The Complete Guide to Metal Roof Installation for Homeowners

Posted on March 20, 2024

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The Complete Guide to Metal Roof Installation for Homeowners

Are you going to install a new metal roof on your home? Before any work begins, start with our beginner’s guide to avoid delays, errors, and costly damage to your home. Being a metal roofing expert, I am here to share my insights on some important factors related to metal roof installation. 

Let’s begin by looking at the prerequisites!

#1 Explore Various Roofing Metals, Panel Styles & Colors

First, let’s address the most fundamental factor – choosing a metal roof system that fits your needs. This selection should match both aesthetic preferences and practical requirements, such as durability, budget, climatic conditions of your area, etc.

Types of Metals Available

Metal roof materials come in various types: 

  • Aluminum: Highly lightweight and resistant to corrosion
  • Steel: A reliable choice due to its strength, versatility, and affordability
  • Zinc: Known for its exceptional self-healing capability from scratches 
  • Copper: Praised for its luxurious appeal and mesmerizing patinas over time

Metal Roof Panel Styles

Metal Roof Panel Styles

Once you have determined the metal you’d like for your roof, move on to selecting the type of panel or shingle. The most common types of metal roof styles are:

  • Standing Seam Panels – Characterized by high seams broken up into flat portions
  • Ribbed or Corrugated Panels – Have distinct ridges or grooves running parallel down the length of the sheet
  • Metal Shingles –  Shaped like slate, clay tile, or wood shakes, available in a variety of patterns and colors. 

Metal Roof Colors

Metal roof panels and shingles are available in a lot of colors, including white, brown, black, slate, red, and more! You can select a suitable metal roof color for your home, and your panels may come prefinished in that color. Alternatively, if a shade is not available with the manufacturer, you can choose an exterior metal roof paint and add it over the factory-applied color.

#2 Planning and Preparation For the Metal Roof Installation

As an informed homeowner, understanding the prep work involved in installing a metal roof matters a lot. Here are some steps to take before the installation begins.

Metal Roof Installation

Measure Your Roof Accurately

The first step in your pre-installation stage is accurately measuring your roof. This will give you the square footage necessary to order sufficient materials. Make sure you include every part of your roof that will be covered by panels when calculating the total area.

Additionally, allow a 1-inch overhang on all sides to ensure complete coverage and better aesthetic appeal. 

Choose Your Materials Wisely

Once you’ve got accurate measurements, the next step involves choosing the right materials for your metal roof. The type of metal will significantly influence not only its longevity but also how well it protects against specific elements.

Consider factors such as local weather conditions (Does it hail often? Are there high wind speeds?), energy efficiency needs, aesthetic preferences, and budget constraints when deciding on this crucial component.

Remember that aside from roofing panels, other materials like underlayment, hardware (nails or screws), and flashing are equally important for wind and waterproof systems.

Evaluate the Pitch of Your Roof

This refers to the slope or steepness of your roof. A roof’s pitch is an important aspect where metal roofs are concerned. Contrary to common belief, even if you have a low-slope or flat roof, a metal roof is an excellent solution. A minimum pitch of 3:12 is best for most types of metal roofs. 

Ensure a Smooth, Clean Surface

Another critical element is ensuring that the roof surface is dry, smooth, and clean. Any imperfections on the surface can compromise the installation process and could lead to potential leaks.

Step-by-Step Guide To Metal Roof Installation

Efficiency, durability, and sustainable aspects make metal roofs a top choice for many homeowners. Here is an installation guide on how you can secure your roof and ensure it lasts as long as promised:

1. Remove the Old Shingles

The first step involves removing the old shingles from your roof, if any exist. While some people might prefer to install their new metal roof over the shingles, it’s necessary to start with a clean and even surface to avoid frequent complications.

2. Install Drip Edge

The drip edge is a type of metal roof flashing. It prevents water from seeping beneath the roofing material. Carefully measuring and cutting the drip edge is necessary to guide water away from the woodwork, siding, and foundation below.

