By Jayden Mark
Few constructions jobs are as challenging as roofing. It takes a special kind of contractor to tackle the dizzying heights, scorching heat, and all sorts of hazards, associated with it. Of all the DIY repairs, the roof is reserved for only the bravest of homeowners. For this type of work, the correct PPE can, quite literally, be a lifesaver. This article is going to focus on one of the most important investments in your safety: the best roofing knee pads.
Anyone venturing up onto a roof for the first time will feel a sense of apprehension. Working at a height of 10-feet, or more, is challenging enough. The angle of the roof, often on a slippery surface, means that you have to be on top of your game at all times
Working on a roof requires that you spend a lot of time on your knees. When doing so, you need to be able to move freely and easily. You certainly don’t want to slip and head careering to ground. Using a knee pad that ensures your safety and comfort, is a really important consideration.
When it comes to comfort, this working environment is more challenging than most. Excessive heat causes fatigue, a roof is usually uncomfortably hot at the best of times. Breathable material, for all safety gear, is of utmost importance. Uneven surfaces can place immense strain on areas that incur the greatest pressure. Both for ease, and general health and safety, you want the best all-round protection.
After reviewing the products, I’ll elaborate on the essentials when choosing the best safety for roofing work. Let’s start by taking a look at the top options for professional roofing contractors and discerning DIYers.
1. NoCry Roofing Knee Pads
Possibly the most popular knee pads, for all types of work and recreational use, No Cry have a massive market presence. I ascribe much of this to the incredibly reasonable price. Despite being among the very cheapest, No Cry knee pads offer great quality and design.
One of the biggest advantages for roofers is the leather no-slip pads. Without restricting movement, these tough pads allow you to scale a slippery incline with total confidence. This general ease is complimented by a refreshingly lightweight design, only 7.2 ounces.
They fit like a dream, surrounding your knee in luxurious, thick EVA foam padding. Made for pretty heavy-duty work, these No Cry knee pads are covered in a highly durable 600D polyester fabric. Not only is this material made to last, it is breathable. Maximum comfort when the ambient radiation from a hot rooftop heads north of 90°. Because of this, they are not entirely waterproof. No big deal, who does roofing when it’s wet.
They are easily washable by hand in warm water. Practicality is also great. Two flexible neoprene straps with reasonably tough, easy to use buckles, fit to just about any size in seconds. They are designed for an ideal size of 10” – 22” and move as you work.
Affordable enough for occasional home use. Durable enough for most contractors, demanding a high level of tough material. Yes there are more rugged products, but not at this price. Not even close. Certainly, great value. No Cry protective gear comes with a lifetime warranty. There is a long list of limitations to this warranty, as one would expect. If you use this product as intended, you should get long hours of comfortable working with no hassles.
2. ProJointz Knee Pads for Work
Industrial grade materials and expert design, place ProJointz among the top options for professionals who will accept nothing less than the best. There are many similar products in the $20 - $25 price range. This one is on the lower end of this cost scale, closer to 20 bucks. Making ProJointz a good value choice.
A ridged plastic cap makes for exceptional durability and better protection from hard and sharp objects. The PVC surface has non-slip ridges for excellent safety.
Under the skin, it has all the comfort and protection that technology has to offer. A generous foam layer, combined with high density gel, are as good as it gets.
Two straps secure it, using high grade industrial Velcro and fits most sizes with ease. Because of the heavy-duty materials, used in abundance, this is one of the heavier products. Fortunately, the 1.5-pound weight is nicely distributed, and the comfortable fit does a lot to negate the bulk and weight.
Many prefer knee protection with a hard plastic cap. You do have an extra sense of security with added protection. Gel is another great way to ensure the good health of your joints. As a high-end product, suitable for demanding professional work, ProJointz is a wonderful choice without spending too much.
3. RFG Gear Professional Construction Flooring Knee Pads for Work
This would be my first choice, not just for roofing, but just about any type of work. RF Gear haven’t used a hard cap, but extra-thick padding makes up for this, and then some. Whilst offering protection against all types of hazards, RFG Gear Professional Construction Knee Pads are wonderfully flexible, allowing you to move with ease.
Possibly the ultimate in protection and comfort, a ¾” gel pocket encapsulates the knee perfectly. This offers exceptional protection, factory rated up to 300-pounds shock absorption.
To ensure the most comfortable fit, it is lined with sumptuously soft neoprene. Even the toughest workman can do with a little pampering. The flexible outer is made from super-strong ballistic neoprene. This is woven, slip-free material, that also allows good airflow to reduce sweating.
RFG Gear Professional has a phenomenal party trick that separates it form the pack. A second piece offers a bunch of loops and two pockets, for convenient tool storage. This can be easily detached, as it is fitted with a heavy-duty zipper. The lower section also has a few tool loops. So you can choose to go low weight, less bulk, with places for only few essential tools, or have the convenience of all the small tools you need within easy reach. This nifty little design feature has won me over. You won’t believe the difference it makes.
The lower section attaches with two, really comfortable and secure straps. The detachable second piece has its own strap. Quick fitting Velcro, makes it super easy to obtain the perfect fit. These are about the strongest Velcro straps I’ve seen. In general, I’m incredibly impressed with general quality.
Even though RFG Gear Professional Knee pads don’t have a heavy ridged cap, they are about as heavy as those that do (1.4-pounds). This gives you an idea of how dense and durable the gel and foam is. This really is one of the best. Priced a little above average, but far from really expensive. I’m happy to pay for this product. Clever design, supreme durability, and wonderfully comfortable.
