If you own a metal roof, chances are at some point you’ll wonder if you can walk on it. What if you have to go up there to do roofing repairs?
While you might think that a metal roof is more fragile than other types of roofing materials, the truth is that it’s quite strong and durable – in fact, metal roofs have the longest lifespan of all roofing materials.
How long does a metal roof last?
Metal roofs can last for between 40 and 70 years, depending on the type of metal that’s used.
Now that you know a metal roof is strong and will last for a long time, let’s explore what you need to know about walking on it. How should you do it? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
How To Walk On A Metal Roof Safely
Whenever you walk on a roof, you have to be careful to keep yourself safe and you have to ensure you don’t cause damage to the roof. Metal roofs are usually safe to walk across without you having to worry that you’ll dent or damage them.
However, there is the possibility that you’ll scuff or scratch them. If you’re ready to climb onto your metal roof, you should first read these tips to do so safely.
Take The Type Of Metal Roof Into Account
Before walking on your metal roof, you need to consider the type of roof that you have. But, even before that, you should consult the manufacturer for advice on how to walk on the roof they’ve supplied you. They might have important tips for homeowners to follow.
If you have a standing seam roof, you can walk anywhere on the roof without worrying about damaging it. But, you have to take some extra precautions with other types of metal roofs.
Metal tile roof
This type of metal roof has ribbed panels, and it looks a bit like a ceramic tile roof. You should try to walk along the lower spots of it, in close proximity to the roof decking in order to avoid putting too much pressure on it.
Corrugated panel roof
If your metal roof is made out of corrugated panels, you can safely walk on them because these panels get screwed into the roof decking. But, again, walk on the lower parts of the panels where they will be stronger and more capable to handle your weight.
Metal shingle roof
For metal shingles, you should do the opposite and walk on the upper half of the shingle panel. This is because there’s not a lot of space between the metal, therefore increasing your stability and safety.
Wear Rubber-Soled Shoes
Not only should you wear rubber-soled shoes because these will give you better grip when walking on a metal roof, but it will also protect the metal. You don’t want to scuff your beautiful metal roof, after all, so wearing rubber-soled shoes will help you to tread gently.
Avoid wearing rigid, heavy work boots as these could scratch or otherwise damage the metal.
Make Sure The Roof Is Dry And Clean
You should never climb a roof when it’s wet and slippery, and this is especially the case with metal roofs which can become more dangerous during wet weather. Stick to climbing your metal roof when it’s dry outside.
You should also check that the roof is clean of debris. If you step on twigs and other debris, this could scratch the metal finish of the roof. Use a rake to clean away leaves, twigs, and other debris before you climb onto the roof.
Don’t forget to make sure your shoes are clean. Don’t bring debris that’s caught on your shoes up onto the roof as this could easily scratch the metal when you step on it. Check your shoes before climbing up your ladder or change them if they’re dirty.
Avoid Using Heavy Tools
If you’re doing repairs on your roof, try to carry lightweight tools with you. This is because you don’t want to drop heavy tools on the roof, which could damage or dent it.
Wear a tool belt so that you can conveniently carry your tools – this also frees up your hands.
Use Walk Boards
If you have a lot of work to do on a metal roof which will cause you to stay on it for hours, you should consider using a walk board.
Placing this directly on the roof will prevent you from walking on the metal roof a lot. Your weight will be better distributed across the roof so that vulnerable areas of it won’t be exposed to foot traffic.
If you have to move around on your metal roof instead of being limited to working in one area of it, you should walk carefully and take your time. Rushing can damage your roof or make you lose your footing.
It helps to lean your body over the roof so that you can better maintain your balance. If your roof has a steep incline, this posture will further help you. It can also help you to crouch down a bit so that you improve your balance.
Things To Avoid When Walking On A Metal Roof
Crossing seams of panels
This is never advisable, as the panels can be weak and your roof might not be able to support the extra weight that you’re putting on it.
Standing on the edges
You should never stand on the edges of your roof because these can be sharp and dangerous.
Walking close to sharp objects
Edges aside, you should avoid walking close to sharp objects such as broken shingles, rake nails, or other debris – that’s why you should always ensure you clean the roof before you climb on it.
Walking on a damaged roof
If your metal roof has sustained some damage, you shouldn’t walk on it because this can be dangerous and it could cause you to worsen the damage.
What’s The Best Type Of Metal Roof?
There are many different types of metal that can be used to make a roof. Which one is best for you? Which one is the strongest? Let’s explore them.
A steel roof is the strongest yet least expensive type of metal roof. It sometimes gets coated in molten zinc so that it doesn’t become rusty. It can also be painted so that it will have an even longer lifespan. A steel roof can last for between 30 and 50 years.
This is softer and lighter than steel, but it’s still durable and rust-resistant. Just like steel, aluminum roofs can last for between 30 and 50 years. It does cost a bit more than steel, though. Aluminum is usually painted to further strengthen it. However, since it’s a bit lighter and softer, it is more likely to dent.
A copper roof is expensive but has been around the longest out of all metal roofs. When free of coatings, it’s bright and beautiful, while gaining a patina that changes over time.
Copper is durable, as it can last for up to 200 years. Just like aluminum, copper is softer than steel, which does make it a bit more likely to become dented.
Zinc is strong because it’s naturally resistant to weather conditions. It is sometimes alloyed with titanium to bolster its corrosion resistance and strength. Zinc can last for between 60 and 100 years.
Can metal roofs tolerate high winds?
Metal roofs can tolerate wind with speeds of up to 140mph. When they have interlocking panels, these roofs resist being lifted up by strong winds, which reduces the risk of water penetrating the roof.
Do metal roofs fare better in the snow?
Since they have a smooth surface, metal roofs deal with snow well because they shed it at a faster rate than other roofing materials.
Can you walk on a metal roof? If you’ve ever wondered about this or you need to do some work on your roof, you should ensure you follow the tips in this article.
While it’s generally safe to walk on a metal roof, you should always follow important safety tips.
We’ve outlined some of the important information you should bear in mind before you grab your ladder and get ready to climb onto your roof, so you stay safe and prevent causing your roof damage.
James Weldon is a professional roofing contractor with many years of experience on the job. He does not only handle large projects and provide excellent services for his company’s many clients; James Weldon also dedicates his spare time to teaching others useful tricks of the trade. Using BuildCampus as an avenue to reach many roofers and aspiring roofing contractors, James Weldon continues to provide high-quality educational posts and buying recommendations for anyone who visits the website.