Updated Jan 12, 2023
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Replacing or putting up a new roof can be one of the most expensive and involved tasks you’ll take on as a homeowner. If you’re looking to cut costs of a metal roof installation, and are willing to take the necessary time, then DIY metal roofing is definitely within many homeowners’ abilities. Here, we’ve outlined all the necessary information you’ll need to improve your existing roof and a step-by-step guide for metal roof installation.
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As with any home renovation, you’ll need the right tools and materials for the job. Here is a full list, along with basic pricing information.
The list of needed tools for metal roof installation includes basic implements that most basic toolkits should have and more specialized items that you’d find in a roofing contractor’s arsenal. We’ve listed them all here.
Tool breakdown from The Metal Roofing Channel
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Now that you’re aware of the different tools you’ll need, you’ll need to write down a checklist for all the materials that will go into your metal roof build. They are as follows:
Different types of metal roofing will come with varied price points. Whether you go with corrugated metal roofing or metal shingles, you’ll find the average price per square foot (not including installation costs) here.
Before installing, you should also consider wind exposure and your area climate, as this will affect how many nails you use. You can substitute these for metal-to-wood screws for certain metal roofing applications, such as corrugated roofing installation.
This video is a basic guide to metal roofing screw placement.
Now that you have all of the necessary materials and tools in mind and on hand, you’re ready to begin. While installing a metal roof on your own will not come with the typical warranties or hassle-free process of hiring a roofing contractor, it is still a great choice for most homeowners. They can last far longer than their asphalt shingle counterparts and will create a far more energy-efficient home due to fuller shielding from the elements.
In most locales, any home renovation project of more than $5,000 will require that you obtain a work permit. Since each area has different regulations regarding this, you’ll have to contact your town or city’s building inspector.
No matter the total area of your roof, you should purchase between 10% and 15% more material than what you think you’ll need. This will account for any mistakes and odd cuts you have to make to any material.
First, you’ll have to calculate the slope of your roof. This is a simple “rise over run” number. You’ll have to get on a ladder next to your gable ends. Using a long level, measure from a starting point even with the end of your shingles. At the one-foot mark on your level, use a tape measure to see how many inches up your roof has extended.
A four-inch measurement means that your roof has a slope of 3/12 or three inches of rise for every 12 inches of run.
Next, you can use this slope in conjunction with your home’s footprint to find your total roof area. This will require some simple math, following the steps below.
This area measurement method is most effective on simple A-frame roofs. For odd corners or outcroppings, such as dormer windows, simply measuring length and width will suffice.
Purchase the above square footage of whatever roofing material you’ve decided on. Metal sheets will have some overlap, and your 15% overage should account for this. You’ll also need the following.
When purchasing self-tapping screws with washers, your metal type and sheet type will dictate how much you buy. Most suppliers offer installation guides tailored for this. You’ll need #12 3/4-inch self-tapping screws to join panels and #12 1-inch screws to join your roofing panels to the substrate or base wood roofing.
Purchase enough double-sided butyl tape for your roof edges at the peak, eaves, and gables, and account for the above-mentioned 15% error.
You may need to rent a dumpster to haul away any waste from the disposal of your old roof and the installation of your new one. Begin at the peak of your roof and methodically work your way across and down.
If any nails are sticking up, either hammer them all the way in or dispose of them if you choose. Inspect your roof substrate as you go.
Once all of your construction debris is ready for disposal or is out of your way, you can begin setting up your workspace.
Ideally, your tear-down and workspace prep phases should be done on a dry day so that your roof doesn’t get any water on it after you’ve stripped away the underlayment.
Lay out all of your tools and supplies in an organized manner so that you know where to find everything at any given time.
If your roof planking has any rot or damage, then you should replace it while you’re easily able to. Clear the roof of any debris or dust, if possible, before the next step.
Roof underlayment material typically comes in rolls that span 100 square feet, with widths ranging between 3 and 4 feet. With the adhesive side down and with a couple of inches of overhang over your gables, begin rolling your insulating material out lengthwise across your roof.
Do this slowly, and try to get it as flush to your substrate as possible. Plan for one to two inches of overlap with each subsequent pass.
Your eave flashing will line the bottom edge of your roof, around the same location as your gutters. You do NOT have to remove your gutters for this step. The eave flashing will slightly overhang them to assist with waterflow off your roof.
Eave flashing is sold in ten to 12-foot sections, which should overlap each other by two to three inches and extend over the edge of your roof by the same margin. Overlapping edges will require a line of caulk for sealing. Use tin snips to make necessary cuts on the ends, and fold the excess material over the gables.
