How To Install A Roof Jack On A Low-Sloped Roof

If you plan to work on a sloped roof, install roof jacks. Roof jacks are constructed from thick steel that give you a platform to stand on as you move up on the roof. It is important for a novice roofer to use them only on one story, low-pitched roofs, since there is a chance of them breaking. Here are some tips to install roof jacks for working on low-sloped roofs.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need :

  • extension ladder
  • safety harness
  • tape measure
  • hammer
  • pry bar (optional)
  • 20d nails
  • two by ten foot boards
  • roof jacks (available from hardware stores)
  • roof shingles

You should buy enough roof jacks to make a straight line across the roof bottom. Set a ladder on level ground, or get someone to hold it for you. Find the length of the roof jacks by measuring the eaves from the roof edge to the wall, and they shouldn't overlap doors and windows.

Install the First Roof Jack

Lay roofing shingles until you can no longer reach the roof comfortably from a ladder, which is commonly four or five courses. Position the first roof jack close to the roof edge on a truss or rafter, lift the edge of the shingle, and align the three diagonal slots with the top section of the top shingle.

Place the nail at an angle. Drive the nail in until it is even with the metal, and avoid pounding the nail too far down in the roof, or you may damage the roof. Hammer another nail or two on the bottom of the jack to secure it.

Slide the boards under the hooks or slots on the jack. You should see the lower butt of the rafter or truss at the roof edge. Test the jack and boards to ensure everything is secure, and reinstall the jack, if needed.

Add Additional Roof Jacks

Set the next roofing jack about two to four feet from the first one. Don't place the jacks more than four feet apart, because it will compromise support. Check each jack to make sure it is steady.

As you move up the roof, remove the boards, and give the jack a tap from the exposed area under the slots at an angle to move it upward. Remove the slotted bracket, but leave the nails. Raise the shingle edge, and tap the nails with a hammer to sink them even with the roof. If the shingles aren't flexible, lift them with a pry bar.

Using a roof jack makes working on low-sloped roofs easier. Working on a roof requires following safety procedures. If you don't trust your skill, or your roof is steep, consider hiring a roofer.