A professional roofer will own his own hoist or have roofing material delivered by someone who does. But what about the tradesman who occasionally needs to lift shingles and other heavy material to the roof or upper floor of a building?

The videos below show how some inventive folks approached the task. All appear to be DIYers and probably none of them talked to their insurance agents before building and using their gizmos. That said; their solutions are cheap and clever, and safer than many of the things I’ve done or seen being done on construction sites.

The 1-MP (manpower) hoist below is said to have been designed by an engineer, who admits it took longer to build than it should have—but says it was worth it because it saved him from having to carry a roof full of shingles up a ladder. The design is quite elegant, and makes use of some “old elevator roller guides and hatch door rollers”.

The gravity powered hoist below is my favorite because it’s the simplest. As one of the commenters on YouTube points out, it would have been less walking for the guy to put the ladder closer to the hoist. And clearly, there’s a lot of friction in this system. Otherwise, the guy would have dropped like a rock counterbalancing an 80-pound bundle of shingles.

The video below contains the construction details for the gravity lift. They couldn’t simpler: a pair of ladder-like frames, two sliding platforms, and steel cable and pulley’s to connect the pulley’s one to another.

The drill-powered hoist in the video below is the most conventional of the three, in that it relies on a winch and a commercially produced aluminum ladder.