4. TROXELL USA - Supersoft Leatherhead Kneepads
Troxell is an American brand that has earned the greatest respect amongst professionals requiring top-grade PPE. The Supersoft Leatherhead knee pads are made in the USA. They also have a facility in Mexico, which does some of the assembly, when the US plant can’t cope. Quality control is one of the best in the industry, and only premium grade material is used. This makes it one of the more expensive options. Though most experienced contractors will agree that it’s a worthy investment.
Uncomplicated, and incredibly rugged, these are considered by many to be the best leather capped knee pads. The leather and stitching are as close to perfection as is worldly possible. The design is also truly remarkable.
Whilst providing really solid protection from all hazards, they move completely naturally and fit like a dream. A single wide strap makes sure the TROXELLs stay in place, without bunching or pinching. The fastening band is made from top-grade neoprene and positioned below the knee.
These pads are unbelievably comfortable and easy to use, thanks to a hook and loop design. Really compact, and weighing only 1-pound, it’s easy to work all day without any sense of discomfort or fatigue.
Designed and built specifically for a hardworking professional roofer, carpenter, or HVAC technician, they are also great for flooring. Basically any situation where ordinary doesn’t cut it. For contractors who refuse to compromise on durability, this is a fantastic option.
5. BESKAR Pro Roofing Knee Pads
This is another affordable product, ideal for home use and light to medium duty construction work. They’re very similar to the NoCry offering, featured at the top of the review. The BESKAR equivalent is just as cheap and has the same lightweight design. A good all-rounder with all the essentials required for roofing.
The breathable 600D polyester mesh, with a leather strip for improved traction, is great for safety, durability, and comfort. The knee is perfectly protected by a gel cap. Naturally, there’s enough opulent soft padding to help things along. All this comes in at a fantastic weight of 6.4 ounces.
To keep the knee pad firmly in place, two neoprene straps, with adjustable buckles are used. They are designed for all sizes and the flexible design allows you move with full dexterity.
The BESKAR Pro is excellent in the lightweight category. Great on comfort, full protection, and easy to use. Quality is good, but not really industrial grade. As with the NoCry equivalents, the quality vs price provides exceptional value for money. This product has a lifetime warranty, with the expected list of limitations.
6. COGURD Professional Gel Knee Pads for Work
Nicely priced for a professional product, the COGURD Professional range is perfect for roofing and a multitude of other tasks. They’re built tough and designed for all-day comfort. Though, as with any hard cap knee PPE, they are not as light as the softer designs.
Durability is evident in every aspect. A hard PVC outer shell, take the knocks that come with the territory. The cap has an anti-slip surface, important for this type of work.
The really strong woven material is waterproof, flexible, and held together with reinforced stitching. This contains the voluminous foam layer and gel pocket.
Two comfortable straps keep it all in place, with wonderful balance. Above the knee, a completely flexible upper moves with your leg. The more ridged cap section, is secured by the second strap. These adjust effortlessly to most sizes. At 1.65 pounds, it weighs about what I’d have expected for a heavy-duty product of this nature. The stabilizing design is great for ease of movement and general safety, especially on pitched rooves.
Comparable to any of the mid-priced knee protective gear for professionals, COGURD is a great option. Designed for comfort, it’s easy to work for long hours, in a hot climate. Materials are chosen specifically for their industrial-strength. This is certainly a good choice for contractors.
Safety for Working on a Roof
Whether it’s roof construction, or seasonal maintenance, working on a roof has some very obvious hazards. You need to be aware of this danger at all times. While wearing a safety harness is recommended when working at a height which can be dangerous, it is often not possible on a roof.
Using OSHA regulations as a guideline, any person working at a height of more than 6’ for construction, or 4’ in general, is required to be protected by personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). Of course, these rules can only be applied to professional contractors. Homeowners, doing their own roof repairs, can basically do as they please. You then do so at your own peril.
There are several basic safety measures that we should all consider for roofing:
Much of this can left to interpretation, as roofing safety is not uniform for all types of roofs. Common sense should prevail, and caution is always the best defense. Apart from the immediate risk of falling from a roof, there are other long and short term hazards to consider.
There’s a risk posed by some materials. Sharp objects, like nails and screws, are common for many construction tasks. Falling debris is another. Roofing materials, especially metal sheeting, can be extremely dangerous. Many chemical products used as sealants can cause harm to skin, respiratory system, and eyes.
So we’re talking about a full spectrum of PPE. Since this article has been focused on knee protection, let’s take a look at what is important in this regard. What are the potential hazards that you face, and how important are knee pads for roofing?
Certain medical conditions have been identified as potential hazards from working on your knees for long periods. By natural design, our knees are not intended to carry the weight of our body. Pressure exerted from working on your knees is known to cause arthritis and bursitis. With adequate foam padding, and the extra protection of gel, the risk of long term knee damage is greatly reduced.
Your knees should also be protected from accidental impact, resulting from bumps and knocks. In many cases, sharp objects and rough edges can be the cause of injury. A tough outer layer, or protective cap, can prevent this in most instances. The risk of slipping and falling is ever-present. This makes a non-slip surface on your knee PPE essential for roofing.
Apart from basic safety, user comfort is almost as vital. If your knee protection does not fit securely it won’t stay in place. Knee pads that move around on your leg is more than an inconvenience. It can cause chafing of the skin if you’re working in shorts. An incorrect fit could cause the pad to move completely out of position, leaving the knee totally exposed. This will obviously render the protection useless.
If your knee protection is generally uncomfortable to wear, it will hinder your ability to work properly. Soft padding helps in this regard. You also want your knee to move freely and unrestricted. This requires a good deal of flexibility in the design.
The straps need to provide a secure fit without restricting blood circulation. For roofing, a breathable material is a great advantage. You’re working in above average temperatures which is, at best, a discomfort. Heat fatigue can become dangerous, especially when there’s a risk of falling from a hazardous height.
The bottom is line is to stay alert, be safe and always wear the correct PPE.