Publications by New England Metal Roof

Metal Roof Installation – part 2: Tools and materials

This is second part of a series of metal roof installation articles that we will post here in the near future. In part 1 of our guide, I discussed the essentials of metal roofing installation process including old roof Tear-off, preparing the roof deck for the installation, and important safety precautions.

In this part we will take a deeper dive into the actual installation, but before we continue, I will “briefly” talk about things I forgot to mention in the first part of this article series – tools and materials required to install a metal roof.

1) Metal roofing Hand Tools you will need:

A roofing hatchet or a carpenter’s hammer. I prefer a hatchet, but in some cases you do need a claw-hammer of some type to pull out nails. You can also use a flat bar, but it’s not always convenient to have too many bulky things on the roof.


Utility knife. After trying out more than 50 different utility knifes, I came to a conclusion to use the single-use knifes with blades that are long and you just brake off a dull piece of the blade and the next on is sharp. You can buy them at a Dollar Tree – 3 knifes for $1. They are light and I don’t care if I drop or loose one.


Carpenter’s pencil and/or Sharpie permanent marker. You can buy these at Home Depot or Lowe’s

Sheet Metal Snips – I prefer the the 3″ snips (with yellow handles) from Sears – they last the longest, cut easily while staying sharp, cost only $16.99 and and (very important for me) have sharp, pointy tips that make the cut very clean, without ripping the metal.


Tape measure. There are many and many people have their own preference. For me, I find the best tape measure is the one from Lowe’s, that costs $6.99. It’s green and has a black release button. I like it so much because when you pull out the tape, does not retract back, but stays until you press the release button. All other tape measures work in the opposite manner, which I find VERY annoying.

A tool belt. Again, just as with tape measures and many other tools, there are so many choices, but a good belt can make your roof installation as pleasureful as one can be, while a crappy tool belt will make your life hell, and you will hate any king of construction work for the rest of your life :). My personal preference is the $30 from home depot. It is made of blue heavy duty synthetic cloth. It has a metal ring (hammer / snips holder) on each side, large pockets, a special place to put a bulky tape measure, and is otherwise rate small, compared to other full size tool belts. It is also light and somewhat comfortable to wear on the roof. You can also take it apart – i.e. remove one of the pockets which will make the tool belt only “half the size”. The Velcro belt also makes it easy to put on.


Sheet metal hand seamer / folder. This tool is invaluable for any metal roofing work. In fact, when I just started installing metal roofs, hand seamer, along with the above tools where the only tools I had and needed to install a metal roof. Everything else is just for convenience / speed. With the hand seamer / folder, You can make such complex flashing pieces as chimney collar, side-wall, etc. You will find it very useful and essential to the installation of the metal roof.


Above tools are the bare essentials which will allow you to install any metal roof, without much hassle.

1.1) Power tools:

Drill/Driver: Aside from these, you will need a cordless drill. I recommend an impact driver with Lithium Ion batteries, and all my power tools are made by Hitachi. I used to work with Craftsman and still own them, but they are heavy, loose power fast, and break, while Hitachi ones are light, strong, have log battery life and do NOT break!

Wood cutting: For minor wood repairs, a cordless sawzall by Hitachi will be more than adequate. Actually, I rarely bring my corded tools to job site any more

2) Material other than metal roofing.

To properly install a metal roof you will need a properly attached underlayment and properly sealed roof penetrations. After trying out many products, I have my favorites, which I exclusively use now on all our jobs:

Underlayment: We use GAF DeckArmor breathable underlayment on every one of our roofs. Why? Because it is the best we found at reasonable price (there is a similar product, but it costs 4 times more and is not any better in actual performance). DeckArmor is durable, slip resistant, water tight, light-weight and comes in 4’6″ wide rolls which makes installation much faster, compared to 3″ rolls.

DeckArmor prevents most moisture problems associated with the synthetic underlayments, where the moisture is trapped between underlayment and roof deck, and makes the wood rot, causes mold, mildew and problems for roofing contractors using them.

Deck Armor works like human skin, by letting vapor molecules pass through, while keeps water out. This way any moisture from the inside escapes and runs down, between the underlayment and the roofing material, instead of being trapped inside.

You can easily walk on it after securely attaching it to the roof deck, and you can leave it exposed up-to 6 months and not worry about leaks.

Nails: We use 1 1/2″ plastic cap nails to attach the underlayment to the roof deck. They are rust-proof, light and do not damage the underlayment, unlike regular roofing nails. You can buy a large bucket of these nails at Home Depot or Lowe’s, but I recommend not to get 1 inch nails which above stores usually stock. Get longer ones, and it will be much easier to work with them.

Sealant / Caulking: Each roofer has his/her own preference when it comes to sealants, and my love goes to Solar Seal 900. I found it to be the best caulking the is water tight, cures fast, has very strong adhesion, is rather inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors.

4 thoughts on “Metal Roof Installation – part 2: Tools and materials

  1. Joseph

    I like how you have provided the actual pictures of metal roofing tools required to get the job done!

  2. Pingback: How to install metal roof | Roofing Blog

  3. Tami

    I have spoken with several contractors about 2×4 or 1×4 lads under a galvalume roof. Which do you recommend? No one down here seems to agree as to which is the better way of doing it. I have had several tell me that using 2×4’s could cause me to lose the entire roof if a hurricane were to come thru. Others say that the screws tend to come loose if using 1×4’s. I don’t want to go back with shingles but I am at a complete loss as to which way to go with this.
    Thanks for any help you can give.

  4. Bruce Hayes

    I have a metal foof on a summer home. It was installed about 6 years ago directly over an asphalt shingle roof. No strapping was used. We now have a serious mould problem in a small attic area. Most of the roof is a sandwich type construction. Styrofoam insulation with venting design was used in the ceiling.
    There is no heat in the house during the winter.
    Can you suggest why this has occured and what is the best action to take at this time.
    The house is located on an Island in the 1000 Islands between Brockville and Gananoque.
    Thanks for any help you can give me.
    ….Bruce Hayes.

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