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What Is a Roofing Hoist?

A roofing hoist is an essential tool for safely elevating materials to the roof. It streamlines construction by lifting shingles, tiles, and tools, preventing strain and injury. With a roofing hoist, efficiency meets safety, transforming tough tasks into manageable ones. Wondering how a roofing hoist can revolutionize your next project? Let's examine its impact on modern roofing practices.
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A roofing hoist is a device designed to lift heavy roofing materials from the ground onto the roof of a building safely and quickly. A few different types of roofing hoist exist; the two most common designs are the ladder hoist and the swing beam hoist. The ladder model requires a metal ladder on which to operate. The swing beam model mounts directly to the roof of a building and uses a pulley system to lift materials to the roof. Each model prevents the roofers from having to carry shingles and other heavy materials by hand up the ladder.

The ladder roofing hoist is used far more often than other models. A normal aluminum ladder can be used with this system in most cases, as the hoist itself mounts to the uprights of the ladder. It is lifted or lowered using a crank system or a motorized lift system that utilizes cables to pull the heavy loads. The size of the lift, the power of the engine, and the type of ladder being used will dictate how much weight can be lifted at any given time. Just about all manufacturers will list the weight capacity of the system clearly on the machine.

A roofing hoist makes it easier to install shingles on a steep roof.
A roofing hoist makes it easier to install shingles on a steep roof.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the ladder roofing hoist system is its reliance on the stability of the ladder. The roofer will need to ensure the ladder is properly positioned to avoid tipping or wobbling, though sometimes other factors aside from the roofer's initial placement can affect the stability of the unit. If the ladder is unstable, the materials being lifted may also become unstable and fall, potentially leading to damage of the materials or the ground, or to injury of any bystanders on the ground.

A swing beam roofing hoist is suitable for lifting heavier loads to greater heights. Such a system is usually used on larger buildings instead of on residential homes, and this system is generally used on flat roofs rather than peaked ones, though not exclusively so. One inherent problem with this design is the need to haul the components of this often large machine onto a rooftop. This can be difficult, and set-up of the machine can take some time. Once it is set up, however, the swing beam roofing hoist will be able to haul extremely heavy loads of materials, and it will generally be able to lift loads to a greater height.

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Discussion Comments


@JimmyT - I was thinking the same thing. I have seen a lot of roofs being replaced in my life, but have never noticed shingles and equipment being pulled up with any kind of hoist. I would almost swear that where I live I see a lot of guys just carrying shingles up the ladder on their shoulders.

How much does one of these hoists cost? The crank system, especially, doesn't seem like it would be a costly investment, but maybe I'm wrong. I'm also curious how much weight a normal ladder can carry. It seems like unless the weight is well centered, the whole thing could be very unstable by the time it got to the top of a two or three story house.


There is a lot of roof repair going on in my town right now, but I haven't noticed the ladder hoists being used. I guess maybe I'm just not very observant. I'll have to keep a lookout for the hoists, since I'm curious to see what one looks like.

I have seen the swing beam type in use on large buildings, though. They seem to be especially common during large restoration projects. How is one of these mounted in place? To be able to lift so much weight, it seems like it would almost have to be mounted to some type of internal support.


What is the normal system for large, residential houses? Several of the homes around me are three stories, and have fairly steep roofs. From this article, it sounds like it would be difficult to use the ladder hoist given the distance, but the swing beam might be difficult to mount.

On particularly large buildings, I have seen roof scaffolding used. Is there some way that they could mount a hoisting system onto the scaffolding?

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    • A roofing hoist makes it easier to install shingles on a steep roof.
      By: Glen Jones
      A roofing hoist makes it easier to install shingles on a steep roof.