Metal roof installation can be a daunting task for any average homeowner. With the right tools, materials, and instructions, it is certainly a task that you can undertake successfully. This guide will outline the process and share information on the benefits of picking a metal roof, plus we’ll explore the types of metal roofing you might consider.

Seasoned DIY expert or complete beginner, this guide will set you on the right path to a successful metal roof installation. Even if you feel you need a professional roofing contractor, you’ll be more educated on the process after reading.

Top Benefits of Metal Roofing

There are myriad benefits to using a metal roof, but these are the most notable among them:

Long Lifespan

Metal roofs are incredibly durable, stronger than many other roof types, and normally last for at least 50 years. This makes them a great investment as although they are expensive to install, they more than make up for it in long-term costs when compared to asphalt shingle (which lasts around 25% of the time in comparison). This is even more pronounced when you factor in the minimal roof maintenance a metal roof requires.

Lightweight and Energy Efficient

Metal roofing is both an insulator and a reflector, meaning that it keeps the warmth in your home during colder weather and reflects heat out during warmer seasons. That means lower energy bills and a more energy-efficient home.

Fire and Mildew Growth-Resistant

Metal roofing, often graded as Assembly-Rated Class A, provides the best fire protection in comparison to other roofing materials. That means if your home is in an area prone to wildfires, the chances of your roof catching fire from embers is minimal.

The same can be said for mildew, which simply doesn’t thrive on metalwork whereas it thrives on wood and shingle-style roof structures.

Types of Metal Roofing Materials

These three types of roofing materials are among the most popular.


Steel is cost-effective and durable thanks to the fact that it’s an alloy-based metal rather than a pure metal. That said, due to the iron content within it, steel can be prone to rust issues. Rust treatments such as zinc or aluminum coating can slow the issues.


Probably the most popular metal roofing type, aluminum is incredibly lightweight with good durability. It’s easily customizable by color and shape, plus it’s a very sustainable project thanks to widespread recycling.


Zinc is a popular choice thanks to its eco-friendly credentials. Zinc uses a small amount of energy when it is produced compared to the other materials above. It is, however, very expensive to install and requires professional installation skills.

Metal Roof Installation Step-By-Step

The following guide shares a step-by-step process of a typical metal roof installation. Some projects will slightly deviate, but the majority of roofs will follow this process.

Measure the Roof Area

This is one of the most important steps of the installation and should be completed considerably before the installation is due to take place. The measurements will help you to calculate how much material will be required as well as give an indication of the size and scope of the task at hand.

First of all, draw yourself a plan of the roof including all of the different rectangular and triangular sections. You’ll need to work out the square footage of the space, so start by measuring out the width and length of each section. Multiply these figures together to get the square measurement.

You’ll also need to find out the slope factor of the roof. To do this, you should divide the rise of the roof by the run of the roof. Rise is the measurement of the lowest point to the highest, while the run is the distance from the further part of the roof to the center.

Once you have these measurements, multiply the slope factor by the roof area, and you have the total roof area.

Factor in around 10% when ordering materials, this will account for waste and trim.

Remove the Old Roof

If you’re working with shingles it’s as simple as prying away the old roofing material to make way for the new metal roof. It’s important to closely investigate the structure under the shingle and hammer in or remove any loose nails. If left protruding they’ll damage the new material.

It’s strongly recommended that you do this on a dry day, otherwise, the inside of the house may face water damage. If it’s likely to rain, consider using scaffolding and a temporary cover.

Prepare the Area and Make Repairs if Necessary

When removing the old roof you may notice or accidentally cause some damage. If that’s the case, repair and make good anything that you can. Remember that this might be one of the only opportunities to do so, it’s worth investing the time and repairing at this point in time. Plus adding the new roof to a sound structure will increase its longevity.

Install Roof Underlayment

Starting at the eaves and working towards the ridge, lay out the underlayment. It should be secured with either roofing nails or staples. Some underlayment comes with an adhesive that can be used too. Where possible slightly overlap the underlayment, this ensures a great seal and maximizes its efficiency. Once you reach the ridge, cut the underlayment to fit and secure it in place.

You might find that you need to use smaller pieces as necessary around chimneys, vents, and other protrusions.

Install Edging (Eave Flashing)

Within the materials that you’ve gathered, you’ll find metal strips known as edgings. These need to be installed along the edge of the roof. A sealant tape should be used alongside them, across the center of each which will help keep the metal panels in the right spot.

Install the Metal Roof Panels

The installation of the metal roof panels is when it feels like the roof is taking shape. Pick a spot where you’re able to start square to the structure. This means that your roof is always perpendicular to the edging and eaves. That first panel is important as it dictates how the remaining panels will be placed and the overall flow of the panels.

Each panel should overlap and join another by between 3”-4”. Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll find sections that aren’t square and will require specific cuts to larger panels. Measure at least twice, before cutting to avoid any waste of materials from mistakes. Small errors near the edges can be covered by flashing, so if you’re close it’s not such a concern.

Panels should be screwed in tightly before the flashing is added. Once the flashing is added, the roof will begin to be secured in place, making changes more difficult. Flashing is a malleable piece of metal that secures the edges of panels in place and attaches to vertical protrusions.

Install Ridge Cap and Gutters

The finishing touch is the addition of ridge caps and gutters. Ridge caps should be laid with an even lap over all edges, then secured in place with screws and sealant tape. Long distances can be covered by multiple pieces cut to size.

Guttering should be measured along the length of the roof edge and attached appropriately. Be sure to plan ahead where downpipes and connections will be.

Key Takeaways

Each roof is different, so you should treat each project as unique and hire a professional roofer in Charleston, WV. The choice of material depends on the project, the climate, and the budget. Whichever is chosen, a new metal roof is sure to be a great investment for the building.

  • Measure more than once to be absolutely sure, once you start it’s much harder to rectify mistakes.
  • Pick your material based on climate, roof style, and budget.