How to Install 3 Foot Wide Metal Roofing

Metal roofing panels are a clean-looking, long-lasting product to install on your home.
Metal roofing panels are a clean-looking, long-lasting product to install on your home. (Image: roof image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from

Strong, durable, fire-resistant and lightweight are all terms that describe metal roofing. The words tin roof come to mind, and while aluminum is one product metal roofing is made from, steel, copper and zinc are also common. The typical 3-foot metal panels are easily installed if you have a basic understanding of roofing in general, and take the time to learn how the metal roofing system works. Metal roofing is not your average roof but it gives an interesting look and a long-lasting result for your effort.

Things You'll Need

  • Roofing water barrier
  • Heavy duty leather work gloves
  • Metal roofing panels
  • Metal roofing flashing
  • Jig saw
  • Roofing screws or nails recommended for your brand of panels
  • Screw gun or nail gun

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Prep the surface of the roof by removing the older roofing materials if necessary. In some applications the new metal roofing can be installed over an existing asphalt shingle roof, but for a clean install it is recommended to remove old materials, inspect the roof for any leaks or problems with wood, and add a new water barrier. Since the metal roofing system will last for a number of years, you want the sub-roof sound to add your new roof on top.

Trim to length and install the starter or eave trim. This is a drip edge that wraps and overhangs the edge of the roof to keep water and ice from penetrating the edges. The starter trim is installed with fasteners that are recommended for the type of panel you have purchased. Remember, when purchasing your materials purchase everything together according to the manufacturer's recommendations for your product.

Add manufacturer recommended foam closure strips to the inside edge of the starter trim that will be beneath the metal panels, or a strip of the water barrier that overlaps the top edge, if this is recommended. This keeps ice and water from pushing back beneath the ends of the metal panels and then penetrating down beneath the drip edge.

Install the first metal panel with the manufacturer recommended fasteners. Attach the second panel so that the seams overlap. There are different types of metal roofing systems but standing seam is the most common. These have a standing edge on the side of every panel, a fastener is connected along the edge and concealed beneath the seam where the next panel overlaps it and joins together.

Continue installing panels until the roof area is covered. Trim panels that are too wide or long with the jig saw, taking care to wear heavy duty gloves; the cut metal edges of the panels are extremely sharp. Install the peak flashing as the last step.

Tips & Warnings

  • Measure carefully before installing. Metal roofing and its accessories are far less forgiving than other roofing materials.


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