Metal roofs have become quite popular over the past few years. From standing seam metal roofs to metal shakes, these roofing systems are known for their durability and longevity. If your home needs a new roof, you might be considering metal as an option. Here are three of the most common questions you may have as you learn about metal and ponder whether it’s a good roof choice for your home.
Can you skip the tear-off when installing a metal roof?
If you are asking this question, you are definitely not alone. Many homeowners ask about this for a variety of reasons, from cost savings to just keeping the job a little simpler and more, but can you actually put a metal roof on top of your existing shingles?
Building code requirements play a significant role here. If you have more than one layer of shingles on your roof, then most likely code will require you to remove the shingles. If you only have one shingle layer, then technically, you can install metal over those shingles. This approach can save time and money in the short term, but like most things in life, there are pros and cons that you should weigh out to see if it is the best choice for you.
If your roofer does not strip the shingles before installing metal, they will not get a good look at your roof deck. Getting eyes on the roof deck is the surest way to spot any potentially rotted or damaged decking and get it replaced. If that roof deck is rotted or damaged in any area and it is still covered by the shingles, there is a higher chance of that area being missed when it should be getting replaced.
You may already know about the incredible energy efficiency benefits of a metal roof, but installing metal roofing over existing shingles leaves a layer of thermal mass on your roof. That thermal mass (the shingles) will diminish the energy efficiency benefits that come with a metal roof. In a hot climate like that of Arizona, most homeowners want all the energy savings they can get.
If you’re looking to save time and money on your metal roof installation, have a conversation with your roofer. Roofing directly over the shingles may be an option, but it may not be the best option for you.
Can you put metal roofing directly over shingles?
This may seem like the same question posed above, but there’s a subtle difference. We’ve established that metal roofs can sometimes be installed without first removing the existing roof. But when this is done, can your roofer put the metal directly on top of the shingles? The short answer here is “no.”
Just like everything else in your house, metal expands and contracts as the ambient temperature changes. When it gets warmer outside, the metal roof expands. When it gets colder outside, the metal contracts a bit. If your metal roof is installed directly in contact with your shingles, there will be unwanted friction and abrasion between those two materials. The shingles will act almost like sandpaper, and over time, they’ll wear down the alloy coating on the metal. This alloy layer is vital for protecting your metal roof. If it is abraded away by friction from shingles, your roof will be vulnerable to rust.
To prevent this issue, knowledgeable metal roofers will install an underlayment between the shingles and your new metal roof. This underlayment should have a smooth surface to act as a slip sheet so it can reduce friction and protect the metal as it expands and contracts. There are additional applications that involve batten strips being installed over the shingles as well so the metal can be installed on the battens. These applications can have added energy efficiency benefits as well. Your metal roofer can assess your roof and your needs to discuss which applications make the most sense for you and your home.
Can you install solar panels on a metal roof?
Yes, you can install solar panels on a metal roof. However, some types of metal roofs are more compatible with solar panels than others. Your very best option, by far, is a standing seam metal roof. There are two key reasons why standing seam metal roofing and solar panels pair together so well.
First, your solar roofing installer won’t have to punch holes in your roof to mount the solar panels. They can instead use S-5 clamps to attach the solar panels to the roof seams. This eliminates dozens of penetrations on your roof literally and keeps your roof stronger and watertight.
The second reason standing seam is so ideal when paired with solar has to do with the longevity of standing seam metal roofs. When you get a properly installed standing seam roof system, it is likely the last time you will ever need a roof for your home. Removing solar panels to repair or replace a roof can be a costly job. Obviously, you want to avoid this, if at all possible. The long lifespan of standing seam metal roofs means you won’t have to incur the cost of removing your solar panels in the future in order to replace your roof. This is a common issue people with shingle roofs have to face.
Hopefully, this article has answered some of the key questions you’ve had about metal roofing. If you are considering a metal roof for your home, contact Vertex Metal Roofing for a quote. Our experienced, knowledgeable roofers install roofs throughout Northern Minnesota, Phoenix, and the Tucson metropolitan area. We’ll assess your roof condition and preferences and develop an approach that fits your needs.