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How To Install A Metal Roof: Step-by-Step Guide

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Leroy Whitt

Are you ready to join the metal roofing revolution? More and more homeowners are ditching their asphalt shingle roofs for long-lasting and eco-friendly metal roofs. Whether you want standing seam panels or metal shingles, you may be tempted to save a few bucks and perform the installation yourself.

While it’s always encouraged to have a trained professional install any type of roof, you can still try your hand. Keep in mind that this is an advanced project that poses a risk of serious injury, so only attempt it if you feel 100% confident and able.

Check out our 7-step guide to learn how to install a metal roof!

Step 1: Measure Your Roof and Obtain Materials

You’ll need to start your metal roofing adventure by accurately measuring your roof. This part can be tedious and tricky, especially if you have many valleys and gables on your roof.

You’ll need to find the square footage of your roof by following these steps:

  1. Measure the rake (the point from the ridge to the outer edge of the eaves).
  2. Measure the width of the roof from one side to the other, including the eaves.
  3. Multiply these two numbers to get the area of one side.
  4. Multiply that total by 2 to get the total square footage of your roof.

Once you’ve calculated your roof’s square footage, order the appropriate amount of roofing supplies, and add an extra 10% for security. Take the measurement of your rake so that you can order metal panels long enough. Order roofing screws at the same time so you can color match.

how to install a metal roof measuring

Do your research into the type of metal roofing you want. There are a handful of different metal materials, colors, and styles you can choose from. Corrugated steel standing seam panels are the standard choice.

In addition to the metal roofing panels and screws, you’ll also need to obtain the following materials before continuing the project:

  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing nailer or hammer
  • Circular saw
  • Roof underlayment
  • Drip edges
  • Hand seamer
  • Roof panel closure strips
  • Ridge cap
  • Pry bar
  • Roof sealant
  • Sturdy ladder
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Safety harness

Step 2: Remove the Old Materials

In order to have a functioning roof, you’ll need to perform a complete tear-off of your old roofing materials. This is an arduous, time-intensive task, so don’t underestimate how long it will take. If it’s just you and one other friend working on your roof, and you’ve never torn off a roof before, this could take you the whole day.

how to install a metal roof removing old roof

Start at the top of the roof and remove the old shingles by prying them off with a pry bar. Pull nails as you work your way down. Be sure to remove the old flashing, underlayment, and vents as well.

It’s a wise idea to rent a roll-off dumpster and place it near the edge of your home. Then, you can push the old materials into the dumpster more easily.

Step 3: Replace the Roof Deck if Needed

Now that you’ve removed your old shingles and underlayment, your roof decking should be exposed. Roof decking is commonly made of plywood and can often last for decades.

However, your roof deck isn’t invincible. Be sure to thoroughly inspect it for any signs of rot, including:

  • Discolored darker spots
  • Black, white, yellow, brown, or gray discolorations
  • Wood feels spongy and weak
  • Crumbling or cracking wood
  • A musty smell

A rotten roof deck must be replaced immediately. If you run into this issue, tarp your roof to protect it from rain and debris, and pick up plywood roof decking from the store. You’ll likely need to saw the plywood to fit each section of your roof.

Step 4: Install the Drip Edge and Other Flashing

The drip edge is one of the most important components of a complete roofing system. It’s a specific type of metal flashing that gets installed along the roof eave edges to divert water off your roof and into your gutters.

  • Start at a corner, and have the first drip edge piece overlap the edge by 1 inch.
  • Use your hand seamer to bend the end of the drip edge and wrap it around the corner.
  • Each new piece of drip edge should overlap the other by 3 inches.
  • Apply caulk or roofing sealant tape at the seams.
  • Every 12 to 16 inches secure the drip edge with roofing nails.
  • If gutters are installed on the eaves, the drip edge should overhand the lip of the gutter by 1/2 inch.

The drip edge isn’t the only type of flashing you’ll need to install on your roof. You’ll also need flashing for the following areas:

  • Roof valleys
  • Skylights
  • Vents
  • Chimneys

Be sure to purchase the correct type of flashing for each area and install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Install the Underlayment

Once you’ve verified that your roof deck is in good condition and you’ve installed your metal flashing, you can move on to installing the roof underlayment. Underlayment is also referred to as the ice and water shield.

You can purchase felt or synthetic underlayment. Both materials help protect your roof and home from water damage, but synthetic underlayment is often thought to be a more reliable product.

how to install a metal roof underlayment

To install the underlayment, you’ll simply peel and stick the material onto your roof deck. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions included with the specific underlayment you buy.

💡 Pro Tip: Make sure your roof deck is clean and dry before installing the underlayment; otherwise, it won’t perform as needed.

Step 6: Install the Metal Panels

Now that you’ve prepped your roof with decking, underlayment, and flashing, you can move on to the star of the show— the metal roofing panels. Metal roofs are known for their durability, so you need to be prepared to use more elbow grease when you install metal roofing compared to asphalt shingles. 💪

how to install a metal roof drilling panels

First and foremost, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the metal roof panels you purchased. Their instructions may differ slightly from ours.

  • Start working from the bottom at your eaves and work your way up to the roof ridge.
  • Make sure you work square to the roofline so you don’t end up with a crooked metal roof!
  • Overlap the metal panels as you go, and apply caulk or sealant tape at each intersection.
  • Secure the panels with metal roofing screws, but don’t overtighten them.
  • If the metal panels are too long, cut them to size with a circular saw.
  • Continue adding and overlapping the panels until your entire roof is covered.

Step 7: Secure the Ridge Cap

Your roof’s ridge requires special attention. It’s often an area that’s vented, and the vent that runs the length of the roof ridge is called a ridge vent.

You’ll need to install specialized metal roofing materials over the ridge; otherwise, the area won’t be properly protected. The metal piece that runs over your roof ridge is called the ridge cap.

First, you’ll need to install closure strips. If your roof is vented, be sure to get a vented closure strip. If not, you can opt for a solid closure strip instead.

  • Center the ridge cap so that it lays evenly on both sides.
  • Snap a chalk line on each side to indicate where the edges will fall.
  • Set the ridge cap aside, and apply a strip of sealant tape about 1 inch above the chalk lines you marked.
  • Attach closure strips along the tape on both sides.
  • Install the ridge cap on top of the closure strips and press it into place.
  • Fasten the ridge cap with screws.

It’s Not a Failure to Call the Professionals

If your head is spinning after learning about all the steps to install metal roofing, we don’t blame you. Roofing is a complex, dangerous job that requires specialized knowledge. Even if you love to tackle DIY projects, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing your limits and calling the pros instead.

Plus, there are numerous benefits to hiring a professional roofer. You don’t have to purchase your own tools, you remain safe, and you get warranties on your roof! The peace of mind you gain from getting a professional installation is worth it in the long run. Your home and wallet will thank you.If you’re feeling ready to leave this task to the pros, reach out to Whitt’s Quality Roofing. Our experienced and knowledgeable team is well-versed in metal roofing, and we look forward to helping you out. Contact Whitt’s today for a free estimate!

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