How to Install a Metal Roof – DIY Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation

Learning Objective

In this guide you will learn how to install a standing seam metal roofing system.

Standing Seam Metal Roof on a Beach House

Image Inspiration Credits: John McManus & Group 3

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For most homeowners and DIY enthusiasts, a standing seam metal roof installation is not a do it yourself project. But for those few who dare, let this serve as an introductory educational guide on how to install metal roofing on a small shed or a free standing garage.

if nothing else, you can still benefit from the basic conceptual understanding of the metal roofing installation process provided in this guide.

Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation
Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation

Materials and Tools you will need

* Sheet metal hand seamer aka folder or crimping tool.
* Drill/Driver
* Wood cutting: For minor wood repairs, a cordless reciprocating saw.
* Hammer, rubber mullet, tool belt, metal snips/shears, tape measure.
* Safety rope, anchor and harness, and knowledge/experience using it, work safety plan, and first aid kit.
* Safe to use and adequate Ladder.
* Tear off/roof stripping tools, heavy duty contractor bags, and a dumpster to dispose of old shingles.
* Pre-measured and pre-cut Standing Seam Metal panels at work site.
* System specific screws and flashing details for your roof.
* Roofing Underlayment, Ice and Water, nails with colored caps.

Hand Seamer - a must have tool for the job
Hand Seamer – a must have tool for the job
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Step 1 – Measuring Your Roof and Sketching a Diagram

Take multiple pictures of your roof from different angles, then measure your roof and draw a diagram that you can take with you to a roofing supply warehouse where you can order metal roofing materials for the job.

You will need to take precise/accurate measurements of your roof deck, and come up with an accurate/readable sketch/diagram of your roof; Ridge length, gables lengths (all sides), eaves lengths (all sides), valleys, dormers, chimneys, and skylights.

Roof Sketch Diagram
Roof Sketch Diagram

Although in theory, you can install standing seam metal roof over your existing asphalt shingle roof, I would advice you to tear off the old roof before installing standing seam due to a common effect of telegraphing of lines of asphalt shingles underneath the standing seam metal roof roof.

Note: You can get away with telegraphing of the shingles underneath, if you choose to install a metal shingles roofing system, instead of a standing seam metal roof.

Step 2 – Ordering Panels

You can order metal roofing panels called standing seam metal roof at your local roofing supply warehouse. They will ask you about the length of panels you need, type of profile you would like, and a color of your metal roofing system.

Hand over your roof diagram with all the details and roof dimensions, and show them pictures of your roof. Based on the information you provide, roofing supply shop will order the panels and flashing for your job. Here you can also buy all the necessary tools, and safety equipment.

In addition you will need to buy a roll or two of roofing underlayment for the job. I recommend that you spend a little extra, and go for a breathable synthetic roofing underlayment that will be installed underneath your new metal roof.

Step 3 – Preparing Roof Deck for Installation

Once you have all the necessary tools, and materials on site, You will need to prepare your roof deck for the installation of a new metal roof.

It is generally recommended that you perform a complete tear off of your old/existing roof so that you can get an opportunity to replace any rotten wood or plywood underneath the asphalt.

Roof Deck with anchor safety system attached at the ridge of the roof
Roof Deck with anchor safety system attached at the ridge of the roof

Step 4 Installing Ice-and-Water and Underlayment

Install synthetic breathable roof underlayment in a horizontal fashion, with sufficient tension in the underlayment from one side of the roof to the other. You will want to start at the eaves with a slight overlap of the roof deck, and nail down the first row of underlayment.

(If you live in a northern climate, then install one layer of Ice-and-Water right underneath your roof underlayment, adhering it (Ice-and-Water) straight to the roof’s deck with a half an inch of overlap past the eave’s edge.) You will also need to install ice and water in the valley/valleys of your roof.

You will then continue installing the underlayment in an upward fashion with a six inch overlap over the previous layer until you reach the ridge of the roof.

roofing underlayment installation
roofing underlayment installation

Step 5 – Installing Metal Trim, Drip Edge, and Gable Flashing

Now it is time to install metal flashing at the eaves. The flashing being installed over the edge of your roof’s eaves is called starter trim.

You will have to follow manufactures recommendations, but generally you would install your starter flashing leaving 1/4 of an inch of space from the eave, and securing it in place with system specific screws (that you should order along with materials) every 12 inches on center. Then, follow the same steps to install your gable flashing.

