Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Remembering the Metal Roof Project

The 21-year-old old asphalt roof was
literally blowing away.
Since this blog is basically my online diary, I want to make sure to track notable events in our lives that will have an impact on our homestead life in the years to come.
One such MAJOR event was installing our new metal roof.
Our old roof needed to be replaced when we moved in two years ago - that was no secret.
But, thinking ahead for the life cycle of roofing, we did NOT want to spend $4,000 on a new asphalt installation, only to deal with contaminated runoff to the garden area, and then have to deal with replacing it in another 20 years.
We wanted to be one-and-done.
Invest in higher quality now, and reap the rewards later on.
Our nearly-complete DIY metal roof installation.
So we planned and saved, and through a local retailer, order the metal roofing panels, flashings, screws, tools, and sealant ourselves.
And then we DIY'ed the whole dang thing.

The main driver behind the DIY effort was cost savings. I had time (some), but I didn't have a spare $3.5k to hire roofers. We had enough saved to either pay for a full asphalt install, or to buy the metal and install it on our own.
We chose the metal for many reasons (and there are tons of pros vs. cons if you do a quick search), but the main reasons for us were:

  • Longevity. It never needs to be replaced. We'll repaint every 30-35 years. But no metal sheets need to get pulled up, ever. Unless a tree falls on them or something like that.
  • Cleanliness. The metal roof provides a clean water-collection surface. No little asphalt speckes or petroleum runoff.
  • Quality. The metal we decided upon was standing-seam, 26-gauge. It is thick, quality, completely interlocked, leak-proof sheeting. I never want any roof issues. Period.

The panels, stacked and ready to go up.
So with that in mind, we measured it out, did the calculations, and planned. It took maybe 4 or 5 months of planning, sourcing different manufacturers, measuring, price shopping, color matching, re-measuring, re-planning, cross-checking, and so on before we finally decided on a source, a color, and a panel type.
We choose Metal Max in middle TN for the panels, and went with their standing seam option.
The metal was delivered this winter, and we spent most of February with roofing on the brain.
We started off by taking a weekend and doing one room - the side room, or "den." It was the only part of the roof that didn't attach to another part, so it seemed the obvious choice for diving in and getting my feet wet on the install. I started off having to scrape off the existing shingles.
Scraping the original shingles off the den.
Next, I rolled out some waterproof plasticky/papery underlayment between the wood and the metal. It mostly to protect the wood portion of the roof, so that if there is any condensation through or around the metal, it stays on top of the underlayment and does not affect the wood. So the wood stays perfectly dry 100% of the time.
View of the den's underlayment from the upper section of the roof.
Once the underlayment was on, it was time for the underside flashings, then the panels, then the over-panel flashings. After two days of work, the den was done:
DIY Metal Roof Install: Part 1, the Den, complete.
The following week, I took a few days off of work to try to get the rest of the roof done. I was sorely mistaken in my time preparation, since I needed SO much more time. I believe I got the roof scraped on day 1, underlaid on day 2, then the gutters and valleys flashed with the back room (mostly) paneled on days 3 and 4. I was not able to get the peak or side wall flashings.
The roof, wrapped in underlayment, after Day 2 of the four-day blitz.
The back room after a weekend's work.
Reassessing my time estimates after that (while nursing my many cuts, scrapes, and sore hands), Wife and I decided that help was in order. Father-in-law and Brother-in-law #1 came down to help finish it up. I took some more time off work to finish, and between the three of us, did almost everything else.
The back half of the house, nearly paneled.
B-I-L-#2 (left) and F-I-L (right) helping on the front-side panels. They were absolutely
essential in getting this project done in a (mostly) timely manner.

The new DIY metal roof, 98% complete.
So now, the only things (still) left to do are the get some touch up paint on a few scratched areas, run some silicon sealant around some edges, and the clean out the gutters. Overall, it was a very successful, if not highly time consuming, project.
Once I get the final details ironed out, we'll look toward installing a rainwater use system. Not sure what that will be yet, but it's on the radar.


  1. Whew, that looked like a lot of work! I'm glad you were able to pull it off real nicely. Metal roofs are favored among many since they are more durable against the ever-changing weather. And the aesthetic is applicable to almost any type of houses. Just make sure to seek professional help when needed.

    Adolfo Zunino @Presto Roofs

  2. Congratulations on getting a new roof! I commend you for saving up and deciding to have a roofing material that promises many benefits. Metal roofs are, as you said, durable, requires little maintenance, and they are also energy-efficient and stylish. And though it might be a little more expensive than other roofing materials, the assurance that it's going to serve you the longest pays for it. Good job you did here!
    Samantha @ Superior Building Inc.

  3. Thanks for stopping by guys. Excellent points. I suppose one thing to add for the DIYers - calculate how much time you will think you will really, truly need. Be very honest. Factor in breaks, lunches, soreness, etc. The triple that number. :)

  4. I agree with you, Bubs! Time management is very important in any DIY jobs, especially when it's about roofing. We'll never know if there'll be a sudden change of weather, so we better finish it as soon as possible. I bet no one wants to soak their interiors while the roof was removed. Hehe! Anyway, nice looking roof! And great choice of metal ones! :)

  5. They have to come back to completely install the roof around the pipe for the woodstove which will be on the front porch and complete the installation of the roofing around the sun tunnels on the back dormer. roof contractors

  6. Interesting topic specially for those people thinking to replace there roofs.

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  7. I really appreciate the fact that you took time to share these things with us. Anyway, this surely was a lot of work, but I can also see that it was all totally worth it. The finished product looks great! The metal sheets are looks great on your house. Good job on this one, and good luck on your future plans!

    Bert Aguilar @ RainFillTanksAU

  8. After installing or whenever you want to clean the sheets, you must do so only with soapy water and a soft brush.
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