Upgrade Your Roof with Metal: Can You Install it Over Shingles?

Mar 1, 2024

When considering roofing options, a metal roof often stands out for its durability, longevity, and energy efficiency. However, homeowners often have concerns and queries about it, including the possibility of installing a metal roof over existing shingles. This article will delve into what metal roofs are, their benefits, and common concerns linked with them.

What is a Metal Roof?

A metal roof is a roofing system made from metal pieces or tiles characterized by its high resistance, impermeability, and longevity. It is a component of the building envelope. The most common materials used in its production include steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper.

Types of Metal Roofs

There are various types of metal roofs available in the market, each with its unique characteristics. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Standing Seam: This is the most common type of metal roof. It features large, flat panels with raised seams.
  • Metal Shingle/Slate: These are designed to mimic the look of traditional shingles or slate tiles but with the durability of metal.
  • Corrugated Metal: A cost-effective option, corrugated metal roofs are stronger and more durable than most other roofing materials.

Anatomy of a Metal Roof

Understanding the anatomy of a metal roof can help homeowners make more informed decisions. A typical metal roof consists of the following parts:

  • Metal Panels: The main roofing material.
  • Underlayment: A protective layer installed over the roof deck before the metal panels.
  • Flashing: Installed around roof penetrations or transitions to divert water away.
  • Fasteners: Used to secure the metal panels to the roof deck.
  • Trim: Used to finish the edges of the roof and give it a polished look.
  • Ridge Cap: Covers the ridge of the roof where two panels meet, preventing water intrusion.

In conclusion, metal roofs are a popular choice among homeowners due to their durability, resistance, and longevity. However, it’s crucial to understand them comprehensively before making a decision. In the next sections of this guide, we will discuss the possibility of installing a metal roof over shingles, its benefits, installation process, and key considerations.

What is a Metal Roof?

A metal roof is a roofing system made from metal pieces or tiles. It is a popular choice in the building industry due to its high resistance, impermeability, and longevity. They’re also known for their ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them an excellent option for different climates.


In its simplest form, a metal roof is a type of roofing material that’s made out of large metal panels. These panels are typically made from a variety of different metals, such as steel, aluminum, zinc, or copper. The metal is often coated with a protective layer to prevent corrosion and increase its durability.

Types of Metal Roofs

There are numerous types of metal roofs available, each with its own unique advantages. Standing seam roofs, for instance, consist of large panels that run from the ridge of the roof to the eaves. This type of roof is known for its durability and weather-resistance.

Metal tile roofs, on the other hand, are made up of small tiles that are often shaped to resemble more traditional roofing materials like wood shakes or slate. These metal tiles provide a more decorative option, allowing homeowners to maintain a traditional aesthetic while reaping the benefits of metal roofing materials.

Corrugated metal roofs are yet another type. They’re characterized by their classic wavy pattern and are typically less expensive than other types of metal roofs. They are, however, slightly less durable than standing seam or metal tile roofs.

Anatomy of a Metal Roof

The anatomy of a metal roof is fairly straightforward. It starts with the metal panels, which are the primary component. These panels are secured with fasteners, which are either hidden or exposed depending on the style of the roof.

Underneath the metal panels is an underlayment, which serves as a secondary barrier against water and wind. This underlayment can be made from a variety of materials, including felt or a synthetic fabric. In some cases, a water-resistant membrane may also be included to provide additional protection.

Finally, trim and flashing are installed to seal off the edges of the roof and around any roof penetrations like vents or chimneys. This ensures a tight seal and helps prevent water from getting underneath the metal panels.

Is it Possible to Put a Metal Roof over Shingles?

Yes, it is possible to install a metal roof over existing shingles. However, several factors need to be taken into account before deciding on this approach.

Factors to Consider

Before installing a metal roof over shingles, it’s essential to evaluate the condition of the existing roof. If the shingle roof has multiple layers or shows signs of rot or damage, it may not be suitable for a metal overlay. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to remove the old roof and start fresh.

Consider the weight of the new roof as well. Metal roofs are relatively lightweight compared to other roofing materials, but adding them on top of multiple layers of shingles may stress the structural integrity of the building.

