While the frugal thinking that informs these efforts is admirable, there are a lot of good reasons you should find some other way to diminish your metal roofing costs. While there are a few companies out there that make metal roofing shingles specifically designed for the amateur to install (from panels that pretty much clip together by hand to those requiring little more than the standard tool arsenal of screw gun, hammer, metal snips, caulk gun, and tape measure) these uniformly shaped shingles will only work on homes with a very regular roofing structure.
But your typical home doesn’t have that. Odds are your home has a sidewall, a chimney, a dormer or a skylight somewhere up there, and the average homeowner trying to work around such structural irregularities without any panel-reshaping is almost bound to leave weak spots that make the internal structure of the roof vulnerable to water damage, possibly decreasing the lifespan of a roof which, properly installed, could last half a century without maintenance. The cost of installing a metal roof on your own could, in reality, be that you’ll need to get the entire job redone by a professional. When even a simple mistake like leaving a mark on one of your metal panels with a lead pencil instead of duct tape can lead to massive corrosion and compromise the integrity of the roof, is it really a risk you want to take?
This is the reason that, unless your house is featureless and box-shaped, calling on the services of a metal roofing contractor is often the most sensible way to go. Odds are, a skilled contractor is probably not going to charge you nearly as much as he would to install clay, fiber glass or asphalt shingles, as the lightweight and easy, clip-on installation of metal shingles makes their assembly a far less labor-intensive job.
You should ensure that your contractor intends to use a brake, the name for the portable hydraulic cutting tool employed by roofers to shape irregular roof panels on site. If he doesn’t, odds are the job will stretch out far longer than necessary, costing you more and leaving parts of your roof open to the elements. In the long term, hand cut panels are also likely to be poorly shaped, reducing the visual effect of your roof.
If your contractor does try to charge you the same rate, you should probably seek quotes from numerous metal roofing contractors, or better yet, ask around amongst your friends and family for referrals. This is how most contractors get business, and knowing that you’re tied to a network of past and potentially future clients will make that contractor much more eager to please with quick service delivery.