Installing a Standing-Seam Roof – Should You Really Do it Yourself?

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If you’re seriously considering a DIY standing-seam roof installation, you’d best bone up on your general knowledge regarding what is undoubtedly a great roofing solution. While successful amateur installations are not unheard of, your surest bet is to seek the help of a professional. Standing-seam roofs are made of numerous interlocking panels, which run vertically from the ridge, or edge, of the roof to its apex at the eave. The seam where any two panels interlock is raised just above the surface of the roof, allowing water to run off the roof without it dripping in between the panels. This simple structure belies numerous details of installation that, if not properly attended to, can lessen the efficacy and lifespan of the roof.

Also, should you choose to hire a professional accomplished in the craft of roofing, you’re probably not going to find yourself looking at roof installation costs that are anywhere near as expensive as those of ordinary clay or fiber-glass shingle installation. Metal roofs in general and standing-seam roofs in particular are lightweight (between 1 and 2 pounds apiece), making them very easy to move around. They can also be installed over the old roof, which eliminates the time and manpower it might have required to tear the whole previous layer of roof off.

Properly installed, standing seam roofs are watertight, immune to the forces of wind and hail, fire retardant and require virtually zero maintenance aside from the odd hose-down every year or so. Indeed, they so improve the safety of your home that many insurance companies are willing to cut large amounts of money off the cost of their policies for homes with metal roofs.

If you’re intent on going through with your DIY standing-seam roof installation, however, here’s a few tips. You’ll probably want to lay down some kind of waterproof plastic membrane over the existing roof structure, followed by a good layer of roofing paper which will ensure that water stands no chance of making it through and into your home. Don’t neglect to fill in the roof’s valleys (the spaces between roof surfaces). Then you’ll need to cover the roof’s peak with a preformed ridge-cap, which you’ll need to get made to order unless you really intend to go into the roofing business professionally.

When it comes to shingles, there are a few companies, such as Permanent Roofing Systems, that design shingles specifically made for DIY metal roof installation. There are four-way systems of shingles that can be made to interlock with each other by hand or with minimal use of tools. Get someone from the manufacturer, or a qualified person at your local construction outlet, to show you how to fit the pieces together, which should be in a staggered pattern for the best visual effect. It’s possible to buy their shingles pre-assembled in sheets, making for the easiest possible solution to your roofing needs.

That said, there are going to be certain circumstances under which pre-made shingles just won’t be enough, and that’s when you need to swallow your pride and call in the pros. On roofs with irregularities – things like sidewalls, chimneys, dormers and skylights – standing seam panels will need to be cut to size on-site, which requires the use of a sophisticated piece of machinery called a brake – a hydraulic shear with teeth sharp enough to cut panels to just the right length without damaging their ends. That’s one feat it’s very difficult for a human saw-wielder to replicate.

If under such circumstances you persist in your DIY efforts, the odds are that patch jobs around irregular areas are either going to look bad or result in your standing-seam roof being compromised, leading to leaking and other forms of weather damage, such as the negative effects that swelling ice can cause when caught between panels.

Properly installed standing-seam roofs are subject to warranties of up to fifty years, given the nigh-on invulnerable hardiness of the materials. So don’t skimp now – a once-off investment could leave you with a roof that lasts a lifetime.

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Source by Ryan McCall