September 22, 2023

How to Install Metal Roofing

Residential Metal Roofing 101

install metal roofing

If you are the kind of homeowner who takes pride in their home and likes to keep it in top shape, then you may be interested in installing a metal roof the next time your home requires a new roof.

A metal roof is likely to be the last roof you will ever have to install, which is a great selling point for a lot of homeowners considering that it costs a lot of money to have a new roof professionally installed, regardless of whether or not you go with metal. Unlike an asphalt shingle roof that is likely to fail within a decade or two, if you are lucky :), a properly installed metal roof can well last a lifetime of your home, and then some!

But, I must concede, that the key to a truly reliable and long-lasting roof is the quality of installation. In other words, your new metal roof may well fail within just a few years, if it was not installed properly. – This means that you really have to do your due diligence in vetting and screening the contractor/installer before you entrust your roof and your home – your most sacred possession – to any metal roofing specialist crew.

With that being said, be sure you get to see the actual work of the company in question, as well as talk to the homeowners to see if they are truly happy with the product and the service they have received. Make sure you ask if there were any leaks after the roof was installed, and whether or not, there were any problems with the installation whatsoever. Be sure to trust your gut, and if you are not comfortable with the company in question, then keep on looking for the company and the crew you can trust and feel completely at ease with.

After having been involved with metal roofing for well over a decade, I have come to see all sorts of roofing disasters where a metal roof was butchered, or installed incorrectly. – These metal roofing nightmares may have never taken place, had the homeowners done proper vendor vetting before signing the contract.

Suitable Systems

There are several types of metal roofing systems that may be appropriate for your home; Metal Shingles, Metal Shakes, Metal Tiles, and Standing Seam / vertical panel sheet metal roofing are all viable options with concealed fasteners that are ideal for a residential property.

A corrugated metal roofing system may also be considered a low-cost alternative, but make sure that you are aware of the following before you choose to go with this more affordable option:

  1. Corrugated Metal Roof has one inherent disadvantage – exposed fasteners that may become loose and require a professional re-tightening. The rubber gaskets in between the panel and the screws/fasteners may dry out and shrink, which would require a professional replacement.
  2. Because it is a cheaper system, it is often made out of thinner-grade steel with less than the best coating. For instance, G-60 galvanized steel is not as good as G-90 galvanized steel.
  3. Corrugated steel does not always have the best paint finish, be sure yours comes with a Kynar-500 equivalent vs. a cheaper acrylic paint finish that is likely to get dull and chip away, with time.

For Do It Yourself Warriors

If you cannot afford the cost of a professional installation, then a corrugated steel roof would be the easiest one to install. if that is the route you decide to go, be sure you obtain and follow manufacturers’ installation requirements, which may include the caulking of the overlapping / joining seams in between the corrugated metal roofing panels.

You will need a variety of basic tools in order to get the job done. Some of the tools you may want to have ready include the following; a properly fitting leather tool belt. A roofer’s hammer, a level, a color string/line, metal sheers, a crimping tool to bend the sheet metal as needed, a tape measure, and a stripping tool if you have to tear off the existing roof. You will also need a safety harness with a rope, an anchor, and special screws to secure the anchor.

You will obviously want to have all the necessary materials readily available including system-appropriate nails, flashing details, roofing felt / underlayment, and special nails with plastic caps to secure it in place. Non-slip shoes should be worn, and a safe and secure ladder should be used.

It is recommended that you first practice the installation steps by installing your choice of a metal roof over a small garage or a shed. This way you can get a good feel for what it may be like when you take on a larger project such as your home. It is also recommended that you get a building permit if you do not want to get fined by your city hall and get a job stop order. If you are going to work on a ladder or on top of the roof, then you will have to use fall arrest equipment.

You have to do this for the sake of your own safety, and because OSHA can fine you thousands of dollars if they catch you on the roof without the safety harness that is properly attached to a safety rope, which is also properly anchored to the studs on both sides of your roof. In other words, this can be a really involved process, if you want to do it right, and it just maybe something that should probably be left to the professionals. It does get quite technical, not only in terms of the actual installation procedures but also in terms of all the safety requirements.

The steps above are universal for any metal roofing system. It is recommended that you start with the most basic one such as corrugated sheet metal roofing that may be a good start if you would like to hone in on learning the basics by starting small.

A more popular standing seam metal roof would be the most difficult to install, especially if you have a rather complicated roof. However, if you have a simple gable roof such as a shed or garage with a relatively low slope, then it may be manageable to do it yourself, or with a help of a friend.

Never Work Alone

Regardless of which system you set out to install, make sure that you never-ever work alone! It is much easier to work with a helper, especially when you need to handle longer panels, but more importantly, it is the first rule of proper safety on the roof; Safety in, and have somebody who can call for help if need be.

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