The Basics of Metal Roofing Installation
Property owners looking to upgrade their existing roof need to consider metal roofing. This roofing material conserves energy and withstands the elements, allowing it to hold up for years to come. The installation process, however, remains very complex, and people find they must know the exact instructions for the product selected, as they vary by brand. In addition, owners find they need a team to complete this task, as it is one they cannot tackle alone, along with fall protection equipment tailored for roof work. The following explains how professionals install metal roofing, although the installation team must follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Be sure to read through them before any work begins for the best results and to avoid delays
Choose the Roofing Materials
Metal roofing materials vary greatly. As a result, property owners must first determine which material is best for their structure. The following materials serve as the most common options today when a person decides on a metal roof.
Aluminum roots are lightweight and rustproof, making them ideal for coastal climates where the roof receives regular exposure to salt water. However, aluminum roofs require painting and they dent readily. These known issues may deter some property owners.
Copper roofs remain the choice of many individuals, as this material is visually appealing. In addition, it never rusts or requires painting. With metal roofing installation, however, copper stands as one of the harder materials to place. Furthermore, it’s costly at the time of purchase. Nevertheless, copper roofs withstand severe weather, are fire resistant, and are lightweight so they don’t put a lot of stress on the structure.
Corrugated Metal Roof Panels
In the past, many property owners ignored corrugated metal roof panels. However, they continue to gain in popularity for a variety of reasons. The energy efficient panels resist corrosion, and their strength appeals to many.
While steel roofing materials come with a high price tag, people need to consider them as a viable option because they last a lifetime. Galvanized steel stands as the most common type of steel roofing seen today, which manufacturers make with a soft zinc layer to safeguard the inner layers. Install the steel roof over asphalt to ensure noise doesn’t become a factor.
Tin roofs have become the choice of many because of the low cost and ease of installation. This helps to explain why it remains the most commonly seen type of metal roofing today. In many cases, manufacturers use aluminum or galvanized steel to construct the roof, but this means occupants of the structure hear a little noise when it is windy or rainy outside.
A softer metal, zinc is long lasting and resists corrosion. In addition, owners find they can recycle this material when replacing or repairing the roof. However, it comes with a higher price tag and remains susceptible to damage from hail or extreme weather. For this reason, installers typically only recommend this type of roof in areas where the climate is mild.
Measure the Roof
Measure the roof to determine the length and width and then calculate the slope. To do so, head up to the attic and set a carpenter’s level on the underside of a rafter. Next, measure the rise or vertical distance from the one-foot mark on the level to the rafter’s underside or run. The slope is the rise over run. When the roof has a vertical height of 12 inches, the slope is 12:12 or 1.0 when written in decimal form. Multiply the slope by the area of the roof to get the total square footage. When ordering supplies, add ten percent to the square footage to account for any waste, and order screws at the same time. This ensures the colors match.
Manufacturers recommend metal roofs for roofs with a 4/12 pitch or greater, although the roofing materials can be installed in roofs with a pitch of 2/12. The installation team must take additional steps when the pitch is less than 4/12.
Gather All Materials
Get the roofing materials, including screws used to hold the materials in place. Other items needed when installing a roof consist of claw hammers, drip edges, gutter accessories, patches and sealants, vent pipe flashing, and transition flashing. Wear the appropriate gear while carrying out this project, which includes work boots, safety goggles, and welding gloves. However, don’t assume this is everything needed when installing a roof. The instructions provided by the manufacturer might call for additional products, which is one of many reasons the installers must read them first. Nobody wants to be up on the roof only to discover they are missing one or more items and need to return to the store to get them.
Remove Old Roofing
A solid roof starts with a good foundation. Remove the old roofing material from the structure, including vents, underlayment, and flashing. Nail down any large nails exposed during the removal process and inspect the sheathing for damage. If needed, make the necessary repairs before installing roofing insulation. See what the roofing manufacturer recommends for this insulation and use that when possible.
Next comes the roof edging. Place the edging or metal eave flashing along the exterior of the roof using 1-¼-inch nails to secure it. At the edge of the roofing, install corner pieces anywhere a bend meets the edge. When the structure has gutters installed on the eaves, place the flashing so it will overhang the gutter lip by one-half inch. Now it is time to lay the panels.
Measure and Cut Panels
When installing metal roofing for houses or other buildings, always start square. The vertical lines of the panels must run square to the eave. If the first panel is askew, every other panel is going to be off as well. The roof may be slightly off, so make certain to adjust the panel so it runs square with the eave rather than lining it up with another feature of the roof.
