Metal Roof Installation Done The Right Way

wooden building with modern architectural metal roof

With every year that passes, a growing number of homeowners choose metal for their roofing. Thanks to average durability of 40-50 years, energy savings, and minimal maintenance cost, there is no other roofing material that measures up against a metal roof structure for your commercial or residential building.

Similar to any construction project, you may have some questions and concerns regarding the roof application procedure. Don’t worry, we’ll cover the most common ones in this report.

A key factor to consider when you get a new standing seam metal roof is to hire an established expert with skills and experience in applying metal roofs. Similar to typical shingle roofs, improper installations and lower quality work can result in functional and aesthetic problems.

A roofing expert with proven qualifications and skills in metal roofing installation will be able to help you pick the right roofing structure for your home and pocket.

Finding a skilled and reputable roofing expert is equally important to select the most suitable material for your new metal roof.

After speaking with and hiring your roofing expert, they will be able to address any questions you may have in regards to the roofing procedure. Meanwhile, here are some basic considerations to note during the application of a new metal roof.

Metal Roof Set-Up Ways

Installations of metal roofs are split into two categories: new constructions and retrofit. In the first case, the application of metal roof layers takes place when the building skeleton is finished. Very often, the general contractor expects the roof application because the shell should be waterproof and the internal polishing phase can start.


In the case of retrofit work, your roofing expert has 2 main choices: to recover or overlay the roof or detach and replace it completely. The first option keeps the current roof untouched and prevents the need and expense of detaching and removing the previous roof and its secondary parts.

Keep in mind that in some cases, the recovery/overlay method is not a suitable choice and your roofing expert may suggest the method of full replacement. There are several factors involved in making this decision but there are a couple of common reasons why this option is preferred.

Local construction standards often determine if a removal/replacement job is necessary. Most local authorities will let you recover installations for one or two current shingle layers. If the number of shingle layers is more than that, the current roof will have to be detached completely.

Also, if there is widespread leakage occurring in the current roof which results in impaired wood decking, the entire roof will have to be detached and replaced. You may ask your metal roofing expert to perform a thorough check and look for signs of water leakage.

In most cases, the less damage your existing roof shows, the quicker your roofing project will finish and the lower the cost will be.

Metal Roof Installation Units

The following are the main units used in the application of a new roof.


This refers to the element that is used to shield the joists and rafters such as planks, plywood, or OSB boards. This is attached over the roof structuring compartments to generate a roof layer for underlayment and metal layer application.


The majority of contractors use artificial underlayments which provide several perms compared to felt papering ( an older version of underlayment). Synthetic underlayments are also quicker to set up, provide better durability, and can be exposed to climate settings for longer.

Metal Roof Panels

Metal roof panels come in several sizes and shade options to choose from and for every home style and pocket. Your metal roofing provider or expert can help you decide which is the best choice for your needs.

Closures & Clips

Based on the kind of metal panel you choose, your roofing expert will utilize closures and clips to apple the roof panels to the decking layer.

Flashing & Trim

Flashing & trim is about the compartments that are applied at the areas and edges of the metal roofing structure to shield the roof and stop water from getting into the roofing structure and building lines.

Adhesives & Caulking

Butyl tapes and sealing agents are applied to metal intersections e.g. laps or junctions that link to panels.
The adhesive must stick to the painted metal layers and offer some elasticity for motion as the metal stretches and/or shrinks with the shifting climate conditions.


Copper Roofing: Pros & Cons

front view of home with a copper metal roof

Copper is one of the most historic materials used to this day for roofing. Besides offering a more sustainable roofing structure, it also makes your building look more appealing. Copper roofing comes with many advantages, however, it has a few drawbacks too. Thus, building owners should contact expert roofers to gauge if copper is the right material for your home property.

Copper roofs typically need minimal maintenance compared to asphalt shingles or other metal roof options. Here we will compare both the pros and cons of copper roofs:

Copper Roof Pros

Integrity & Durability

As a roofing material, copper is highly durable and considered one of the most suitable roofing choices. Contrary to steel and aluminum roofing copper does not rust or corrode. Plus, there is no need to coat or add an extra layer of paint. It will stay the same for hundreds of years.

Corrosion protection

Several roofing materials tend to corrode with time, but copper is greatly resistant to corrosion. As time goes by, copper undergoes patination, which is an organic chemical reaction that forms a copper oxide layer on the roof and changes the original warm brown shade of the roof to pale green. This makes copper roofing tolerate corrosion in any climate, increasing its durability.

Safer compared to other roofing metals

Copper, as a roofing material, is less prone to damage as a result of snowfall, heavy thunderstorms, or extra sun exposure. Since it is more lightweight, it is less probable to loosen or get impaired because of snow built-up. Plus, it is fireproof.

Energy Efficiency

Copper roofs tend to withhold and emit lower amounts of heat. The mirroring property of the metal deflects sun rays. This means that your house will be cooler during summer and warmer in the winter, saving you energy and money in the long run.


Unlike other roofing materials, copper emits lower levels of carbon dioxide, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.

Copper Roof Cons

High Cost

Copper is one of the most costly roofing materials and hence, this is why finding a home covered by a copper roof completely is a scarcity. Many owners only use copper roofing at their bay windows, towers, or lower slope parts. It is also used often in flashings and roof corridors.

It’s noisy

Unlike other materials, copper does not control noise. This happens because it is a softer metal compared to others. The noise issue, however, can be controlled with the addition of supporting layers beneath it.

Contraction & Stretch

Copper tends to contract and stretch at certain temperatures, leading to the weakening of fasteners and requiring immediate fixing work. This can be handled during the planning and installation phase, however, it is important to work with an established installation expert.

Can You Apply Metal Over A Shingle Roofing? 

