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Metal Roofing Installation DIY

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Note: We recently posted a complete standing seam metal roof installation guide that covers preparing a roof deck and installing roofing underlayment, installing starter strip, first metal roof panel, field panels, doing sidewall flashing, valley flashing and installing hip / ridge cap.


Contrary to conventional wisdom, metal roofing is far more difficult to install than most people think. Installing metal roofing is not the same as shingling an asphalt shingle roof. Metal roofing panels have to be measured, and cut with great precision to ensure water tightness and integrity of the metal roofing system. The installation of the roof chimney, skylights, valley and wall flashing requires special knowledge, tools, experience and training.

Some of the tools required for a simple metal roofing job include; tool belt, metal shears, metal crimps, chalk line, hammer, tape measure, carpenter’s pencil. As with any roofing installation, you will need to be knowledgeable in the safe operation of the ladder, and roof safety equipment.

In a typical metal roofing system, panels interlock together side by side, and sometimes metal roofing panels interlock on all four sides, as is the case with the metal shingles roof.

Although there are many different types of metal roofing systems, most metal roofs can be divided into two categories: standing-seam metal roof -a modern styled sheet metal roofing panels connected at the sides through a mechanism called a standing seam. Another kind of a metal roof resembles a conventional asphalt shingle roof and is comprised of metal shingles featuring a 4-way interlocking design.

Metal shingles panels are all the same size, which makes it easier to install them. They come prepackaged in a box, and you can easily handle them during the installation. Standing-seam metal roofing panels, on the other hand, vary in size, and are more difficult to install.

Regardless of which metal roofing system you choose to install, one thing is a given: it will be more difficult to install metal roofing than it would be to install an asphalt shingle roof, which generally can be installed by unskilled laborers. The reason for that is that many metal roofing systems feature intricate design that requires all the panels to be installed in a strict geometric relation to each other, in order for the system to work correctly.

Thus, installing metal roofing takes longer, and is quite a bit costlier than installing an asphalt shingle roof.

The first step in installing metal roofing is to prepare the surface. The roofing service has to be free of debris, and the roof deck needs to be inspected for damage, with any rotten boards being replaced.

After that, a breathable roofing underlayment needs to be installed. It’s important to take care and create sufficient tension when installing roofing underlayment. The reason is that we do not want to have a loosely installed roofing underlayment, which will make it more difficult to work on.

Once the roofing underlayment is in place, we can start installing metal trim, which will interlock with the metal roofing panels.

It’s a good idea to practice installing metal roofing on a small shed or garage before taking on the installation of a metal roof for your home. Remember that one of the keys to successful metal roofing installation is making sure that you have attained correct angles and straight lines for the interlocking shingles or vertical panels. Use a color string / snap line to lay out the guide-lines for the installation of metal roofing panels.

Another important point to keep in mind is that you need to know how to use the safety equipment including roof anchors, and safety harness. Finally, never work alone, it would be just plain dangerous, and we do not want that.

Written by Roofing Wiz

November 1st, 2012 at 12:06 pm