Roofing equipment has come a long way over the past 100 years. At one time, all roofing operations, from fastening sheets and felts to spreading and lifting gravel, were done by hand. This required a great deal of time and hard effort on the part of the roofer. Today, many of the procedures have been made easier by the use of mechanized roofing equipment. In order to build a roof successfully, and safely, the roofer must know how to operate and care for all the equipment.
Felt layers and gravel spreaders are two examples of machines that have helped to make the application of built-up roofs quicker and less strenuous. Machines are now available to apply the flood coat and gravel in one operation. Although this procedure is well suited for large jobs, hand operations are still required on most small jobs. Even on large jobs, application around skylights, equipment curbs, flashings, and parapet walls still require hand operation. Machines can never replace the skill of a trained roofer entirely, but can, if used properly, make their job physically easier.