Metal is a popular roofing material choice, and for good reason. It’s durable, resistant to the elements, and relatively straightforward to install. Plus, there’s little ongoing maintenance. If you’re looking to complete the new roof process yourself, you’ll need to learn how to install metal roofing.

In this article, we’ll share your choices of material before sharing the step-by-step installation process. Follow the steps, and you’ll have a stunning new roof for your property in no time.

Your Choice Of Materials

Metal roofing comes with a wide range of options for materials. Each metal comes with its own set of features. Some are more durable than others. Some have a particular aesthetic quality. Others are more affordable. The choice really depends on your own personal circumstances. If you have the budget, then your options will be wider. Those limited by budget may find themselves with less choice.

Steel: One of the most durable choices is steel. It’s also one of the most affordable options and is used widely across the world. When treated and painted, it can be resistant to rust, as well as having a nicer appearance.

Aluminum: Aluminum is a more expensive material than steel. You won’t have to worry about rust. There’s still corrosion but at a far slower rate than steel. Thanks to this slower rate, many coastal properties opt for aluminum roofing.

Cooper: Copper is a metal toward the other end of the scale. One of the more expensive options but definitely one of the best aesthetics. Copper changes color based on weathering. It starts with the traditional copper color before evolving into a beautiful green.

How To Install Metal Roofing Step-by-step

This guide is designed to give you an outline of the steps required to complete a metal roof installation. Remember that each roof is unique, and you may need to slightly alter the guide accordingly.

See If You Need A Permit

Depending on where you’re completing the work, you might find that you need to get a permit before any construction starts. Especially if it’s high-value work. Make sure that these are in place before any work starts; otherwise, you may face fines and other punishments.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

It’s an old adage, but you really do need to be accurate with your measurements. First of all, you’ll need to know roughly how many materials there are to buy. Make sure you purchase around 10% more than you’d expect to require. This allows for any waste during the installation and if you make any mistakes.

If you’re working with a fairly typical gable roof, you can calculate the area using a simple formula. Start by multiplying the length of the rake (the rake is the line from the eaves to the top ridge) with the distance between the eaves. Take the figure and multiply it to get the total square footage of the roof. Don’t forget to include features such as dormers, balconettes, and skylights.

Clean Your Roof Space

You need to start with a clean slate. That means completely removing all debris and any existing materials. Take it right back to the deck by removing any shingles, nails, underlay, and other roofing material.

Spend some time inspecting the foundation structure of your roof. This is a good opportunity to conduct any roof repairs that might be required. It might be a long time before you see this material again.


Now that you have a clear deck, you can begin to install the underlayment. This is one of the lines of defense against the elements. Should any water get through the outer layers, the underlayment offers some protection.

Make sure everything is clear, and then begin your installation. The actual installation process will depend on the type of underlayment that you’ve picked. One constant is that each piece should overlap with an adjacent piece. This stops any gaps appearing during the normal expansion and contraction of the roof during different seasons.

Installing Drip Edges and Flashing

Drip edges should be installed so that water is guided away from eave edges. You’ll need some specialized tools such as a hand seamer. These will allow you to bend each piece around any roof corners. Secure the sections to the roof structure using roofing nails.

As each piece is installed, ensure there’s an overlap of around 3 inches. Where seams are created, they should be taped or caulked.

Mount Corrugated Panels

Now you have the base in place, and it’s time to install the actual panels that are the main body of your roof. You’ll have some instructions from the individual manufacturer. This will cover elements such as screw placement to secure the panels best.

You should start next to an eave and work across to the next. Every type of panel will be designed to overlap the previously secured panel. As you create seams, use caulk or tape to create seals.

Applying The Finishing Touches

At the top of your roof, and potentially other areas, if you have a more complex roof, you’ll see gaps where slopes meet. Here, you’ll need to place closure strips. You have a choice of vented or solid closure strips. That choice will be influenced by the design of the roof.

Start at the bottom of the ridge and work your way up. First, apply the sealant, then the strips and the seal seams with tape. The final task is to install the ridge cap. Once that’s in place, you can congratulate yourself for a job well done.

Best Practices for Installing a Metal Roof

Metal roof installation isn’t a DIY task for beginners. It’s certainly one that more confident DIY enthusiasts might feel confident undertaking. It will take a fair amount of time and a great deal of effort. You will, however, have a durable, low-maintenance roof to enjoy by the time the job is complete.

  • Consider your budget, and then explore the different metals you could use.
  • Always start with a clean and clear deck.
  • Remember that your roof is unique and may have nuances that you’ll need to bear in mind.

If the task feels too large to contend with, you should speak with a professional roofing contractor. Here at Trenton Roofing, roof installation is our specialty. Give us a call. We’d welcome a conversation about your project.

Alex Valentino

Alex Valentino – Vice President

Leading the way for the company’s second generation of family and employee ownership, Alex’s mission is to create lasting relationships built on trust and respect by providing uncompromising workmanship and unparalleled customer service. With a focus on safety and consumer education, Trenton Roofing strives to set the bar for the advancement of the roofing industry and the betterment of our local communities. When he is not working, Alex can be found traveling with his fiancée, watching football or playing a relaxing round of golf with his friends.