In nearly all cases, YES, it is possible to install a new metal roof layer over a current shingle roof. That is a valid reason why it is increasing in popularity. Its application doesn’t require the entire detachment of your current roof, which is often costly and time-consuming.

Metal, although pretty robust and solid is quite lightweight, weighing less than 1 pound/sq.ft. It’s almost 4X less heavy compared to asphalt shingles which weigh 4 pounds/sq.ft. Plus, adding a metal roof over current shingles doesn’t remarkably raise the total burden that the home’s structure needs to hold.

Besides leading to cost savings (as it doesn’t need the entire detachment of the current roof), the installation of a new metal roof on top of an existing one also provides extra insulation over your house to stop the escape of heat and humidity.

When it comes to insulation, it’s noteworthy to mention that metal roofs are blockers of heat. They block and repel heat away from their exterior instead of absorbing it. That means the additional insulation layer will not serve as a heat blocker for heat emittance through your metal roofing.

Important Considerations When Applying A Metal Roof Above Shingles

close up of metal roof shingleWhat we have previously mentioned about the application of metal above shingles applies to most roofing procedures. However, if you are unsure, it’s best to consult your local construction and zoning authorities to ensure that metal-over-shingle applications are acceptable.

In case your shingle roof shows leakage, you’ll have to check it for decayed rafters or sheets. These issues should be resolved immediately before the application of the new roofing.

In case the existing roof’s burden has led to structural issues e.g. decking, these problems have to be tackled before the beginning of the new roof application.

It’s also typically a great idea to add some kind of underlayer over the shingles to prevent their granules from touching the metal and result in damage. You may ask your roofing expert for more info on suitable options for your case.

Advantages of solid metal roofs

Once you set up your new metal roof over a current shingle one, you will instantly save some cash that would otherwise be spared to detach an existing roof entirely. But, this isn’t the only benefit of a metal roof. Here are 4 other benefits:

  1. Longevity. A rightly applied metal roof can last up to 50 years before it needs replacement.
  2. High resistance to damage. Metal roofs can tolerate most extreme weather conditions such as heavy winds, rainfall, or ice and hail storms.
  3. Minimal maintenance. Due to their strength, metal roofs won’t need frequent and often costly fixing work. They can keep their strength through several years.
  4. Lower utility charges. As mentioned previously, special layerings on metal roofs enable to repel heat instead of absorbing it. This leads to less reliance on AC units to cool down interior temperatures during the hot summer season.

Metal Roof Ventilation Choices

commercial metal roof with roof ventilation system

The right ventilation method is an essential consideration to have for any new home roofing work. Ventilation boosts the home’s functionality in terms of energy expenditure, durability, and general efficiency.

Metal Roof Ventilation Aspects

Once hot and moist air touches the colder roofing layer, condensation may happen. It’s exactly like placing a chilled drink in a can getting all wet with condensation during hot weather. The same thing applies to your home’s exterior. If you have an exposed area to air e.g. your loft or a big solace between the roofing layers and the deck below it, there is a high risk of condensation.

You can treat condensation in two ways: ventilation or added insulation. In a few words, think about your cold drink in a foam cup for a few seconds–it rarely if ever condensates because of extra insulation.

Ventilation’s role is to allow the heated and humid air to escape before it leads to condensation. It’s necessary to allow any trapped warm and humid air that passes through your attic area to escape before it reaches the underskirt of the roof’s structure. Humidity in a roofing space often leads to an array of undesired issues such as mildew, mold, and condensation which can dampen and weaken insulation lines and walls.

Proper metal roof ventilation also yields other benefits–an additional benefit is the adjustment of extreme temperatures from outside to inside the home and the enhancement of air clarity and health for the residents. Another benefit of ventilation is that it gives your home’s energy efficiency a boost.

How Does Ventilation Operate?

As they taught us at school, heat goes up. In buildings, warm air accumulated in the interior of open space will try to go up to the highest level of the building, which is often the ridge. This is the reason why air fans are used near the upper level of the roof to enable the trapped warm air to escape as it goes up by default. Once the warm air escapes through the fans at the upper layer of the building, the cooler air is drawn in from vents placed in lower levels of the structure e.g. at the eave or near the soffit.

In the following video, you can see the motion of cool air derived from the lower levels and warm air escaping from the top levels.

Due to the fact, the air escaping the ridge must be continuously sourced from the lower eave or soffit levels, an essential factor for any proper metal roofing work is ensuring that the amount of air that comes in and the amount of air that comes out are equal. Venting elements are typically determined in regards to net free airing area which is typically indicated as a total square”.

The necessary amount of ventilation for your house or roofing work varies based on the size of the building. We, therefore, suggest speaking to an HVAC expert for your next roofing project.

There are two primary types of venting for metal roofs: gable vents and ridge vents.

Ridge Vents

Low-level ridge fans are almost undetectable from non-vented units and often match the architectural design of the roofs, blending seamlessly with the total development shade, form, and exterior.

Venting units are installed on the metal roofing layers and shielded with a ridge cap layer. Typical ridge vents stretch usually 10-ft lengthwise and are mainly applied to industrial and rural buildings.

These units belong to the total building ventilation system and are used in tandem with fans and other construction units such as adjustable dampers, allowing high amounts of warm air to get out.

Gable Vents

Gable vents are considered to be a top gable class and work as a receiver or exhaust unit (based on the total venting structure). Gable vents apply typically to residential buildings, along with low-level ridge venting systems.

Inflow venting

Besides gable vents, soffit, and drip edge vents, vents can also work as inflow vents for both gable and ridge venting structures aimed at cooling down the hot air that escapes the construction through the top vents.

Make sure that you consult your contractor and ask more about the procedure to ventilate your roof. A tightly fitted and aired metal roof will last for a few decades and will offer you a solid, secure, and effective roofing solution.