How to Prepare For A Metal Roof Installation

A metal roof is an excellent investment. Such roofs typically outlast shingle roofs by many years, are low-maintenance and usually trouble-free. When preparing to install a metal roof, the exact steps you follow will depend on your situation. There are some differences in the procedures you'll follow if you're roofing a building that has never been roofed before -- such as with a new home -- if you're going to install the metal over existing shingles, or if you must remove old roofing to install the metal panels.

Working on a steep roof can be dangerous.

Step 1

Wear the roofing harness, secured by a rope, at all times when working on the roof to avoid falls.  Use protective eyewear when working with tools to prevent eye injuries.

Step 2

Pry old shingles off of your roof by sliding a roofing spade under them and popping them up.  Start at the ridge of the house and work your way down.

Remove all shingles from one side of the roof, then repeat the process on the other side until all shingles are removed.  If there are no shingles, or if the shingles will be left in place, you can skip this step.

Step 3

Check the surface of the roof carefully for protruding nails or screws.  These will cause problems with the metal roof installation and must be removed before the insulation or any metal panels are placed on the roof.

Step 4

Sweep the roof decking carefully.  You must remove all loose debris.

If you're working with the bare rafters, you can skip this step. 

Step 5

Unroll the insulation on one section of the roof.  Be sure the vapor barrier side is down, against the roof decking.

Follow all manufacturer's instructions for the insulation you've chosen.  Nail it securely in place by using roofing nails every 4 feet.

It should lay flat and smooth on the roof. 

Step 6

Install the barrier and insulation one section at a time, until the roof is completely covered.  Roofing insulation and the vapor barrier can also be purchased as two separate items.

When installing them separately, the vapor barrier is installed first, followed by the insulation.  Both are installed in the same manner as the combined product.

The roof is now ready for the metal panels. 

Things You Will Need

  • Rope and roofing safety harness
  • Eye protection
  • Roofing spade
  • Ladder
  • Hammer
  • Broom
  • Rolled insulation with vapor barrier
  • Nails


  • Installing metal over old shingles can add insulating value to the roof as well as making the job easier. Check local codes if you plan on leaving the shingles in place, as some areas have restrictions on this procedure.


  • Working on a roof and climbing ladders is hazardous. Use safety equipment at all times.
  • Shingles contain hazardous materials and must be disposed of properly to avoid contaminating the environment.

Photo Credits

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