Did you know that there are 500 roofers in the Denver, Colorado area alone?
That left me wondering, what it takes to become a roofer in the United States. I learned that to become certified to work as a roofer in Colorado you only have to prove you possess a certain amount of on-the-job experience. That’s it.
And the amount of experience the state deems sufficient varies on a case-by-case basis. Not to mention these roofer’s usually don’t have much experience beyond installing simple asphalt shingles. A little terrifying if you want to do something rather than asphalt shingles. I found this bit of information even more interesting when I spoke with Michael Schojer from Specialty Roofing, also known as the GERMAN ROOFER!
In Germany, roofing is a real art.
Someone looking to become a roofer in Germany must complete a three-year apprenticeship under a Master Certified roofer—a Master Certified roofer has completed six years of formal roofing training, the same amount of schooling it takes to earn a Master’s degree in the United States!
Michael Schojer obtained his three years of formal training at the prestigious Lorenz Burmann Roofing School in Eslohe, Germany, near his hometown of Hagen.
There he learned advanced roofing techniques working with slate, tile, and other ceramic roofing materials.
Why is so much training required to become a roofer in Germany?
Slate and tile are Germany’s roofing materials of choice and are a great deal more difficult to install than asphalt shingles. It is also much more important than the roof is installed correctly, as incorrectly installed tiles can be quite dangerous. Tile roofs have been the norm in Germany for hundreds of years, and as such, Michael Schojer learned his trade from the experts. He knows well the various ways tile and slate can be used to achieve beautiful and durable roofs. Having worked on tile and slate roofs for over thirty years, Michael Schojer is a true professional when it comes to quality roof construction, not just a guy with a few hours of “on-the-job experience.”
Why use Specialty Roofing?
- Although many associate tile roofs with only certain styles of homes, because tile roofs are so much more common in Europe, Erlus (the company Michael uses) offers a diverse selection designed to fit with the most modern to traditional home styles.
- The most surprising factor is price. Even after accounting for shipping, German clay tile costs approximately one-third of what you pay for American clay tile.
- The typical slate roof in the U.S. is extremely heavy because of the installation methods used. Because of this, fewer homes can take the additional roof weight necessary, as well as the additional costs associated. Where a typical U.S. slate roof weighs almost 10 pounds per square foot, a German slate roof, even though the thickness is the same, weighs only 6.8 pounds per square foot.
- Another difference can be seen in how materials are attached to a roof. Where many roofers use caulking guns, Michael uses traditional soldering and brazing methods known to provide durability and strength.
- It’s also important to find a roof that works well in your climate. With Colorado’s ever-changing climate conditions, water absorption can make a big difference. “The typical wood shake roof has a water absorption rate up to 33%, which can almost triple the roof’s weight. In comparison, with both ceramic tile and slate, the absorption rate is less than 1%,” said Michael.
- And when it comes to fire protection, there’s absolutely no match for the safety of clay tile.
- Using a world-leading corporation named Cosella-Dorken, Specialty Roofing uses breathable roof underlayments that are highly effective in keeping a roof’s insulation dry.