DIY Roof Pulley System

If you have roofing work to do, you are going to need to carry a lot of heavy materials up to the roof.
Some of these, such as bundles of shingles, can be quite heavy. Instead of going to all the trouble and risk of carrying everything by hand up a ladder, put up a roof pulley system to help you easily and safely bring them to the roof while standing on the ground. You can even construct a roof pulley system to do some of the work for you, allowing you to lift more than you normally can. .

Step 1

Attach the roof tripod to the edge of your roof. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Adjust the shaft on the roof tripod so that it sticks out over the edge of your roof.

Step 2

Measure the distance from your roof to the ground. Double it. Add the height of the roof tripod to the result. Add another 10 feet. The result is the length of rope you need for your pulley system.

Step 3

Attach both clamps to the tripod shaft, one above the other, following the manufacturer's instructions. Clamp one of the tripod clamps around the hook in one of the pulleys. Tie one end of the rope to the other clamp.

Step 4

Thread the rope through the unattached pulley, the one still on the ground. Then thread the rope through the first pulley. The rope will now run from the tripod clamp, where it is tied, down to the ground, around the pulley there, and back up to the tripod, where it wraps around the pulley attached to it. The free end of the rope hangs down from this pulley.

Step 5

Push the hook of the pulley that is on the ground through both ends of the rope hammock. The hammock will now serve as a net for holding the things you wish to bring to the roof. To lift it, just pull on the free end of the rope. Make sure that the hammock is large enough to wrap fully around the largest object you have to lift.

Things You Will Need

  • Roof tripod with adjustable shaft
  • 2 clamps for tripod shaft
  • Measuring tape
  • Rope
  • 2 pulleys with hook attachments
  • Rope hammock


  • This system is built to deliver a 2-to-1 mechanical advantage, which means that it allows you to lift twice the weight you normally can without any additional effort. You could add extra pulleys to increase the mechanical advantage, but this would place very high stresses on the system and could result in dangerous equipment failure. A roof pulley system will see a lot of heavy-duty use, so it is best to err on the safe side and stick with the simpler system presented here.


  • Make sure that each piece of equipment you buy is rated to handle the weight you want to lift. To be safe, make sure that it is rated for twice the weight, to allow for error and accidents.

About the Author

Jason Thompson has been self-employed as a freelance writer since 2007. He has written advertisements, book and video game reviews, technical articles and thesis papers. He started working with Mechanical Turk and then started contracting with individuals and companies directly via the Web.