At one time a roofing “hatchet” was the tool of choice. It’s a multi-purpose tool designed to split wood shingles and has a built-in gauge for setting the exposure of each course.
But now days, most roofing is installed with a pneumatic nailer and wood shingles are on the decline due to cost and fire concerns. However, a hammer is still needed for general use on every roofing job.
Here are three basic factors in choosing one…
A Do-it-Yourself Roofing Hammer: Factor #1 – Material
Basically your handle choices include wood, fiberglass, graphite or steel. Each has its advantages, but a steel shank hammer is tough to beat for roofing. It’s the only one that can take all the abuse you can give without breaking.
A Do-it-Yourself Roofing Hammer: Factor #2 – Head Style
The two most common head styles are the curved claw and the straight claw. For roofing you want a straight claw for digging out old fasteners that need to be removed.
A Do-it-Yourself Roofing Hammer: Factor #3 – Weight
Head weights typically run from 16-ounce (which is too light) to 28-ounce (which is too heavy). A 20-ounce head is heavy enough to seat roofing nails with one smack, yet light enough to use all day without wearing you out.
My favorite all-around roofing hammer is an Estwing Model E3-20S. That’s their 20 oz. Rip Hammer. It’s virtually indestructible and carries a lifetime guarantee.