Can you put metal roofing directly on the rafters? A Comprehensive Guide

The short answer is Yes! Before diving into the installation process, it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of the steps involved. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about installing metal roofing on rafters

From choosing the right materials to ensuring proper ventilation and insulation, we’ve got you covered. So if you’re ready to take on this DIY project or just want to learn more about metal roofing installation, keep reading!

What is Metal Roofing?

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If you’re looking to install a metal roof on your home, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about installing metal roofing on rafters.

Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to their many benefits, including durability, energy efficiency, and fire resistance. But before you decide to install a metal roof on your home, it’s important to be aware of the potential downsides, such as noise and cost.

Benefits of Installing Metal Roofing on Rafters

There are many benefits of installing metal roofing on rafters: 

  • Metal roofing is durable and can last for decades with proper maintenance. 
  • Metal roofing is fire resistant and can help protect your home in the event of a wildfire. 
  • Metal roofing is energy efficient and can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. 
  • Metal roofing is environmentally friendly and can be recycled at the end of its lifespan. 
  • Metal roofing is low maintenance and does not require as much upkeep as other types of roofs. 
  • Metal roofing comes in a variety of colors and styles to match any home exterior. 
  • Metal roofing is a wise investment and can increase the value of your home.

Types of Metal Roofing and Their Advantages

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When it comes to choosing a metal roof for your home, there are several factors to consider. The most important factor is the type of metal roofing you select. 

There are three main types of metal roofing: corrugated, standing seam, and flat seam. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Corrugated Metal Roofing: Corrugated metal roofing is the most popular type of metal roofing. It is made from sheets of metal that are bent into a wavy pattern. The waves give the sheet strength and rigidity. 

Corrugated metal roofing is lightweight, durable, and easy to install. It is also one of the most economical types of metal roofing.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing: Standing seam metal roofing is made from long, interlocking panels of metal. The panels are attached to the rafters with special clips or screws. 

Standing seam roofs are more expensive than corrugated roofs, but they are also more durable and have a longer lifespan. They are also better at resisting wind and snow damage.

Flat Seam Metal Roofing: Flat seam metal roofing consists of large panels that are joined together with narrow strips of material called seams. The seams allow the panels to expand and contract as temperature changes without breaking or cracking. 

Flat seam roofs are more expensive than corrugated roofs, but they offer the sleek, modern look that many homeowners prefer.

Preparing the Rafters for the Installation

The first step in preparing the rafters for the installation of a metal roof is to determine the correct placement of the rafters. This can be done by measuring the width of the building and dividing it into equal thirds. 

The center third will be where the ridge beam is placed, and the outer third will be where the rafters are placed. Once the placement of the rafters is determined, they should be cut to length. 

The next step is to notch the rafters so that they fit snugly around the ridge beam. These notches should be cut at a depth of 1/3 the width of the rafter.

After the notches have been cut, it’s time to install metal hangers on the rafters. These hangers will support the weight of the metal roofing and should be spaced evenly along the length of each rafter. 

Once all of the hangers are in place, you’re ready to start installing your metal roof!

Tools and Materials Needed for Installation

To install a metal roof on rafters, you will need the following tools and materials: 

  • A ladder 
  • A measuring tape 
  • A chalk line 
  • Roofing screws 
  • Metal roofing panels 
  • Caulking gun and sealant 
  • Hammer 
  • Pry bar 
  • Circular saw with a metal cutting blade

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Metal Roofing on Rafters

There are a few things to keep in mind when installing metal roofing on rafters. First, make sure the rafters are level and even. If they’re not, the roofing will not lay evenly and could cause problems down the road. 

Second, use a good-quality roofing nail to avoid any leaks. Third, make sure to seal all the seams with a waterproof sealant.

Follow these steps to install metal roofing on rafters:

  • Measure the length and width of the area you’ll be working on. This will determine how much metal roofing you’ll need to purchase.
  • Cut the metal roofing panels to size using a power saw or tin snips. Make sure the cuts are straight so the panels will fit together snugly.
  • Lay the first panel down on the rafters, starting at one end of the area and working your way across. Nail it into place using Roofing nails placed about every 6 inches along the edge of the panel.
  • Continue installing panels until the entire area is covered. Make sure to overlap each panel by about 2 inches so there are no gaps between them.
  • Once all the panels are in place, go back and check all of the seams to make sure they’re properly sealed with waterproof sealant or caulk.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Metal Roofing

One of the most common mistakes when installing metal roofing is not properly preparing the surface of the rafters. The surface should be clean, level, and free of any debris or nails. Failing to do this can result in leaks and other problems down the road.

Another mistake is not using enough fasteners. Metal roofing should be secured with screws or nails every 8-12 inches along the edges and at least every 24 inches in the field. This will ensure that your roof can withstand high winds and other weather conditions.

Installing metal roofing over shingles is also a mistake. The weight of the metal can cause the shingles to buckle and break, leading to leaks. It’s best to remove the old shingles before installing a metal roof.

Finally, make sure you seal all seams, joints, and flashings with a high-quality sealant designed for use with metal roofs. This will prevent water from getting into your home and causing damage.


Does a metal roof cost more than a typical roof?

You should anticipate your new roof to cost about two to three times as much as an asphalt shingle roof because metal roofing is a high-end house product. A metal roof, however, costs about the same as a tile or cedar shake roofing. You might anticipate paying less for a metal roof if your current roof is slate.

Whatever form of metal roofing you select, you won’t ever have to be concerned about your roof again. Most have a genuine 30–50 year warranty. 

Additionally, a new metal roof will increase the resale value of your house, save your energy costs, and give you peace of mind because you probably won’t need to replace it again.

Is metal roofing noisier in bad weather than asphalt, cedar shake, tile, or slate roofing?

When it comes to noise from rain or hail, metal, and other materials don’t differ all that much. Most of the sound is also absorbed by typical attic insulation.

Would a metal roof be too heavy for certain types of homes, or for smaller structures like a detached garage or porch?

You might be shocked to find that a metal roof weighs on average 50% less than an asphalt shingle roof and 75% less than slate, concrete tile, and shakes made of fiber cement. Weight on a structure is never an issue with metal roofing.


Installing metal roofing on rafters is a relatively simple process, as long as you have the right tools and know-how. The most important thing to remember when installing metal roofing on rafters is that safety is paramount. 

Be sure to wear protective clothing and take other necessary precautions before beginning your project. With some patience and attention to detail, you should be able to install your new metal roof without issue. Good luck!

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