9 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Metal Roof Installation

Avoid These 9 Blunders in Metal Roofing Installation

When it comes to roofing, metal stands out for its durability, efficiency, and longevity. However, even the best materials can fail if not installed correctly. As a seasoned roofing expert with over 20 years of experience in the industry and having led numerous successful roofing projects, from residential homes to large commercial buildings, my journey has equipped me with in-depth knowledge and hands-on skills in metal roofing. As a certified, fully licensed & insured roofing contractor, I’ve dedicated my career to mastering the intricacies of roofing materials, installation techniques, and maintenance practices. In this article, we’ll explore the 9 common mistakes to avoid in metal roof installation, ensuring your roof stands the test of time.

Mistake 1: Not Preparing the Roof Deck Properly

The Foundation of Your Roof

  • Mistake: Many installers rush through or completely overlook the preparation of the roof deck, which is the foundation upon which the metal roof is installed.
  • Impact: An improperly prepared deck can lead to uneven surfaces. This, in turn, causes poor alignment of metal panels, creating gaps where water and debris can accumulate, leading to potential leaks and damage.
  • Solution: Before installation, the deck must be meticulously inspected. It should be clean, dry, and smooth. Any protruding nails or debris should be removed. If there are any signs of rot or damage, these areas must be repaired or replaced to ensure a solid foundation for the metal roof.

For instance, a project in Oregon faced delays and increased costs due to mismeasurement, leading to the need for custom-cut panels.
Tip: Use laser measuring tools for accuracy and always cross-verify measurements.

Mistake 2: Incorrect Fastener Placement

Securing Your Roof’s Integrity

  • Mistake: Incorrect placement or overdriving of fasteners is a common error. Fasteners are critical in securing the metal panels to the roof deck.
  • Impact: Misplaced fasteners can lead to panel distortion, creating stress points where cracks might develop. Overdriven fasteners can tear the metal or compromise the seal, leading to leaks. Underdriven fasteners can leave panels inadequately secured, vulnerable to wind uplift.
  • Solution: Use a calibrated torque-controlled screw gun for installation. Fasteners should be placed at the prescribed intervals as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. They should be driven straight and flush with the metal surface – not too tight, but secure enough to hold the panel firmly.

A coastal property example showed rapid deterioration with non-suitable fasteners.

Practical Tip: Select fasteners based on environmental exposure and material compatibility

Mistake 3: Overlooking the Importance of Sealant

The Shield Against Elements

  • Mistake: Failing to use sealant or opting for a low-quality product is a critical oversight.
  • Impact: Without proper sealant, roofs are susceptible to water penetration and corrosion, especially in seams and joints where panels meet.
  • Solution: Select a high-quality sealant recommended for metal roofing. Apply it carefully along seams, joints, and around any roof penetrations. It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application to ensure a watertight seal.

A high-rainfall area case study revealed leaks from improper underlayment installation. Tip: Follow manufacturer’s overlap guidelines and use quality sealants for weather-prone areas.

Mistake 4: Ignoring Thermal Movement

Allowing for Expansion and Contraction

  • Mistake: Not accommodating for the natural expansion and contraction of metal due to temperature changes is a common oversight.
  • Impact: If the roof is not designed to handle thermal movement, it can lead to buckling of panels, increased noise, and loosening of fasteners, compromising the roof’s integrity.
  • Solution: Installers should allow for expansion and contraction in their design. This includes using clips that allow lateral movement and ensuring there is enough space at the eaves and ridges for the metal to expand. The choice of materials should also consider the local climate and temperature variations.

A residential project experienced panel distortion due to restricted movement.
Tip: Employ floating systems that accommodate expansion and contraction.

Mistake 5: Improper Flashing Installation

The Critical Barrier

  • Mistake: Flashing, which is used to seal and protect the joints in a roof, is often improperly installed or even omitted.
  • Impact: Poorly installed flashing is a leading cause of leaks, especially around roof penetrations, valleys, and edges. Water can seep through these vulnerable areas, causing significant damage over time.
  • Solution: Proper flashing installation is crucial. This includes using the right type of flashing for each part of the roof and ensuring it is securely fastened and sealed. Pay special attention to areas around chimneys, vents, and where the roof meets walls.

In a commercial building, improper flashing led to edge leaks.
Tip: Ensure precise alignment and sealing of trim and flashing, especially in valleys and joints.

Mistake 6: Choosing the Wrong Metal

Material Matters

  • Mistake: Opting for a cheaper or unsuitable type of metal can be tempting but is often a false economy.
  • Impact: The wrong metal can corrode quickly, be less durable, and may not perform well under local environmental conditions. This affects not only the roof’s longevity but also its appearance and efficiency.
  • Solution: Research and choose the right type of metal for your specific needs. Consider factors like local climate, environmental conditions, and building requirements. Materials like galvanized steel, aluminum, and copper have different properties and suit different applications.

A case of rapid deterioration due to low-grade materials underscores this point.
Tip: Opt for high-grade metals and coatings, balancing cost with long-term durability.

Mistake 7: Inadequate Overhangs and Edge Details

Protecting the Perimeters

  • Mistake: Neglecting the importance of overhangs and edge details is a common error in metal roof installation.
  • Impact: Inadequate overhangs can lead to water infiltration into the fascia, soffit, or building interior. Poorly finished edges can compromise the roof’s aesthetic and functional integrity.
  • Solution: Ensure that overhangs are of adequate length to direct water away from the building. Edge details should be finished properly, using appropriate trim and flashing to provide a clean, professional look and ensure weather-tightness.

Improper gutter installation in a suburban home led to basement flooding.
Tip: Size gutters appropriately and ensure correct placement for effective water management.

Mistake 8: Neglecting Local Building Codes and Standards

Compliance is Key

  • Mistake: Ignoring or being unaware of local building codes and standards is a risky oversight.
  • Impact: Non-compliance can lead to safety issues, legal problems, and may require costly modifications to meet code requirements.
  • Solution: Always research and adhere to local building codes and standards. These regulations are in place to ensure safety and quality in construction. If in doubt, consult with local authorities or a professional to ensure compliance.

A farmhouse renovation faced leakage issues due to incorrect lapping.

Tip: Adhere to specific lapping instructions considering roof slope and prevailing winds.

Mistake 9: Hiring Inexperienced Contractors

The Value of Expertise

  • Mistake: Choosing a contractor based solely on cost, without considering experience and expertise in metal roofing, is a mistake.
  • Impact: Inexperienced contractors may make errors in installation, leading to a compromised roof that may require costly repairs or even replacement sooner than expected.
  • Solution: Select a contractor with a proven track record in metal roof installation. Look for certifications, reviews, and portfolios of previous work. An experienced contractor will not only provide quality workmanship but can also offer valuable advice on materials and design.

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Avoiding these common mistakes in metal roof installation can significantly extend the life and performance of your roof. Remember, a well-installed metal roof is an investment in your property’s future.

Seeking expert roofing services, Del Sol Roofing is your go-to choice. With our extensive experience and commitment to quality, Del Sol Roofing ensures your metal roof is installed flawlessly, providing peace of mind and long-term value. Contact us today for all your Roofing needs.