Drip Edge Metal Flashing Installation
Drip Edge Metal Flashing Installation

Watch the Video Below:

Step 6 – Installing Metal Panels

Once all the necessary metal trim/flashing is installed, you can begin installing your first metal roofing panel. You will have to cut, and bend about an inch of the panel underneath (forming a hook) so that we can hook it onto the starter trim/drip edge.

Standing Seam metal panel with a hook
Standing Seam metal panel with a hook

Then, the metal roofing panel will be secured by the special screws at the top. After that, you can secure the panel by installing special holding brackets/metal clips, and secure them with the screws to the roof deck.

You will find that metal clips will have two holes, one will be closer to the metal roofing panel, while the other will be farther away.

I recommend that you only use one screw to secure the metal clip through the farther/outside hole that is away from the panel. This will help prevent dents in the panel due to thermal expansion and contraction of the panels.

If your home is located in hurricane zone, you would want to put two screws into each clip. Never put two screws if you have solid boards underneath instead of plywood.

Both screws can easily split the board, which will compromise security of panel attachment to your roof deck. (The holding brackets attach to the panel on a side every 12 inches or so.)

The follow-on panel will be installed in a similar fashion. You have to lock the follow on panel into previous panel using the locking mechanism called the seam (Snap-Lock standing seam panel mechanism).

Use a rubber mallet, or a rubber handle of your hammer to snap the seams of the roofing panels together.

You can also snap the follow on panel with the palm of our hand starting at the ridge/top of the panel and working your way down until the entire panel is connected/attached via the snap-lock method. Then repeat the whole process again until you reach the gables/ends on both sides.

Watch the Standing Seam Metal Roofing Installation Video Below:

Step 7 – Installing Z – Bar Flashing

Note: If you are using a combination of ridge and soffit vent system on your roof, then make sure that your roof has sufficient pitch to prevent any wind driven water from getting inside your attic through a perforated z-closure.

Cut your z-bar so that it is the same width as one of the panels to which it will be fitted. Make sure that it fits well, but not too tight as to scratch the locks of the panel.

Normally, you will want to go about a 1/4 inch less than the nominal width of the panel. This gives you enough room for a snap lock of the next panel to fit in. You will also end up with only minimum gaps between the edges.

Z - Bar Installation for Standing Seam
Z – Bar Installation for Standing Seam

Cut a small piece of ridge cap (about two inches wide), align it so that it is in the center of the ridge, laying perpendicular with the locks. Mark the outer edges on the top of each rib. You will align your z-bars and the ridge cap to these.

Z - bar installation on a standing seam metal roof - side view
Z – bar installation on a standing seam metal roof – side view

Use your first piece as a template, then cut enough z-bars to accommodate every panel on your roof (have enough z-bars for both sides of the roof).

Using double-sided peel-n-stick foam, or some type of the exterior grade caulking sealant, caulk the connection area between the panel and the z-bar. I recommend that you use a clear (or color matching) Solar Seal 900. It works great. Attach the z-bar with three screws, and caulk the side gaps so that any wind driven water will not get in.

standing-seam ridge-cap installation over the Z bar
standing-seam ridge-cap installation over Z bar

Once all of your z-bars are up and sealed, take a section of the ridge cap, and cut a 2-inch line down the center bend, at the end of the cap. At the same end, cut off 2 inches of the lock and bend down the two flaps. This will be your end-piece.

Align the flaps you have just made with the gable trim, and hook in one side of the ridge cap into the z-bar. If your z-bar is spaced too widely or narrowly, you can bend it in or out so that it fits your ridge cap.

Hook the second (unlocked) lock into the opposite z-bars all along the length of the cap. Once it is completely clipped in, use your hands to close the opened lock (lip) on one side of the cap, and then using the hand-seamer crimp down both sides of the cap.

Tips

* I recommend that you first practice installing metal roofing on a small structure such as shed, or a free standing garage before taking on your home’s roof. It would also be helpful if you can get another person who has experience with home improvements to help you out with your DIY project, and make sure that things go smoothly.

Warning

* Doing any type of work on your roof is inherently dangerous. There is always some inherent hazard of falling off the roof or from an improperly placed or poorly-secured ladder. You will want to wear special shoes with rubber soles, use a properly-secured ladder, and know how to properly use your safety equipment including rope, anchor, along with a properly-worn safety harness.

