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The Home Depot

Metal Roof Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Roofing > Metal Roof Installation Guide
Metal Roof Installation Guide

The metal roof is not only one of the oldest roofing options still used in modern construction, it is also one of the most practical. Cheaper than slate and tile but far more durable than asphalt shingles, this roofing material has many perks and very few drawbacks. Unlike metal roofs installed centuries ago, today's installations are quiet when it rains and far less prone to rust (though, for those who like the look of rusty metal roofs, the aesthetic can still be achieved without sacrificing durability). Much of a metal roof's effectiveness, however, hinges on how well it is installed in the first place.


According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the average lifespan of a metal roof is between 40 and 80 years. Though opting for metal may increase the initial cost of a roofing installation or replacement significantly, less-expensive asphalt shingles have a life expectancy of only 20 or 30 years. This, of course, means that asphalt will have to be replaced much earlier than a properly installed metal roof and that homeowners who choose the latter will likely wind up saving money in the long run.

  1. 1.Installing a Metal Roof

    ...metal can often be installed over existing roofing materials without the need for the old to be removed...

    Since one of the key ingredients in a metal roof's longevity is proper installation, few homeowners will opt to perform this job themselves. While there are certainly classic metal roofing materials that are somewhat DIY-friendly, such materials will have many of the same issues found in those produced decades (even centuries) ago. Additionally, since even a small leak in a roof can result in much larger problems for whatever lies underneath it--basically everything in the house--the skillful hand of a trained professional is typically well worth the investment.


    How the roof is installed will depend greatly on whether or not there is an existing roof in place. Unlike some other materials, metal can often be installed over existing roofing materials without the need for the old to be removed. If the existing insulation and decking are sufficient and uncompromised, the metal roof may be installed much like another protective layer on the top of your home with very little need for additional modifications; which can speed up the process and lower the overall cost of the project. If metal will be your home's very first roofing material, the installation will be lengthier and more expensive because of the additional tasks and materials involved; the resulting roof should perform very similarly, however, in both situations.

  3. 2.Drawbacks of Metal Roofing

    Claims that metal roofs attract lightning are completely false. In fact, if a metal roof does happen to be struck by lightning, it is less likely to result in serious damage, primarily because it is non-flammable. There are a few real-life drawbacks to metal roofing, though, that should be considered before you go this route.


    First, large hailstones can damage this material, leaving dents and depressions. Though hail will not pierce the material all the way through, a dent from a very large hailstone that occurs in just the right spot could conceivably lead to a small leak. Next, metal roofs are not as easy to repair as asphalt roofs. Though shingle-style metal roofs are out there, they are less common than those constructed of long metal sheets; this, of course, means that damaged metal roofing components typically require the replacement of a moderate-size area rather than the replacement of just a few shingles.


    The final and most common reason why metal roofing is less popular than asphalt shingles has got to be the higher cost for installation. As more and more homeowners are finding out the benefits of this material, the number of contractors with the expertise to install it properly increases; this competition brings the price down a bit, but the bottom-line installation will likely always be more than asphalt. Fortunately, the additional investment up-front is a sound one that pays off in excellent performance, less-frequent replacements, and in many cases, fewer repairs over the roof's lifetime.

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