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License requirements for residential roofing

Contractors who contract with homeowners to perform only roofing work must be licensed by the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), though they can be licensed as a residential building contractor, residential remodeler or residential roofer (roofing subcontractors are NOT required to be licensed by DLI but they must be registered through the DLI Contractor Registration Pilot Program.) The building contractor and remodeler licenses allow the licensee to perform roofing work without the need for a separate residential roofer license. Roofing contractors who install gutters, downspouts, or soffit and fascia cannot do so with a residential roofer license and must get a residential building contractor or remodeler license instead. The only difference between these two license types is that a remodeler can only work on existing homes while a residential building contractor can work on existing homes as well as new construction.

In deciding which license to obtain, you should consider that the construction section of the licensing exam for the roofer license only includes questions about roofing, while the building contractor and remodeler exams include questions about other aspects of residential construction. However, residential building contractors and remodelers are not required to file a bond in order to get a license; they pay a fee of $470 - $670 each two-year license term into the Contractor Recovery Fund. Roofers do not pay into the Recovery Fund but must file a $15,000 surety bond in order to obtain a license and then provide a new bond when they renew their licenses every two years. Prospective licensees may want to explore the costs and application processes involved in obtaining a surety bond before deciding which type of license to get.

bullet View residential roofer exam information.

For help with questions about whether a license is required, contact the Department of Labor and Industry at (651) 284-5069 to discuss activities and what type of license may be required. Unlicensed activity may result in administrative action.

More information is available under "Residential roofer license" at left.

A residential roofer is defined as a person engaged in the business of doing work on residential real estate (one to four family dwellings, including detached garages) in roof coverings, roof sheathing, roof weatherproofing and insulation, and repair of roof systems, but not construction of new roof systems.

The following are exempt from the roofer licensing requirements:

  • employees or subcontractors of a licensed contractor, remodeler or roofer;
  • material suppliers who do not install or attach the items;
  • owners doing work on their own property (unless they are engaged in building on speculation);
  • architects or engineers doing work within the scope of their practice;
  • people whose annual gross receipts from their residential contracting or remodeling activities are less than $15,000 (gross receipts are defined as the total amount derived from residential contracting or remodeling activities, regardless of where the activities are performed, and must not be reduced by cost of goods sold, expenses, losses or any other amount)*;
  • school districts and technical colleges;

Note: Any person claiming the gross receipts exemption must obtain a Certificate of Exemption from DLI by completing the required application forms (PDF) and paying a $15 application fee. The Certificate of Exemption must be renewed every year. If the person's gross receipts exceed $15,000 at any time during an annual exemption period, they must surrender their certificate of exemption and immediately apply for a license.

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