To fasten this to your roof, use your metal to wood screws. Starting eight inches from the gables, place screws every eight inches until these pieces are secure. Roofing nails can also be used for this step. Defer to your roofing material manufacturer’s instructions if any have been given.
Flashing is more or less the finishing touch on your roofing project. These pieces seal off all joints of less than 140 degrees. You can bend these to fit your exact shape needs with the panel bending tools in the list above. It usually doesn’t extend more than a foot on each side of whichever corner it covers.
Once cut to size, securing these should be simple, with one row of screws required on each side of the seam being covered. Since this is a final sealing step, butyl tape or caulk should be placed an inch inside each side of your flashing before fastening.
One metal-to-wood screw placed every 12 to 18 inches with a dab of sealant will suffice.
Any DIY project will come with some possibility of user error. This shouldn’t make you any more hesitant prior to installing your roof, as even the best professional roofer makes mistakes on the job. Being aware of these common pitfalls can streamline the process and make for a much higher-quality roof in the long term.
The old adage, “Measure twice; cut once,” should definitely be on your mind when measuring your roof. Measure each roof section’s length and width carefully, including any dormers (protruding window sections) or other such areas. When purchasing materials, buying 10% to 15% more than you think you’ll need will help to avoid this and should account for any mistakes made during the project. For reference, the average American home has 1700 square feet of roof space.
While you can leave existing shingles on your roof before installing your new panels, it isn’t recommended if there is any noticeable wear present. Since you’ll be screwing your new panels or shingles into this material, existing wear will greatly weaken the integrity of your new roof.
Underlayment will typically be needed to meet building codes for any roofing project. It is also highly recommended for any DIY metal roofing system. The synthetic material used to make this adhesive-backed material is watertight, which will take pressure off if you can’t install your entire roof in one go.
The use of a silicone sealant is necessary for any successful roofing project. Loctite and Titebond are both great options for this. Such materials will expand and contract as your roof does and will last a long time in any climate. Using low-grade sealants can cause leaking and corrosion long-term, which can be easily avoided.
Flashing is any section of roofing that covers panel joints or roof edges. They make for full-sealed joints, minimize leaking, and make for nice aesthetic touches in many cases. Flashing can also smoothly mark a transition in pitch, as seen in this video:
All panels should have a 1/2 to 3/4-inch overhang past the edge of your roof. When joining panels, most roofers recommend a 1.5 to 2-inch overlap. Doing this and properly sealing panel joints with caulk and fasteners will make for leak-free roofing.
As a general rule of thumb, your screws or fasteners should extend around 3/4-inch into your roof sheathing or base roof decking boards. If you’ve selected the proper length of screws and fasteners, then over-tightening them once the screw or fastener heads are flush with your roofing panels or shingles won’t further seal your roof. In fact, they can structurally weaken your metal panels or cause small cracks or gaps, which will not be readily apparent.
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Hiring a contractor to install metal roofing is always a good idea. Doing so will help to ensure the quality and longevity of your roof and will come with greatly reduced personal risk. Falling injuries and related hazards are risks that you will have to contend with if you try a DIY installation.
This will depend on a few factors. If you’re staging a DIY installation, and have to tear the shingles off your old roof, then you should budget an extra couple of days to get the job done properly. Weather, roof size, and type of metal material that you’re using will all play a part in determining this.
In many cases, you can actually lay down metal roofing over an existing shingle roof. Aside from the durability metal roofs provide, this is one of the many reasons for their popularity among homeowners.
A properly installed and cared-for metal roof can have a lifespan of 40 to 50 years. A roof made of asphalt shingles will typically have to be redone after 15 to 20 years, for comparison.
The main disadvantages of installing a new metal roof are as follows:
Arranging for a home repair of this scale is going to be a fairly involved project. If you haven’t conducted renovations like this – either via a contractor or on your own – then it can be a bit overwhelming. At House Method, we pride ourselves on being able to take all of the guesswork out of the equation for you.
We’ve thoroughly evaluated each roofing type to make your selection process easier. Through exhaustive research into hundreds of different roofing providers throughout the United States and analyses of thousands of individual homeowner experiences, we’ve broken our roof rating system down into the following categories.
All roofs receive an aggregate rating between (0.0) and (1.0). This rating is comprised of six key evaluation criteria, which we’ve outlined below. The rating between (0.0) and (1.0) will correspond to a secondary rating out of five stars, which is displayed more visibly in our articles across this category.
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