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Metal roofing installations can vary greatly depending on the type of existing roof, whether you’re working with exposed or hidden fasteners and the desired style of the new roof. These tips should ring true no matter the type of metal roof installation you’re up against.

Always start square.

When installing a metal roofing panel, it is important to start square, meaning your vertical lines are all squarely aligned with the eave. This is a crucial step, because if the first panel is even slightly tilted, the subsequent panels will all be tilted too. This procedure can look different for each roof. For example, the existing roof may not be perfectly aligned. In this case, you should tilt the panel slightly, so that it still runs square to the existing roof. Each panel from then on will need to be tilted at the same angle.

Predrill the panel.

Although you don’t need to predrill holes for screws on exposed fastener panels, predrilling the panels themselves makes it easier to achieve straight screw lines. Luckily, you can predrill a stack of about 10 panels at a time. It’s important to measure at this step to ensure you’re drilling accurately.

Bend panels to cut them.

Here’s a handy trick for times when you need to cut a panel lengthwise: score the panel with a box cutter several times, then bend it back and forth until it breaks off. This will produce a clean edge. You can also use tin snips or a drill attachment for cutting.


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Screw fasteners in with precision.

Always screw fasteners straight in, paying careful attention to not overtighten them. Test your drill tension on a piece of scrap metal or an area that can be easily covered by a ridge cap or other flashing.

Protect yourself.

Wear protective rubber-coated gloves when installing metal roofs. They will not only protect you from sharp edges, but they will also give you a good grip on the materials.

Clean up the scraps.

Brushing off any metal shavings or filings that may have been left on the roof is an important but often overlooked step in metal roofing installations. It may seem trivial, but these tiny pieces of metal can result in unsightly rust spots where they rest on the roof.