State and Building Codes

Building codes vary by location, and some may not permit installing a new roof over an old one. Before proceeding with this project, homeowners should check with local building authorities or hire professional roofing contractors to ensure they are in compliance with local codes and regulations.

Impact on Home Insurance

Some insurance companies may have specific requirements or restrictions regarding roofing. Therefore, homeowners should consult with their insurance provider before installing a new metal roof over existing shingles. This step will ensure they will still be covered after the installation and that the new roof won’t negatively impact their policy.

While it may seem daunting, installing a metal roof over shingles can be a practical solution for homeowners seeking a home renovation that offers durability, longevity, and energy efficiency. However, it’s important to consider all factors and consult with professionals to ensure a successful installation.

Benefits of Installing a Metal Roof over Shingles

Replacing a shingle roof with a metal one brings several benefits, from cost savings to improved aesthetics. Here are the main advantages of choosing a metal roof:

Cost Savings

Installing a metal roof over shingles eliminates the need for shingle removal and disposal, which can significantly reduce installation costs. Furthermore, metal roofs tend to last longer than shingle roofs, providing long-term savings.

Extended Lifespan

Metal roofs are known for their durability and long lifespan. Unlike shingles, which may need to be replaced every 20 years or so, a metal roof can last 40 to 70 years, depending on the material used.

Energy Efficiency

Metal roofs can reflect solar heat, reducing cooling costs by 10-25%. This makes them an excellent choice for homeowners looking to enhance their home’s energy efficiency.

Durability and Low Maintenance

Another advantage of metal roofs is their resistance to damage from extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, hail, and fire. They also require minimal maintenance, making them an ideal choice for homeowners who prefer a low-maintenance roofing solution.

Enhanced Aesthetics

Finally, metal roofs offer a modern and sleek look that can significantly improve your home’s curb appeal. They come in a variety of styles and colors, allowing homeowners to customize their roof to match their aesthetic preferences.

In conclusion, installing a metal roof over shingles can provide numerous benefits, including cost savings, extended lifespan, improved energy efficiency, durability, low maintenance, and enhanced aesthetics. However, it’s essential to consult with a professional roofing contractor to ensure a proper installation.

Preparation before Installing a Metal Roof over Shingles

Before installing a metal roof over shingles, careful preparation is essential to ensure a successful project. This process includes conducting an inspection of the existing shingle roof, repairing any damages, removing obstacles and debris, and careful measuring and planning.

Inspection of Existing Shingles

The first step is to inspect the existing shingle roof. Any signs of rot, mold, or extensive wear and tear must be addressed. The shingle roof must be in a relatively good condition to support the new metal roof. Also, look out for loose or missing shingles that might cause problems during the installation process.

Repairing Damaged Shingles

If any damage is found during the inspection, it should be repaired before proceeding with the installation. Damaged shingles can affect the stability and efficiency of the metal roof. If the damage is extensive, it might be a better idea to completely replace the shingle roof before installing the metal roof.

Removing Obstacles and Debris

Before the installation begins, all debris, including leaves, branches, and dust, should be removed from the roof. Any obstacles such as antennas, satellite dishes, or old roofing materials should also be removed. This ensures a clean and clear workspace, which is essential for a smooth installation process.

Measuring and Planning

The last step in the preparation process is to measure the roof accurately. This includes measuring the length, width, and slope of the roof. These measurements will determine the number of metal panels needed for the project. Planning also involves deciding on the type of metal roof, the color, and the installation method. This step is critical as it can greatly affect the cost, appearance, and durability of the new metal roof.

Undoubtedly, proper preparation is crucial for a successful metal roof installation over shingles. It ensures that the new roof is stable, efficient, and long-lasting. For homeowners who are not comfortable doing these tasks, it’s recommended to hire a professional roofing contractor who has experience with metal roofs. In the end, the goal is to have a sturdy, durable metal roof that enhances the home’s aesthetic and lasts for many years.

Steps to Installing a Metal Roof over Shingles

Installing a metal roof over existing shingles can be a cost-effective and efficient way to upgrade your home. Follow these steps to ensure a successful installation.

Roof Preparation

Before installing a metal roof, it’s essential to prepare your existing roof. Ensure all loose or damaged shingles are repaired or replaced. Also, clean your roof of any debris such as leaves, twigs, and dirt. This step is crucial to ensure the metal roof panels can be installed smoothly and securely.

