Weather

If you work in the rain, you could slip and fall. Re-schedule the work to a day when the roof is dry and there is little chance of rain. 

Don't Work in Bad Weather

Strong winds sometimes knock people off roofs and ladders. If you shingle the roof on a very hot day, you might damage the shingles. 

Falling Objects Are Dangerous

If you accidentally or intentionally drop an object off the roof, it could hit someone on the ground. 

Use a rope to mark an area on the ground and indicate that you are working on the roof. 

If you are about to drop an object, yell that you are about to throw something down. You also should not drop anything that might break, including a roof jack. 

Conclusion to Roof Jacks

A roof jack gives you a platform to put your feet on so that you can work on a roof safely.  You use nails to attach your metal roof jacks to the rafters on your roof. You then put a wooden board across the jacks to create a sturdy platform. 

Some roofing jobs are too dangerous for amateurs. Don’t work on an unusually high or steep roof yourself, not even with roofing jacks. Call professionals to do a dangerous job. 

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.