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Metal Shingles Roofs vs. Standing Seam

Metal shingles roofing systems are a very popular choice for a residential metal roof, and although they are not as common as standing seam metal roofs, they nevertheless represent a significant chunk of the total number of metal roofs installed each year.

steel-shingles-roof

Metal roofing shingles come in many styles, colors and metal options and profiles. Two of the most common types of metal shingle roofs are interlocking shingles and overlapping tiles.

Metal shingles are true architectural metal roofs, and can provide you with a long lasting roofing solution and looks of natural slate, clay tiles or cedar shingles at a fraction of the cost and a much longer roof life.

Metal shingles vs. Standing Seam

Most interlocking metal shingle roof systems are also VERY flexible when it comes to their installation. Metal shingles and can be on some of the most difficult and cut-up roof designs. You can easily roof around a hexagon tower with metal shingles, while the same would be nearly impossible to do with standing seam metal roofing panels.

Flashing a roof penetration such as a pipe flashing or even sky-light or a chimney is a breeze compared to the same procedure using standing seam or stone coated steel tiles roof. Because of low panel profile (average interlocking shingles metal roof sticks about 1/4″ to 3/8″ from the roof deck) metal shingles flashing is easy to fabricate and install in the field.

As you can see in the video above, the chimney flashing (as well as skylight flashing) on a metal shingles roof is rather simple, compared to that of standing seam metal roof, which you can see in the photo below:

The chimney flashing photo below shows a standing seam metal roof with a chimney located on the ridge line, which makes the flashing detail much simpler and eliminates the back pan flashing, which is the weakest point of this flashing detail.

standing-seam-metal-roof-chimney-flashing

The elimination of ribs (r-panels and/or vertical snap-lock or the seam on a standing seam metal roof) makes the flashing detail using metal shingles for both chimney and skylight, a breeze.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$15,000
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$9,000
Average price

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How metal shingles are manufactured:

Metal shingles are made in factory settings using a stamping manufacturing process on an industrial size press. A special dye stamps the metal shingle profile, while two additional dyes bend the locks on all four sides of the shingle.

Metal shingles are stamped from a steel, aluminum or copper coils of certain thickness. Steel and aluminum coils are usually painted with 7-layer bake-on Kynar 500 paint finish, which provides the longest lasting discoloration and peel/chip resistance and eliminates the need to paint your metal roof every 5 or so years.

All accessories for a metal shingles roof system are made using either a rolling or bending process on a computerized brake. These are your drip edge, side-wall / head-wall flashing, valley pan, etc.

The ridge / hip caps are usually also stamped out of the same coil used to stamp shingles. A 10 foot field-fabricated ridge-cap section can also be used, with exposed of concealed fasteners.

Metal Shingles Roof Installation:

Metal shingles should be installed over a solid sheeting deck such as CDX plywood or OSB board and proper underlayment such as GAF DeckArmor breathable synthetic roof underlayment sold at Lowe’s for about $100 per roll. Try to stay away from non-breathable underlayments and Ice & Water shield with metal shingles roof, as they trap moisture and may cause roof deck rotting.

roof-plywood-deck

If your deck is 1×6 boards or similar, you may run into problems with installing and nailing metal shingles. If the row of shingles lands on the crack between boards, your nails will not have a solid substrate to be nailed into.

A solid working solution in the above situation may be using longer clips, that extend past the crack between the boards, or installing a layer of 3/8″ plywood or OSB over the boards.

Using long clips will however result in weaker fastening and lesser pullout / wind uplift rating for the metal roof. Installing a layer of 3/8″ sheeting is a preferred method.

Metal shingles are fastened to the roof deck with nails and either clips or built-in nailing strip on the metal shingle. There are various types of metal shingles and each has its own fastening method, though they are rather similar to each other.

Metal shingles should be nailed to the roof deck, using nails made out of the same metal as the shingle. Thus a steel metal shingle is nailed with regular galvanized roofing nails, and aluminum metal shingles are nailed with aluminum ring-shank nails.

Metal shingles are installed from the bottom, going up. Direction of shingles placement is dependent on the shingle design, but most metal shingles systems are installed from left to right. Each metal shingle is locked into the locks of 6 neighboring shingles, making the whole system very durable and resistant to high-speed winds.

