metal roof installation with worker in orange shirt

Everything You Need to Know About Metal Roof Installation: Step-by-Step Guide

Trying to learn more about metal roof installation?

If you’ve found yourself here, you’re either a professional roofer trying to level up their metal roofing knowledge or a savvy homeowner looking to weigh their options. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. This essential metal roofing installation guide will walk you through the steps, materials, and various dos and don’ts of metal roof installation.

What is the Benefit of Installing a Metal Roof?

The answer to this broad question is: there are many benefits! Metal continues to climb the ladder of roofing materials chosen by homeowners today. Metal roofs come in many forms now beyond just panels. You can even get metal shingles that look like any standard shingle roof but with the strength, beauty, and longevity of a metal roof. Other benefits include:

  • Long lifespan of 40-70 years!
  • Low maintenance apart from regular inspections and keeping it free of debris
  • Unique curb appeal— your neighbors will be jealous
  • They are very energy-efficient. A metal roof reflects the sun’s rays and can keep cooling costs down in the hot summer months and in the winter because it is a natural insulator. Homeowners can see savings of up to 40% annually.
  • Metal roofs are made of up to 30-60% recycled content and 100% recyclable at the end of their lifespan.

These are just a few of the many benefits of a metal roof, and if it’s in your budget, we highly recommend making this long-standing investment with great ROI.

close up of house getting a new metal roof installed

What Do I Need to Install a Metal Roof?

Before installing a metal roof, there are some vital roofing tools and materials you’ll need to start. As these aren’t your standard asphalt shingle roof, your basic roofing nailer and underlayment may not cut it. But don’t fret— we have a comprehensive list for you.

  • Aviation snips
  • Butyl Tape
  • Carpenter’s Pencil
  • Chalk Line
  • Drill/Driver
  • Eave Trim
  • Fall Protection Harness (Try this one voted the best value)
  • Gable Trim
  • Hammer
  • Hand Seamer
  • Ice and Water Shield
  • Inside Foam Closure Strips
  • Metal Roofing Panels
  • Metal Roofing Sealant
  • Metal Shears
  • Nail Puller
  • Outside Foam Closure Strips
  • Ridge Cap
  • Roofing Nails
  • Roofing Vent Boots
  • Self Tapping Roofing Screws
  • Sidewall Flashing
  • Speed Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Tin Snips
  • Utility Knife

And of course, you’ll need your metal panels which you can purchase from big-box retailers or the manufacturer of your choice. And as always, safety first. Be sure to have safety goggles, proper non-slip shoes, and at the most, a roofing safety harness kit.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Metal Roof Installation

Now that you know all the metal roofing tools and materials you’ll need, it’s time to tackle the project. Below we’ve outlined the steps for a metal panel roof installation on a newly constructed home or as a total roof replacement.

Workers installing the metal sheet roof by electrical drilling machine. Selective focus on the drilling tool while building the roof

Step 1: Measure Your Roof

The first thing you’ll want to do is measure your roof. This will help determine how much material you’ll need, and you can set your budget before you begin. This is vital for both contractors and homeowners. You need to know you can complete the project without any stalls.

Step 2: Roof Tear Off (Not Applicable for New Construction)

If you’re replacing an old roof, you’ll need to completely tear off the existing roofing material. This will take some time, and you may need to hire a dumpster or have a plan for disposing of all the waste.

Once the old roof is off, you should inspect to ensure you’re placing a new roof on top of a sound roof decking. Make any repairs if necessary during this time.

Step 3: Apply the Underlayment

The roof’s underlayment is your tightly sealed ice and water shield that prevents leaks into the attic and provides an excellent, solid base for your roofing panels to lay on top of. This step is vital to keeping your home sealed and protected from the elements. When installing the underlayment, make sure to lay it flat, pressing out air bubbles and wrinkles for a smooth surface.

Step 4: Pre-cut Panels if Necessary

Order your panels to fit and cut to size before you begin. This can save a ton of time during installation. Just do your math right and be sure to not cut more than you need or get too far ahead of yourself.

Step 5: Bend Your End Trim Pieces

Your trim will have an end piece on each corner of the roof— these need to be bent to fit around the corners. This can be easily done with your aviation snips or tin snips and bent with the metal seamer. This will be done on any piece that meets a corner, including your eave trim, gable trim, and ridge cap.

Step 6: Fasten Your Eave Trim/Drip Edge

After your panels are cut, you’re ready to start installing. Begin at the eaves (the lower part of the roof that overhangs the face of a wall) and work your way up.

Start by nailing on your eave trim or drip edge along the edges of your roof. You’ll want to use 1-1/2″ metal roofing screws placed every 6 to 8 inches along the trim.

Step 7: Fit Your Trim Pieces Together

Your trim piece will likely not be long enough to go the entire trim length. So you will overlap each piece, sealing with roof sealant or caulk in between before screwing it into place. This ensures a watertight seal and keeps them from slipping out of place.

construction workers bring up a piece of metal roof to installl

Step 8: For Even Installation: Create a Square Reference

A square reference is a roofing technique that measures an initial 3-4-5 triangle area and then expands to the entire size of the roof. For example, your large-scale triangle could measure 20 x 27 x 34 feet if your roof area is 20 feet wide. This ensures you get straight rows of panels, and everything lines up appropriately. You’ll snap a line to each corner, and this will act as your guide.

Step 9: Lay Your Panels in Place

Time to install your beautiful metal panels! You’ll start at the eave edge, and first place a foam closure strip and cover with adhesive; this strip creates a bug-proof barrier and cushions your panels. Lay each panel in place on top of this, being sure to line it up with the edge. Then overlap each panel over the next using your chalk lines as guides.

Step 10: Use Screws to Fasten

Carefully screw down your metal panels. This is a crucial step. One crooked or loose screw can leave your roof immediately susceptible to leaks. Be gentle, space the screws out no more than 24 inches apart, and don’t overtighten. For additional water sealing, use rubber gaskets as a bolt underneath your screws— you’ll be glad you did.

Step 11: Continue Installing by Overlapping Your Panels

Repeat steps 9 and 10 until your metal panels are fully installed!

Step 12: Install Your Gable Trim

The gable trim, or rake edge, is the edges of the roof that run vertically with the panels. A gable trim seals this end cap and keeps rain, snow, insects, and rodents, you name it, out of your roof and attic. This step is essential to sealing your new roof panels in place.

Step 13: Finish With Ridge Cap and Gutters

Lastly, place the ridge cap at the tippy top of your roof. Cap the roof by first applying outside closure strips with butyl tape four inches from the peak. Apply a steady bead of sealant on this foam closure like you did on the eave edge. Then fit the ridge cap to the peak and fasten it with 2-inch screws through to the roof deck.

Is Metal Roof Installation DIY-Friendly?

In short, metal roofs are perfectly doable for the average person. With a few tools, a little help from friends or family, and a metal roof installation guide, you can save big by doing it yourself.

Of course, as with any home improvement project, there are certain risks associated with taking on a metal roof installation yourself. By doing your own roof install, no matter the roofing materials, you risk:

  • Hurting yourself or others
  • Causing damage to your existing roof
  • Voiding any warranties
  • Installing it wrong
  • Costing more money in the long run

man working on metal roof installation

Choosing The Right Contractor For The Job

So while it’s possible to DIY your metal roof installation, we never recommend it. Instead, choose a reliable roofer who knows how to do it right. Durashield has been installing metal roofs (among other materials) for years.

We have been installing premium, top-tier roofs for almost 20 years and want to help you get a roof that will last. Contact us now to get started on your dream roof.

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