6 Dos and Don’ts of Metal Roof Installation: Follow These Expert Tips

Posted on September 16, 2023

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6 Dos and Don’ts of Metal Roof Installation: Follow These Expert Tips

As a seasoned professional in the roofing industry, I’ve witnessed the increasing popularity of metal roofs over the years. They offer durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal that make them a fantastic choice for both residential and commercial properties. However, like any roofing material, proper installation is crucial to ensure their longevity and performance. 

In this blog post, I’ll share my expertise on the dos and don’ts of metal roof installation. Whether you’re a homeowner or new in the roofing industry, these tips will help you avoid common mistakes that can be both dangerous and costly.

Installing a Metal Roof Correctly: What Homeowners Need to Know

Here are some tips to ensure a flawless installation of your metal roof:

1. Choose the Right Type of Metal, Panels, and Fastening Method

Before you dive into the world of metal roofs, you’ve got some important choices to make. 


Metal Roof Underlayment

You want to start by picking the right type of metal for your roof. You’ve got options like steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc. Each one has its own unique strengths and characteristics, so consider your local climate, budget, and the look you’re going for when making this choice.


Whether it’s standing seam, corrugated, or metal shingles, each style has its own aesthetic and functional advantages. Some metal roofing styles offer a sleek and modern look, while others have a more traditional appeal. The choice of panels not only affects the appearance of your roof but also its performance in terms of durability and weather resistance.


There are different approaches to securing metal roofs, like concealed fasteners, exposed fasteners, and even adhesive systems. The choice of fastening method can impact the overall look of your roof and how it performs over time. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the size, type, and spacing of fasteners based on the specific panel style you choose.

By nailing down these choices correctly, you’re setting the stage for a metal roof that not only looks great but also stands strong for decades.

2. Prepare the Roof Surface 

For a spotless finish, you need a clean, smooth, and well-prepared surface. Your roof’s surface should be in optimal condition before installing those metal panels.

👉 Start by stripping away any existing roofing materials. This may include shingles, underlayment, or old metal roofing. 

👉 Next, give the roof deck a thorough inspection. Look for signs of damage, like rot or warped wood. If you spot any issues, don’t sweep them under the rug – address them promptly. Repairing the deck ensures a solid foundation for your new metal roof.

👉 Before those metal panels even come into play, make sure the surface is dry and free of debris. Moisture can be the enemy of metal, leading to rust or corrosion over time. A clean and dry surface sets the stage for a seamless installation of a metal roof.

By following these steps, you’re not just preparing your roof – you’re laying the groundwork for a flawless installation.

3. Use a Good Quality Metal Roof Underlayment

Metal Roof Underlayment

Underlayment, also known as the ice and water shield, is an additional layer of material beneath the metal panels that is often underestimated but plays a pivotal role in preserving your roof’s integrity. A sturdy underlayment acts as a protective shield against potential leaks and contributes significantly to temperature control within your home.

Now, when it comes to choosing an underlayment, the best option for a metal roof is rubber underlayment because it offers exceptional durability and weather resistance. Unlike traditional felt underlayment, which can break down over time, rubber underlayment can withstand the rigors of harsh weather, providing long-lasting protection.

This type of metal roof underlayment is also lightweight, which makes the installation process smoother and faster. Plus, it’s less susceptible to wrinkling, so you’ll have a flat and uniform surface for your metal panels.

So, when you’re in the market for underlayment, don’t compromise on quality. Believe me, this investment will enhance your roof’s performance and offer you peace of mind.

4. Pay Attention to Ventilation

Now, let’s talk about something that might not be on your mind when you think about a roof: ventilation. It is crucial because it helps keep your roof and attic functional for years to come. If your attic isn’t well-ventilated, it can become susceptible to moisture and heat buildup. Moisture can cause many problems for your metal roof, from rust to mold. And if your roof retains too much heat, it can age faster than it should.

This can easily be avoided by ensuring you have good attic ventilation by making sure there’s proper airflow underneath the roof. Speaking of ventilation, if you want to explore your roof ventilation options, check out our blog post on metal roof vents

5. Invest in Proper Roof Insulation

Proper roof insulation is crucial, especially for a metal roof. It helps regulate the temperature inside your home. During hot summer days, metal roofs can get pretty warm. Without proper insulation, that heat can make its way inside, increasing the temperature of your living space. Your cooling system will have to work extra hard to maintain a comfortable indoor climate, costing you more on energy bills.

To prevent this, consult with an experienced metal roofing professional. They’ll assess the local weather, your existing roofing system, and your home’s needs to determine the right insulation solution for you. Your metal roof insulation could be anything from fiberglass batts and rigid foam boards to spray foam that fits in every corner.