3. Lay Down the Underlayment

Next, install an appropriate underlayment across your entire roof area. This acts as a barrier between the metal and the sheathing of your house. Choose the best metal roof underlayment and install it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent unwanted water leaks and improve thermal performance.

4. Mount Panels

Once everything else is securely in place, next comes arguably one of the most critical steps: mounting panels onto your prepared surface using suitable screws. Remember, attention to detail is vital. So, each panel must be aligned perfectly with the one before it.

5. Ensure Proper Insulation

Ensuring sufficient metal roof insulation involves two things. First is replacing the old insulation in the attic with a more suitable and good-quality insulation. The second is fixing foam insulation at the end of the metal panels for added protection.

6. Install Flashing

After the panels are securely in place, your next focus should be on installing flashing along each edge of the roofline and around any vents to prevent water leaks and deliver a complete aesthetic appearance.

7. Place Ridge Cap 

The next step is securing a ridge cap along the topmost edges of your new metal roof. This feature will provide much needed protection against harsh environmental conditions like wind, which maintains the longevity of your new roof.

It’s best to choose a ridge cap with a built-in metal roof ridge vent system. This system works perfectly with soffit vents to maintain comfort and prevent moisture damage in the attic.

8. Metal Roof Coating/Paint

Metal Roof Coating

While it’s often recommended to use manufacturer-finished panels, you can also paint and coat them after installation. If your panels do not come with a pre-installed finish, it’s important to coat them for UV and weather protection and color retention. Choose a high-quality metal roof coating to extend the life of your roof with just a few coats.

Remember that while these steps can serve as guidelines, working on roofs comes with its inherent risks and challenges and is best left to the professionals.

DIY vs. Professional Installation: Making the Right Choice

To start with, let’s evaluate why some homeowners might lean towards DIY installation.

The Allure of DIY Work

The primary reason many homeowners gravitate toward a do-it-yourself approach is the implied savings. Due to labor constituting a substantial portion of the total cost of a roofing project, executing the tasks themselves allows homeowners to cut down those extra charges significantly.

Another advantage of going DIY is having full control over project timelines. You decide when work begins and ends. For many handy homeowners who have good experience, previous positive results, and time at their disposal, this makes sense.

However, if your expertise does not match up, things can quickly go south. With that in mind, let us now weigh why professional installation is more likely your best bet.

The Case For Professional Installation

As thrilling as DIY may sound, investing in professional services has its unique merits too, mainly resting around efficiency and long-term benefits, like cost savings and lower maintenance needed over time. 

#1 No Room For Errors

With professionals by your side, you’re leveraging their hands-on experience. Ideally, they have completed installations on countless homes, which drastically minimizes errors.

#2 The Benefit of Manufacturer Warranties

Interestingly enough, most high-quality metal roofing manufacturers require you to hire a certified metal roof installation contractor due to the inherent complexity associated with such projects. This may also be mentioned in their warranty’s terms and conditions.

#3 Assured Coverage

Hiring professionals protects you from risks linked to potential mistakes during the installation process. If any issues crop up subsequently, professional roofing services typically carry warranties that cover repair or replacement. Most insurance companies also require proof of professional installation to approve your claim in the case of damage.

#4 More Cost-Effective

Good contractors have the right gear and equipment for the job, so you don’t need to buy or pay for the expensive tools and safety gear for the installation. Your contractor may also get your metal roofing materials at a discounted price due to good connections and regular bulk orders. Moreover, the cost of a metal roof does not always have to be high. With a bit of research, you can find good contractors and manufacturers with reasonable pricing.

If you need a beautiful and long-lasting metal roof for your Pittsburgh home within your budget, contact our team to discuss your project!

Hire Pittsburgh’s Leading Experts For A Perfect & Cost-Effective Metal Roof Installation

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing, we excel in installing stylish and high-quality metal roofs with the utmost precision and care. We have a high reputation in the industry and an accomplished team that can help you select the best metal, style, and color for your new roof, all within your budget. If you want a perfect metal roof installation in Pittsburgh, we’re the best choice! Call us at (412) 353-5660 to schedule a free consultation appointment with our experts and discuss your project.

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