Can You Put A Metal Roof Over Wood Shingles?

Over the last few years, metal roofs have gained in popularity, and why wouldn't they? They are durable and long-lasting, and they are available in a multitude of colors. So if you've decided to jump on board with the metal roof trend, you might be wondering if you can put a metal roof over wood shingles. Well, we've researched the topic in-depth and have the answer for you.

Metal roofs can be installed over wood shingles, but you should consider the following things before deciding if it's a good option for you. You need to consider:

  • The style of metal roof you want
  • The condition of the existing roof
  • Whether the look of the metal roof will be compromised
  • Whether it can be attached securely
  • If there are already too many layers of roof

So, yes, put simply, metal roofs can be put over wood shingles, but there are some things to consider before you decide to do that. Keep reading as we elaborate on this further. We'll also go over some other questions you might have about metal roofs and their installation.

Wood beams structure house with old traditional cedar wood planks tiles roof, Can You Put A Metal Roof Over Wood Shingles?

Installing A Metal Roof Over Wood Shingles

There are many benefits to installing a metal roof over existing wood shingles. It saves time, money, and effort and is helpful to the environment by reducing the impact on landfills. However, before you decide to install a metal roof over your existing roof, there are some things you need to check first. 

Style of Metal Roof

Different types of roof coating isolated on white background

You probably have a good idea of the type of metal roof you want and the look you want to achieve. You probably also know that metal roofing comes in both shingles and panels, but the style you choose does affect whether you can install it over wood shingles.  Metal shingles are excellent at imitating the look of other materials, but if you choose to use metal shingles, you will need to remove your existing shingles. Only metal panels can be installed over an existing roof. 

Condition Of The Existing Roof

Two dormers on wood shaker roof

The first thing you need to check is the condition of your existing roof. If there are any leaks, dips, bumps, rot, or structural damage, your wood shingles will need to be removed. If your roof is solid and leakproof, you're one step closer to being able to install the metal roof over the top.

Look Of The Metal Roof

New gray roof with skylights

Even if your existing roof has no damage, if the existing roof is uneven, it could mess up the metal roof's appearance. The metal roof needs to lie flat, so if your roof is uneven, it is best to remove it before installing a metal roof. 

Secure Attachment

Roof with metal tile, screwdriver and roofing iron

Maybe the most important thing you need to check is whether it would even be possible to install the metal roof over the existing wood shingles. The metal roof needs to be secured to a structural component, and if the wood shingles are too thick, or there are too many layers of roof underneath, you will not be able to attach a metal roof securely enough. The nails might not be able to penetrate deep enough to reach the structure. 

Too Many Layers

Different types of roof coating

Installing a metal roof over your existing roof might not be possible if your current roof was also installed over an existing roof. This could cause problems not only for the reason above but also because it might be against building code to have that many layers on your roof. It is imperative to check with any local and national building codes before completing any home project. You should also keep in mind that adding another layer will increase your roof's depth, which might affect any built-in features, like skylights, that you might have. 

Do You Need An Underlayment For A Metal Roof Over Shingles?

You might think you can install a metal roof right on top of an old roof without any underlayment, but you shouldn't. You need to install underlayment for your metal roof over your existing shingles. Some building codes require it, and it adds a layer of protection for your new roof. Underlayments are also back up protection if a hefty storm comes through and your metal roof leaks. 

Is A Metal Roof Or Wood Shingle Roof Cheaper To Install?

Replacing or installing a new roof is not cheap regardless of the material you use, so it is understandable you want to choose the most affordable option. When it comes to shingles, wood shingles are typically the more expensive type for a roof and will cost you on average $7500 to $11500 for an 1800 sq. ft home, but this is less than the cost of a metal roof. Metal roofs will cost you from $9000 to $40,000, depending on the type of metal you use.

However, a metal roof can last up to four times as long as a wood shingle roof, so you should definitely consider this. If you're unsure how long a wood roof will last, check out our other blog post, How Long Does A Wood Roof Last?

What Is The Best Type Of Metal Roof For A House?

There are many options for metal roofs, and they come in a variety of materials and price points. The most common, economical, and readily available types of metal roofs are aluminum and steel. Copper is a more luxurious option. Aluminum, copper, and steel all have environments they are more suited for, so where you live could play a part in the type of material that's best for your roof. 

Aluminum & Steel

While both steel and aluminum are durable, sturdy, and long-lasting, steel is more susceptible to rust. If you live in a coastal area, an aluminum roof would be a better choice because aluminum cannot rust and resist salt corrosion. If you don't live in a coastal area, then steel will probably be a fine choice for you, and it is also the cheaper of the two.


If the price isn't a concern for you, then a copper roof might also be considered. Though extremely expensive, Copper will likely outlive the house it is on and is also very aesthetically pleasing. However, as with steel and aluminum, there are environments where copper might not be a good choice. Copper is a soft metal, so if you live in an area with frequent hail storms, you should choose a different metal. Large hailstones would likely dent the copper roof. 

Does A Metal Roof Increase Home Value?

A metal roof will increase your home value, but as the 2019 remodeling impact report showed, so will a new roof of any material, so the other pros of a metal roof should weigh more heavily in your decision making. If increasing your home value is the only reason you considered a metal roof, then you may be disappointed. It will likely cost you much more to add a metal roof than you will see in a profit return from an increase in home value. 

Final Thoughts

We've given you lots of information about metal roofs to think about, but it should be comforting to know that you can install a metal roof over existing wood shingles in most cases. Just make sure to thoroughly check your wood shingles for damage and make sure installing it over them won't cause you any problems. If in doubt, don't be afraid to contact a professional! Good Luck!

As we mentioned early on in the article, metal roofs come in various colors, so if you need help deciding which color will look best with your red brick home, check out: What Color Roof Goes With A Red Brick House?

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