As shown in the video above, an aluminum metal shingles roof is installed over a properly prepared roof deck, and nailed down with aluminum ring-shank nails, through special “ears” or nailing strip built into the metal shingle. Other systems will have different nailing detail such as clips, or a nailing strip going across the top of the shingle.

Metal Shingles Cost Considerations:

Metal shingles roofing is usually made from steel or aluminum, and on a rare occasion you will see a copper or zinc metal shingles roof. The reasons for using steel and aluminum are the facts that both metals are very durable and long lasting (assuming the steel is properly galvanized using G-90 or Galvalume coatings). Steel is somewhat cheaper than aluminum, but difference is not very significant, and much of roof installation cost comes form professional installation as well as a rather high cost of metal.

Copper and zinc metal roofs are generally very expensive and therefore not as popular as steel or aluminum roofs. Installation costs for either type of metal roof will vary from one region to another, but in general, metal roofing prices are much higher than asphalt shingles roofs.

As compared to the cost of standing seam metal roofs, metal shingles shingles are considerably less expensive, as they are made from thinner gauge metal, and are easier to install.

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Corrugated Metal Roofing and Ribbed Metal Roofs (R-Panels) for Homes

Modern advances of coating steel sheets with a layer of zinc and aluminum, make corrugated metal roofs a viable economical alternative to conventional roofs, and premium metal roofs.

Corrugated Metal Roofing Panels

Corrugated metal roofing systems available today offer high degree of corrosion resistance, energy efficiency, and economical sustainability.

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Many corrugated steel roofing sheets contain over 30% of recycled steel post consumer content, which qualifies it for LEED credit awarded by the green building council.

There are also high quality paint finishes available for corrugated metal roofs. High quality Kynar 500 paint finishes applied over corrugated metal roofs will make this type of system cooler temperature-vise, more energy efficient, and long lasting. Energy savings of over 30% can be attained with the use of ultra cool metal roofing systems.

Corrugated and Ribbed (R-panel) metal roofs are usually made out of G-29, or G-26 (G-26 or smaller gauge is actually thicker and better for residential uses), galvanized steel sheet roofing panels with exposed fasteners.

Corrugated steel roofs are energy efficient, environmentally friendly, green and most importantly affordable. Made out of a relatively thin sheet metal, corrugated metal roofs costs less than metal shingles, and standing-seam metal roofs. They can be a practical alternative solution for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and sometimes residential buildings.

corrugated metal roof on a ranch house

Corrugated metal roofs are comprised out of corrugated sheet roofing panels that are 32 to 36 inches wide. The panels are connected in a side by side overlapping fashion.

To attain water-tightness, the caulk has to be used at the points of overlap in between the metal panels. Corrugated steel panels are secured in place by exposed fasteners.

The disadvantage of using exposed fasteners is that the water may leak through if the fasteners become loose.

Did you know? To keep corrugated metal roofing watertight, the exposed fasteners have to be re-tightened every 10 – 15 years. Therefore, this is not a maintenance free roof.

The main advantage of a corrugated metal roofing system is that it is relatively cheap compared to the price of metal shingles and standing-seam roofs. You can cover a large roof area with corrugated metal roofing.

As with most metal roofs, there are premium material choices available for corrugated roofs. For instance, you can get aluminum corrugated sheet roofing panels, which will last longer than steel.

There are also stainless steel corrugated panels available to you. Of course, this will cost slightly more, but the higher price may be justified by the fact that you will have a longer lasting roof.

Although, corrugated sheet roofing systems are primarily used for agricultural, industrial, and commercial uses, they can also be used for some residential homes.

If you are planning to save money on the installation of a new metal roof, then consider installing a corrugated metal roofing system made out of G-90 Galvanized Steel, Galvalume steel, or aluminum. Be sure to select a system coated with a premium cool roof rated color finish to ensure a long lasting and reliable service of your new roof.

Corrugated Steel Panels

As a last word of advice, I would like to remind you that corrugated metal roofing systems are very competitively priced, and the cost of labor to install it will be your biggest expense.

Therefore, it makes a lot of financial sense for you to pick a longer lasting corrugated metal roofing system for your home, garage, or shed. Be sure to choose Galvalume steel or aluminum in favor of a less expensive galvanized steel. Also, be sure to select a system that has a premium paint finish.

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