Measure the first panel and cut it to fit if necessary. A circular saw with the appropriate blade, nibblers, or hand shears work best for this task, but take care when using the saw or nibblers. They create hot metal particles that may leave rust marks on the roofing materials or burn the paint surface. In addition, watch for filings left by the screws. The product warranty doesn’t cover damage in these situations, so avoid them when possible.
Once you cut the panel to the appropriate size, begin the installation process at the roof’s gable end opposite the prevailing rain bearing wind. This step remains of great importance as it ensures any rain driven by the wind won’t penetrate the lap. Allow the panel to overlap the edging by ½ to ¾-inch, ensuring the panel remains square.
Lay the larger edge so the small edge on the next panel overlaps it. Use roofing squares to secure the panel, placing a screw vertically along each panel rib. Don’t overtighten the screws. Work to seal the washer under the head of the screw without it shifting or bulging. Using 100 percent silicone sealant, run a bead down the underside of the next panel’s short edge.
Install this panel, ensuring the short lip overlaps the large one. Screw the panel into place. When you do so, the silicone spreads to create a seal. Continue in this manner until all panels are in place.
Some property owners choose to use shingles as opposed to panels, and the installation process differs somewhat when using metal roofing shingles. Begin the shingles at the drip edge and secure them to the roof with the help of metal nails customized for roofing projects. Start at the lower corner and work up from there, staggering the shingles diagonally to ensure there aren’t any gaps.
Most shingles are secured to the roof with the help of metal shingle clips, and these clips often are system specific. Get this information before the installation process begins to avoid issues or the need to visit the store once the work has begun. Furthermore, read the literature accompanying the shingles, as manufacturers provide installation instructions. A failure to follow the instructions could lead to the warranty being voided.
Roof vent installation kits play an important role in a successful roofing project. Determine where the vents will go and measure the housing of the vent. Mark the area on the roof, allowing for the vent opening where it sits on the roof. Using a skill saw, cut the opening in the roofing materials. The finished cut should allow you to see into the attic when completed. Put sealant around the edge of the hole and set the vent into place. Screw down the vent using the provided fasteners, drilling starter holes where needed.
Seal around the vent lip on the outside of the roof. Go into the attic and do the same to the vent and opening on the interior. Cover the vent opening and secure it.
Finish the project by installing the flashing. This metal trim covers the joints where sections of the roof come together. This ensures water doesn’t congregate in these areas and keeps the materials dry. The flashing easily bends, so bend it until it forms a v-shape. Set it over the corners and the top roof ridge to redirect the water. Make certain this material overlaps the roof edge by one inch, as this helps to ensure the water moves away from the joints.
Safety must always be a priority when carrying out a roofing job. Wear the appropriate protective gear at all times to avoid injuries, including the proper footwear. Never work around electrical wires or low branches. Have the electric company handle the wires before the project begins and remove any low-hanging branches to ensure they don’t cause problems as the project moves forward.
Don’t prop a ladder up against the house and head up to the roof. Make certain you secure it at the base and again where it meets the roof. Before climbing up or down the ladder, test it to see if it moves when you put weight on it. The appropriate fall protection equipment must be used at all times and anchor the system to the roof studs as directed in the user’s manual.
While you now have an overview of what the installation of a metal roof involves, this guide only provides the basics. These projects tend to be complex and come with a high level of risk, as the installation team is working above the ground. One misstep could lead to a catastrophe. For this reason, many people choose to leave the work to the professionals. However, care must also be taken when choosing a provider for this job.
Choosing a Roofing Provider
When choosing a provider to install roofing, avoid those companies that come door to door. Research any company you are considering using to make certain they have experience with installing metal roofing. Furthermore, if you have selected a roofing system, learn what experience they have with that product. Manufacturers often provide training when they introduce a product of this type, and the installers you choose should take part in that training if it is available. In addition, make certain they have the proper licensing and insurance as required by the state. This protects you in the event something goes wrong during the project. Never take their word for it either. Verify the information they provide before hiring them. Protect yourself above all else and spend time researching different companies to find the one that is right for the project you would like to have completed.
Whether you choose to take on this task yourself or call in the professionals to do the work, make certain all steps are carried out properly. The roof serves as a critical component of the home, one that protects the interior of the building and its occupants. Never cut corners when having work carried out. Doing so costs more in the long run. If you have any doubts regarding your ability to complete this job, call on the pros. They’ll ensure the work is done right the first time.