Installing Underlayment

Underlayment serves as a barrier between the metal roof and shingles. It prevents condensation, enhances the roof’s overall performance and lifespan, and provides a smooth surface for the metal roof installation. Synthetic or felt underlayment is commonly used. Roll out the underlayment across the entire roof surface, using roofing nails to secure it in place.

Attaching Metal Panels

Metal roof installation begins at the edge of the roof. Line up the first metal panel so it overhangs the edge slightly. Secure this panel in place with roofing screws. Each subsequent panel should overlap the previous one by about an inch. Continue this process until the entire roof is covered with metal panels.

Flashing and Trim Installation

Flashing and trim create a finished look and help prevent water infiltration. Install flashing in areas where the metal roof intersects with walls or chimneys. Trim should be installed along the edges and corners of the roof. Both flashing and trim should be secured using matching metal screws.

Ridge Cap Installation

The final step in metal roof installation is attaching the ridge cap. This component is placed along the peak of the roof, where the two slopes meet. The ridge cap prevents water and debris from entering the joint and adds a polished look to the roof.

Installing a metal roof over shingles requires careful planning and execution. However, the benefits of durability, energy efficiency and longevity make it a worthwhile investment. Always refer to local building codes and consider consulting with roofing professionals to ensure a successful installation.

Important Considerations and Tips

Hiring a Professional vs. DIY

While some homeowners may consider installing a metal roof over shingles as a DIY project, it is often a task best left to professional roofing contractors. They have the experience and skills to ensure a proper and safe installation. However, if you have the necessary knowledge and are confident in your abilities, you can attempt to do it yourself. Just remember to follow all safety precautions.

Calculating the Right Amount of Metal Panels

To avoid running out of materials or buying too much, you need to accurately calculate the number of metal panels needed. This is usually based on the size of your roof and the specific type of metal roof installation you choose. Consulting with a professional can help ensure you get the right amount.

Choosing the Right Type of Metal Roof

Not all roofing materials are created equal. Different types of metal roofs offer varying levels of durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetics. For instance, copper roofs are highly durable but costly, while steel roofs are more affordable but may require more maintenance. Research and consider your options carefully.

Pros and Cons of Installing a Metal Roof over Shingles

While installing a metal roof over shingles can save on costs and time, it may not be suitable for all homes. It can add weight to the structure, which may not be ideal for older homes. Additionally, any existing damage on the shingles might not be addressed, leading to potential issues in the future. It’s important to fully understand the pros and cons before making a decision.

Maintenance Tips for Metal Roofs

Even though metal roofs are known for their durability and low maintenance, they still require some care. Regular inspections can help spot any potential issues early on. Removing debris, checking for rust, and re-sealing seams and fasteners are all part of home renovation and maintenance.

In conclusion, while it is possible to install a metal roof over shingles, it requires careful consideration and planning. Whether you decide to hire a professional or do it yourself, understanding the process and being prepared can help ensure a smooth and successful installation.


In this detailed guide, we have explored the possibility and benefits of installing a metal roof over shingles. We have also walked through the process from the initial inspection to final installation, and outlined important considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Recap of Key Points

We have established that it is indeed possible to install a metal roof over shingles, considering factors like the condition of the existing roof, local building codes, and the potential impact on insurance. The benefits of doing so include cost savings, extended lifespan of the roof, improved energy efficiency, durability, and enhanced aesthetics.

Final Thoughts

While this can be a DIY project for the handy homeowner, it is advisable to hire a professional roofing contractor to ensure a proper installation. Choosing the right type of metal roof, calculating the right amount of metal panels, and knowing the pros and cons of the process are all factors that should be taken into account.

Resources for Further Information

There are plenty of online resources and forums where you can learn more about metal roofs and get any additional questions answered. Professional roofing contractors can also provide a wealth of information and guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Encouragement to Make the Switch to a Metal Roof

Finally, if you’re considering upgrading to a metal roof, know that it can be a sound investment offering both practical and aesthetic advantages. With careful planning and the right approach, you can ensure a successful installation and enjoy the multitude of benefits that a metal roof offers.

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