6. Hire Experienced Metal Roofing Contractors

6 Dos And Don'Ts Of Metal Roof Installation: Follow These Expert Tips

Now, let’s talk about the people who can build your metal roof perfectly: professional metal roof installers. Metal roof installation isn’t something you want to leave to just anyone. The way panels are secured, the seals around seams and joints, and even the choice of fasteners – it all matters. One small mistake can lead to leaks and other issues down the road.

Experienced contractors understand the importance of metal roof installation. They’ve tackled metal roofing projects before and know how to handle the material. They’ll follow industry standards and all the manufacturer’s recommendations.

To find these professionals, ask for referrals, check their track record, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. A reputable metal roofing contractor can make all the difference in ensuring a strong roofing system that keeps looking beautiful without much upkeep.

Now that we’ve covered the essential steps to take, let’s shift our focus to another critical area: things you should NOT do.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid During Metal Roof Installation

Preventing these common mistakes is vital to ensure the longevity, performance, and compliance of your metal roofing project. Let’s dive in and discover how to avoid them.

1. Don’t Rush the Installation

Roof installation should be planned and scheduled properly. Every step in the installation process matters, and rushing through it can lead to problems down the road. Each panel, fastener, and seal needs to be perfectly placed. A hasty installation can result in misaligned panels, poor sealing, or even damage to the roofing material itself. Those issues can lead to leaks, rust, and a whole lot of headaches down the road. 

My advice is to take your time and find professionals who are experts in metal roof installation. It’s better to have a roof that’s installed carefully, ensuring its long-term performance, cost-effectiveness, and peace of mind.

2. Don’t Ignore Local Building Codes

Local building codes and regulations might not be the most thrilling read, but they’re your safety net when it comes to roofing. Every area has its own set of rules for how roofs should be installed. These rules exist for a good reason – to keep you and your property safe. They cover everything from materials and insulation to ventilation and flashing.

Not following the rules can land you in legal trouble, and if an issue arises, your insurance company might be reluctant to help if your roof wasn’t installed to code.

I suggest you take the time to understand your local building codes for installing metal roofs and discuss them with your roofer. It’s a small investment that can save you from big headaches later on. Plus, it’s the responsible thing to do as a homeowner.

3. Don’t Overlook Safety

When working on a roof, safety should be your number one concern. Roofing can be a risky job, and it’s essential to take precautions seriously.

👉 Make sure you and the roofing team is equipped with proper fall protection gear. This includes harnesses, helmets, and sturdy footwear, as these are their best defense against accidents.

👉 Improper ladder placement is a recipe for disaster. Always position a ladder on a stable, level surface, and extend it at least three feet above the roof edge. This provides a safe and secure way to access the roof.

👉 Follow the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer of the roofing materials. They know their products best, and their recommendations are there to protect your investment.

Remember, accidents can happen, but they can also be avoided with a vigilant focus on safety. So make sure to keep safety at the forefront of your metal roof installation project.

4. Don’t Forget About Warranties

Now, let’s talk about protecting your investment. Most metal roofing products come with warranties, and they’re not something you should overlook. These warranties are there to protect your roof in case there’s something wrong with the products on the manufacturer’s part.

But here’s the thing – these warranties often come with specific installation requirements. Neglecting these requirements can void your warranty. So, read the fine print and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. This might include details about the type of underlayment to use, proper ventilation, or specific installation techniques.

By adhering to these guidelines, you’re not only safeguarding your investment but also ensuring that your roof performs as intended without premature aging. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on warranty protection just because you skipped a step or two during installation.

5. Don’t Cut Corners on Materials

When it comes to your metal roof, cutting corners on materials is not a good way to save money. Sure, cheaper materials might seem like a good idea at first, but they’ll cost you more in the long run. Always invest in high-quality materials and components that are designed specifically for metal roofing systems.

6. Don’t Hire the Cheapest Labor

One of the most common pitfalls homeowners encounter during a roof installation is choosing the wrong person for the job. It might be tempting to go for the cheapest option or hire that handyman who claims to know about metal roofing, but I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to avoid this mistake. The installation of a metal roof requires specialized skills that are developed over time with professional practice. It’s not an easy DIY project, nor is it something to be entrusted to someone lacking proper training. Instead, invest in a reputable and experienced metal roofing company in your area.

Also read: How Much Does A Metal Roof Cost In Pennsylvania?

Remember, a well-installed metal roof is an investment that pays off in durability and peace of mind for years to come. If you are looking for a sturdy and beautiful metal roof in Pennsylvania, our team is here to help!

Schedule a Free Consultation on Metal Roof Installation in Pittsburgh, PA

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing, we provide a vast array of options when it comes to metal roofing. If you need guidance or metal roof installation services in Pennsylvania, call us at (412) 353-5660 for a free consultation. With our top-quality materials and unmatched craftsmanship, we’re not just in the business of installing roofs, we upgrade homes by installing perfect roofing systems. So, don’t settle for risky workmanship. Your journey to a long-lasting metal roof starts here.

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