When it comes to driving nails into roofs, many seasoned roofers still prefer a roofing hammer and hatchet; and that is despite the nail gun’s advanced technology. These specialized tools feature unique traits that carpenters think makes them more efficient compared to a nail gun.
For a homeowner, on the one hand, such features are typically ignored. And their preference is often about whether a tool is convenient to use and time-saving instead.
Are you one of them?
If yes, this article will then help you understand why roofing hammers and hatchets are every roofer’s best choice.
What Is a Roofing Hammer?
A roofing hammer or a roofing hatchet is a specialized tool used primarily for driving nails into roofs. It is a roofer’s most recommended tool due to its unique features that ordinary hammers cannot do.
It can, for instance, claw off roof tiles, shakes, and even cut shingles. It has gauges that can help roofers find the correct exposure of shingles too. The tool also comes with magnetized faces that aids roofers in picking up stray nails.
But it is not just simply a hammer with unique traits.
A roofing hammer is also known for its accuracy as well as effectiveness in terms of securing nails into roofs.
What Makes It Unique?
There are several good reasons why most professional roofers prefer a roofing hatchet over a nail gun. It is because aside from the features (the ones mentioned above) a traditional roofing hammer has, new designs allowed manufactures to add a few more useful features.
And these are:
- Metric gauges. If you are working with shingles that have larger exposures, modern roofing hatchets come in handy. Some new designs come with adjustable gauges and can even work with shingles with 5 inches exposure and more.
- Shock holders. Hammering produces vibrations that may shock your hands. So, to protect your hands, modern roofing hammers are built with special materials like titanium to reduce vibration.
- Nail holders. Aside from its magnetized faces, some new designs come with a built-in magnetic nail holder. Such a feature can help you stabilize a nail, particularly in an unusual and hard-to-reach spot.
- Shingle removal tools. Traditional roofing hatchets can already cut shingles. Modern ones, on the other hand, feature new claw designs that can help cut shingles faster and easier. Some hammers even come with extendable claw.
Four Common Roofing Hammers
While there are several roofing hammers with new designs today, it is still crucial to know the traditional hammers roofers use. That said, here are the four common roofing hatchets carpenters use:
- Roofing hatchet. Also known for its small axe-like appearance, a roofing hatchet is a tool used mainly for the installation of asphalt shingles. It comes with a built-in knife for cutting shingles, nail pullers, and a magnetic nail holder.
- Double-claw hammer. The double-claw hammer is an all-around and widely used roofing hammer. While its appearance resembles an ordinary hammer, the double claw is used mainly for general roof work.
Its claw, for example, is used to pry wood and other materials. It can also be used for pulling out nails. The claw can be either curved or straight as well, and a straight claw can be used for light cutting.
- Roofing pick hammer. Unlike the double-claw, the roofing pick hammer has a sharpened and pointed pick. But despite such a feature, it can still pull out nails. It is utilized mainly for punching holes.
- Slate hammer. As its name suggests, a slate hammer is a specialized tool used primarily for making general slate work more effective. Its features include a sharpened pick just like the roofing pick hammer, which is used for punching holes. It also comes with a bevelled shaft to cut slates as well as a nail puller.
However, it would not do much when it comes to slate installation and repair.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Roofing Hammer
Now that you know the basics of roofing hammer, let us talk about how to choose the best roofing hammer for you.
- Shock absorption. The first thing you should consider is the roofing hammer’s shock absorption. Professional or not, roofing, in general, is laborious and requires hours of work. And continuously pounding nails for hours produce vibrations that spread, which may hurt your hands up to the elbow.
- Type of handle. A roofing hammer’s handle is not only made of one but three types of materials. And depending on the material, the benefit varies.
- Steel hammer. If you are looking for durability, a roofing hammer with a handle that is made of steel is a perfect choice. It is because compared to its wooden counterpart, a steel hammer lasts longer. The only catch is that its shock absorption is weak, unlike the ones with wooden handles.
- Wooden handle. While roofing hatchets with wooden handles are not as durable as steel hammers, their shock absorption is strong and remarkable. Roofers swear by their easy and comfortable grip, which are crucial aspects especially if you are doing roof work almost every day.
- Fiberglass. Unique as it is, a roofing hammer with a fiberglass handle is unfortunately not durable as steel and wooden hammers. On a good note, it is lightweight and comfortable to carry.
- Weight. It is uncomfortable when your roofing hammer is too heavy. As such, make sure to check the weight first. You can test it too by swinging it and see which one is comfortable to carry. The standard weight of a roofing hammer ranges from 2o to 30 ounces.
The Best Roofing Hammer
A roofing hammer is an essential home building and improvement tool that homeowners like you should have at home. You cannot depend on home building professionals all the time. And it is particularly true—and handy—for small roof repairs, as well as those that need immediate attention.
As such, make sure you have one in your home. If not, go get your first roofing hammer now!